Well, two more granddaughters entered college this week. Not just any college, but the place where four generations of both sides of their family attended. Not only did their parents meet there, but so did both sets of grandparents – an aunt and uncle on both sides of the family, and some cousins and great grandparents. In fact, they are number 28 and 29 or something (we keep losing count) of family members who have attended. If they look at the wall of alumni of the year, they can even find their great-grandfather’s name.
As one snap-chatted me, I noticed that her desk looked very similar to my desk. I’ll have to find a picture and check that out.
But I started thinking about advice I’d give new college students … some advice I knew and some I wish I had known back when I entered the same school as a bright-eyed 18-year-old.
1. Get to know as many people as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to be great friends with everyone. but be friendly and get to know them. (And the first couple days is the best time to do that because everyone is a little lost.) You never know when you will find a life-long friend or someone who can teach you something you never thought you’d learn.
2. Realize that some of your college friends will fade away after graduation. Others will stick with you (and even read your blog when you’re both grandmas.) But with social media another thing can happen – you can become friends later in life with people with whom you were mere acquaintances at school – but now are good online friends.
3. Same point (but a little different). People from college will show up in different places throughout your life – like my freshman roommate who moved to Abu Dhabi after graduation but 40 years later showed up as the nurse in my mom’s retirement village.
Or, the young married co-worker who worked across the hall from me. His wife had a baby – who 25 years later became my son-in-law. So you never know.
4. If some guy says that God told him to marry you – get out of there FAST!
5. Some teachers will be excellent. Others won’t be so excellent. I had one who announced to the class that he didn’t understand the meaning behind a book of the Bible – which was bad enough but even worse considering that was the name of his class – it was all about that very book. I wrote my best research paper ever for him, got an A, but not sure I convinced him of my interpretation. On the other hand, I would gladly go back and listen to every one of the lectures given by my apologetics professor.
6. Find a quiet place to veg – whether that’s the stacks at the library or walking down a safe and fun street. You need that alone space sometimes.
7. Keep a journal of all your exciting adventures.
8 Ask questions. Both Grandpa and I were sorry we didn’t ask more questions in class or when talking to our professors. You paid them money to learn – take advantage of it.
9. Understand that what you get most out of college is not always what you expect going in. One friend told me, “College is where I learned HOW to learn.” In my own case, I have often said I got more out of what they paid me to do than what I paid them to teach me. Writing for their radio station four hours everyday taught me writing discipline, good word choice, and gave me some excellent critique from more experienced writers.
Oh, and I also met your Grandpa – a country boy from PA and the big city girl from IL. Without college I don’t think we would’ve met.
10. College is when big decisions are made. Trust in the Lord. Don’t take someone else’s word for something – not even a professor. Study what God says. Center your choices on His Word. Don’t be in a hurry. Take time. Think everything through – those decisions will make a difference for the rest of your life.