Moms, I know it is hard to send your children off to college, especially your firstborn. This is a wonderful new season for them. It will be a new dynamic for sure but a great one. My mom and I were close when I was home but we experienced a new type of “close” when I went to college. You are still their mom even though they are leaving the house. Call and check in on them at least 3 times a week, they will love it. They will need it, especially freshman year. Be encouraging and tell them how loved they are. My parents did this to me my freshman year and it helped me so much.
Freshman year, more than the other 3 years they are trying to balance so many new things at once while also trying to adjust to a new environment both socially and academically, so it’s a lot. Make sure you take your kids to tour the colleges they are wanting to look at because seeing them in person can be very different than just looking at them online. It is hard to base what kind of college they are just on pictures from their website and articles about them.
College is unlike any other experience, the chance to go is a real blessing, and while they are there they will make so many lifetime memories! College will have its highs and its lows but at the same time, it is one of the best times in their life. I loved every minute and had a phenomenal experience all 4 years.
Now, every moment wasn’t sunshine and lollipops but college is what you make of it. At the end of the four years, you will have matured, grown, and been stretched so much but in the midst of it had so much fun. It will go by so fast so try and treasure every moment. I think there are 10 things that everyone should know going into college. So, here are 10 tips for the new kid about to start college:
The Ultimate Packing List ….some of these items are a little excessive and I didn’t bring all of this but a good portion of them are necessary to have with you. The basics are a must and each child is different so I have them pack whatever you think they’ll need the most.
1. BE YOURSELF
Oh my goodness this is such a big one! From right out of the gate, be 100% yourself. If you try to put on a facade or if you are even a little fake everyone will see right through you. Eventually, you will not find the friends that you came to find there. Be bold with making friends and don’t be afraid to be different. Having high standards is attractive. If you want to say something unpopular or different than what you know they believe, say it anyway. They might look at you differently for a second, but they will respect you so much for it.
2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT
You don’t have to have all four of your years figured out and you don’t need to know every class you will take all 8 semesters. In the end, you will graduate and everything will be okay. Take advantage of academic advisors. I definitely didn’t have it all figured out every semester but my advisor was such a vital resource. God will give you the grace to get through all of it. Even when I was close to being done I didn’t have all my classes figured out and I still graduated on time. I even changed my major halfway through my freshman year. You don’t have to come into college knowing your whole life plan.
3. GROW CLOSER TO THE LORD & FIND A LOCAL CHURCH
I tried to implement this while in college and it was the biggest blessing. If you don’t intentionally work at it then it won’t happen. You will only improve on the things that you are mindful of. Find a local church by your school and get plugged in. This will help you keep your faith strong and to keep pushing you closer to Him. Don’t follow a crowd when picking a church but instead find somewhere you love and a people group that you connect with. If you have to go alone because that’s where you feel the most comfortable, then that’s okay, you will meet friends there.
I went to a different church than a lot of my friends and I loved it. I got to see and hang with people that I didn’t see on a day-to-day basis. This pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way. If you do what I did, you might enjoy the switch up on Sundays as well. Make sure that you are spending time in His word every day and pray about everything. Make God your best friend. Tell Him all that is on your heart. If you like to journal, consider writing your prayers out. Use your Time while driving to steward a relationship with Jesus. Make God your best friend in college!
4. DON’T LET YOUR RELATIONSHIPS DEFINE YOU
Only look to Jesus for status and worth. Relationships can’t fill a God-sized hole. Stay single until you’re fulfilled in Christ. I went on dates but didn’t get into a serious relationship until after college and I am very glad I did. Don’t take singleness for granted
5. DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF YOU
If you get this in your head freshman year and carry it until senior year, you will thrive in college. You cannot let what people think of you get in the way of any decision you are making or want to make. This can be anything from what you wear, what you major in, who you hang out with, or the church you go to. The only person whose approval you need is GOD’S. If you don’t control this it can ruin your day, week, month, or year and can 100% consume you. At some point throughout my college career, I had to give up what people thought of me and be confident in who God had made me be instead.
6. CALL YOUR MOM
This one is a little cliche but it’s very true. The first month of college is crazy and so you have to stay connected to your people, especially your mom. Talk things through with your mom and tell her what’s on your mind, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after. I talked to my mom almost every day of freshman year. It genuinely helped me to process what I was going through. She gave me so much good advice and this helped me to be emotionally whole that year.
7. LOVE PEOPLE LIKE YOU WANT TO BE LOVED
My mom always told me growing up that you don’t go to be loved but to love like Christ did. In my 8th-grade year I read a book called Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst, it prepared me for college and blessed me so much. I truly believe I wouldn’t have had the eyes of Jesus in high school and college like I did. Uninvited Book link: here. This book vastly changed my perspective on how I viewed the lonely and lowly in spirit. It talks all about how to seek them out and bless them. Here’s a phenomenal quote from it: “God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live . . . loved.” Here is another one: “The more fully we invite God in, the less we will feel uninvited by others.” This is so true.
8. ESTABLISH A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PROFESSORS
This tip is very valuable because your professors are the ones that have the power to pass or to fail you. Having a good relationship with your professors is super important. If you ever need their help with a project they will be more likely to help you if they know you than if they don’t. One time in college, I had some questions about a test so I went to my professor’s office and talked to him because we were friends. He offered to give me a little study guide for the next test. If they know you, and you show effort in wanting to do well in their class they will do anything in their willpower to make sure you succeed. The inverse is also true. Be friendly to them when you see them around on campus and be excellent in your work.
9. STAY ON TOP OF YOUR HOMEWORK AND DON’T PROCRASTINATE IT
Staying on top of your homework is so important in college. You already know this from high school but the stakes are higher in college. You’re there to get an education, so take it seriously. I once had a 5-page research paper which I started a month before it was due and this allowed me to make something excellent, not just trying to get by. Have high standards for yourself academically and give yourself plenty of time on your assignments.
10. DON’T GO FAR JUST TO ESCAPE DRAMA
This can be a hard one but if you decide to go make sure it’s true because you want to go there, not trying to escape responsibility. I went to college 3 miles down the road from my parents. It was a great situation because there were times throughout my experience when I needed them and just wanted to be home. Distance rarely fixes problems.
In conclusion, overall college is an incredible experience and the fun memories you make there far outweigh the hard moments. Congratulations on graduating high school and I hope that this next phase of your life is the best yet! I hope that all of this info was helpful and may the Lord bless all that you put your hand to.