How to Thrive in College this Semester, Part 1

This post is the first in the three-part Thriving at College series. I hope you enjoy it and are encouraged by it!

One of hardest days of college is drop-off day. It is a day of anxiety, dread, and fear.

At least it was for me.

In the few days leading up to my drop-off day, all I could think about was the moment when I’d stand alone in a sea full of people I didn’t know. We would be forced to mingle at meals, orientation events, and dorm parties.

Oh, goody.

I couldn’t understand why so many freshmen seemed excited and even elated to step on campus for the first time. Would they not miss their families and their friends back at home? Would they not miss their cozy beds and clean showers? It didn’t appear so.

The moment finally came when I had to say goodbye. I waved as my family drove away…hours and hours and hours away.

My parents and I had dreaded this horrible day for years.

Then it happened. And then it was over. And I was okay.

I didn’t die or even suffer injury. It was difficult, but I was fine.

You will be fine, too.

Are you dreading the day of your college drop-off? Or perhaps another scary upcoming event? Or maybe you are currently in college and are struggling to thrive? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few tips that I’ve found helpful in adjusting to college life.

  1. Stay close to God. If you aren’t already busy, you will be soon. As you have more homework and tests, you’ll be tempted to let your quiet time habits fall by the wayside. It’ll be easier to skip them in the morning so you can sleep or skip them at night so you can watch a movie after a long day of classes. Confession time: Instead of doing my devotions this morning, I slept. I neglected my time of prayer and Bible-reading to lie in my bed and satisfy my desire for sleep…and then I felt guilty later. My point is that you have to keep the long-term consequences in mind when it comes to devotions. For the moment, it will feel good to sleep longer or be on social media or even finish your homework. But God will bless those who are faithful and devoted to Him.
  2. Remember that everyone (or almost everyone) feels the same way you do. As the semester begins and as people get used to a new schedule, everyone feels a little uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel awkward, nervous, unsure, anxious, and alone. Some even wonder if they’ll survive. They don’t know where to go, how to act, or if everything will eventually become normal. Keep that in mind as you enter a new situation. You’re not the only one who is freaking out inside.
  3. Remember that you just have to get through today. I know that may sound awful, like you’ll have to trudge through life and just deal with whatever happens. But, honestly, that is what you need to do sometimes. Don’t look at your syllabi and freak out because of all the assignments that are due next month. Instead, focus on the work that’s due within the next week and then work on assignments that are further down the road. God gives us every single day as a gift, and we should try to accept them and thank Him for each one.

I’ve only been at college for a few weeks, and I already feel pressured to do well. There’s so much to do and so much to get done. But God has guided me through the first few weeks, and He will guide me through the rest of the year.

He will continue to guide you, too.

If you let Him.

Like God told Joshua as he was preparing to lead the Israelites:

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 NKJV)

Stay tuned for Part Two!

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