Having spent the last four years of my life working with high school and first year college students, I am convinced that there are three decisions that young women need to make before they move into their new home at their beloved college campus.
The unspoken truth is that as a graduated high school senior, you do not become a new person in the summer months at home before beginning as a freshman. Yes, you receive a “fresh start” but you will very quickly find yourself in a life that looks eerily like your past four years if you don’t make some decisions about your life trajectory. I have found that some of the best life lessons were actually formed in our kindergarten years…we just have to be willing to remember them.
1. Decide which grade you will revert back to when picking friends.
The truth is you will still have to make friends in college. Although in some ways it will be easier if you’re living in a residence hall, the bottom line is you still have to decide who will be in your friend group(s), they don’t magically form.
Just like high school, there will be varying levels of popularity, styles, interests, and opportunities. If you want a repeat of high school, I recommend speaking and behaving just like you did in high school. If, however, you would like to enrich your life with incredible friends, I recommend going back to the friend-making skills you had in kindergarten.
Remember those days?
When you became friends with someone because they were nice and not because of what they were wearing? When you talked to someone simply because you sat by them and not based on what your other friends thought of them? When discovery of skin colors was a fascinating topic of conversation rather than a stereotype of dislike? When kids who made fun of other kids were considered bullies instead of popular?
Try being as open-minded about people in college as you were in kindergarten. Let yourself take advantage of the “fresh start” by befriending everyone you come across. Don’t put yourself back in the same friend box you did in high school.
2. Decide if your faith is important enough to you to determine how you will live.
There’s a reason Jesus tells us to have the “faith of a child.” Have you ever talked to a child about Jesus?! There’s no fear, no hesitation, no questioning of the appropriateness of the conversation. They’ll tell you all about Jesus because He is a real part of their lives- they don’t know how to compartmentalize him! Their faith in Jesus influences their actions.
One time my niece went to a party where she knew other kids would be there that didn’t know about Jesus. She asked her mom if they could take a craft that would show the other kids about Jesus’ love and salvation. She knew Jesus was at the party with her. Her faith determined her actions- in a very public setting!
When you carry a child-like faith with you into college, your relationship with Christ will determine e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. … the people you interact with, the parties you attend, the behaviors you exhibit, the amount you study, etc…. Having a child-like faith means Jesus isn’t left behind in high school.
3. Decide that your instinct and your standards are trustworthy, respectable, and worth keeping.
Do you remember ever crying to your mom about someone hurting you either physically or verbally as a kid? Of course! What about telling her that someone scared you? We all did! Why? Because our parents had taught us that it was wrong for anyone to hit or hurt, be mean to or make fun of. So, when we were hurt or made fun of, we went running to our moms telling her what happened. Someone had broken the rules, and we knew it wasn’t right! We also were taught to trust our instincts. Maybe not in those exact words, but if someone scared us, we ran away from the scary person and went running into the arms of our parents for comfort and security.
As girls turn into young women, however, the world tears at their instincts and mocks their standards.
Ladies, be child-like. Stand up for yourself by speaking the truth. Fight for equality of treatment. Believe in the simplicity that good men and good friends exist, and keep looking until you find them. Leave those that try to destroy your standards and instinct. Tell someone when you’ve been hurt. Don’t give in to the voice of the culture believing you have to choose between your value and your relationships.
Start making your college experience the best one possible. Re-live your kindergarten days:
Make friends. Love Jesus. Keep your standards.
Oh and… tell your mom and dad you love them. It maybe means even more to them now than it did back then.
About Holly's Blog
Holly loves to write, and you'll find her blog covers all different topics!