This is the second post in the Thriving at College blog series. I hope you learn a few more tips and are encouraged to trust the Lord during this semester of college–or wherever you are in life!
- Learn to be flexible. I’m terrible at putting this into practice because I’m very picky about my sleep, my schedule, and my exercise. I often become irritable if I can’t get eight hours of sleep or if something changes on my schedule or if I have to skip my exercise. But we won’t get everything we want all the time. The sooner we learn to deal with that fact, the better our lives will be. I may not get eight hours of sleep, a perfectly-planned day, and twenty minutes of exercise all the time. But life doesn’t always (or usually) go the way we plan, so we need to be able to handle curveballs. Learn to compromise with others, try to be considerate, and listen to other points of view. Be flexible with your plans and with your roommate. 🙂 Compromise is key.
- Get organized. I personally recommend getting a paper calendar to write events, a paper planner to write upcoming homework due dates and tests, and a whiteboard to write tasks, like folding laundry. This will help separate events from classes from miscellaneous tasks. If you prefer to organize your life on your smartphone calendar, that works, too. With all the classes, events, and due dates in college, it’s easy to forget a major deadline or activity if you don’t keep track.
- Ask for help. We’re not in high school anymore, Toto. If you haven’t already learned, college is not easy. I’m only a few weeks in, and I already feel stressed. A lot. You probably feel the same way! When you’re struggling with a class or assignment, don’t hesitate to get help. Find an upper classman who has taken the course before, ask the professor for guidance (I hear they really like that), or get advice from a tutor. Don’t wait to ask for help. If you’re struggling at the beginning of the semester, you’ll probably be struggling even more in the months ahead. Make time to get help.
- Get involved. To be honest, I’m being entirely hypocritical when I say this because I’ve skipped a lot of events and meetings so far…But I still encourage you to try different activities! I’m sure your college has some clubs, sports, events, or groups that interest you. Try to attend events and join different groups to show your support and to be around other people. Don’t let your introverted-ness get the best of you. You’ll miss out on fun activities if you do (or at least that’s what people tell me 🙂 ).
- Learn to stop daydreaming. I know I’ve said it about a hundred times already, but college is challenging. Unfortunately, you can’t make good grades if you’re not focusing in class or while you study. Catching random tidbits of information here and there won’t earn you a good grade, so you should pay attention to what you’re learning. If you take notes on lectures, highlight important sections from your reading, and study what you’ve learned, you should do well on exams.
- Know where to turn when you feel overwhelmed because you will feel overwhelmed. I’ve felt overwhelmed for about 50% of my time at college, and I’ve only been here for a few weeks. Sometimes, you’ll have a breakdown. That’s okay. (I’ve had a few myself.) When you feel like you can’t take the craziness anymore, don’t panic. You’re not a weirdo. Just let your feelings flow, have a breakdown (and even cry) if necessary, and then ask Jesus to help you get through today. (Remember step 3 from last week’s post?) Feel free to lean on yourself to overcome your issues, but it’ll be easier to lean on Jesus.
Although this verse is referring to the thriving of the New Testament church, I think you can apply it to your college life as well:
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. (Acts 9:31 ESV)