What I Wish I Knew in College

With students trickling back into Blacksburg, classes starting in just a few weeks, and Jonathan and I gearing up for the months of college ministry ahead of us I've been thinking a lot about my own college experience and things I wish I'd known or would've done differently at the time.  Whether you're a freshman heading to college for the first time or a senior looking to graduate soon, I hope that the following list can provide you with encouragement, or even just a laugh. 

As everyone's college experience is different I called upon my ever-faithful college roomies to get their input as well! 

On Classes:

"It's ok to not know what you're gonna be when you grow up or what you’ll do after graduation because nobody does, even if they act like they do." --Emily

Don't stress about your GPA. In the long run your work ethic and the way you relate to other people matters more to your employer than three little numbers.

"I wish I knew to make better connections with professors through college because they write your recommendations for jobs and Grad school." --Emily

"It's ok to just take a break from school and go get coffee or a fun treat with friends once in a while. The work will still get done and you'll probably be more productive if you take the break and enjoy some time away." --Lindsay

On Being Prepared:

"Invest in a good rain jacket and boots!" --Amanda Mae

"Always carry a small umbrella in your backpack. That is what brought Brittany and I together as friends, literally and figuratively!" --Melanie

On Making the Most of It:

"Seriously enjoy being able to sleep in or not have class on Fridays! Go on random adventures, stay up late hanging out in your hall, and definitely grab food at midnight and people watch outside. Seriously, you won't regret it." --Amanda Mae

Go on that spring break/missions outreach/ACC Championship trip while you still get student discounts, don't have to take time off work, and can sleep on a hotel room floor with five other people and not worry about back pain in the morning.

On Finding Community:

"Get plugged in. Try that sport or club you've always wanted to and if you don't like it at least you tried. And if you do like it then you'll make memories you never thought you would." --Brittany

"I felt a lot of pressure to find my ‘forever friends’ during the first semester of college. But remember that authentic relationships develop over time. By October I didn't think I would ever make friends, and over Christmas break I realized how much I missed the friends I'd made." --Melanie & Emily

"College is way more than partying and going to class. It's a critical time in figuring out who you are as an individual. It can be lonely and a bit discouraging, but hang in there and don't go home every weekend just because that's easier." --Amanda Mae

"Get involved in a local church. You don't have to wait until you're out of school or only help at your home church. It's great to attend church, but also look for ways to serve at your church. It will make the transition to finding a church after college easier if you learn how to become part of the larger body of Christ and not just rely on campus ministries." --Lindsay & Amanda

On Relationships:

"If you're in a relationship, don't feel like you need to be with that person every time you're not in class. Find your own identity, friends, clubs. You'll have more things to talk about, and if you don't end up staying together, you'll have your own friends to lean on and find support." --Brittany

(To the ladies and vice versa) "Don't always try to hang out with just boys. Make sure you chill with your girls too because those friendships last forever." --Emily

On Food:

Take advantage of that meal plan before you move off campus and live solely on pasta and pb&j.

"If your cafeteria or dining hall has pancake mix, you can make an individual muffin or cookie in a mug if you just add toppings and microwave!" --Lindsay

Overall, have fun, be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, be vulnerable and look for ways to bless and encourage others and you will have one amazing college experience!