Mar 6, 2007

Personal growth at the college level

by Stephen Nelson, Opinion
The spring semester is nearly half gone. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Broken them all yet?  Setting goals for yourself can sometimes be a difficult task. But it’s even harder to actually meet and surpass the goals you’ve set. Each January 1, it feels good to say “This year I will lose weight,” or “This year I will run a mile every day,” or even “This year I will read a book.”  It’s college—we should all be reading books.  Making goals to eat healthy and stay in shape are great, but how many said, “This year I will grow spiritually, put others first or get involved?”  It’s hard to go to college and simultaneously focus on personal growth. Trust me, I’m learning this firsthand.

In Relevant’s most recent issue, Mark Batterson compares setting high goals to 2 Samuel 23:20. “It tells the story of Benaiah, who chased a lion down into a pit,” said Batterson, “Then despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.”  Batterson went on to say that we have a choice—we can either run away from challenges or face them head on.  It’s an interesting analogy, comparing life to a bloodthirsty lion.  It’s a good analogy, and I can’t think of a more fitting one.  

College is a pivotal time in any person’s life. It’s hard to believe it only lasts, on average, four years. We’ve been given these opportunities and chances—isn’t time we take them?  I look back on my freshman and sophomore years, and I remember how easy it was to be lazy.  Classes aren’t the most difficult at those early levels, so it wasn’t ordinary to go back to the dorms after a day of classes and get sucked into a movie marathon complete with an endless bowl of popcorn.  After a routine trip to the dining hall, more lethargy often followed.  I look back on these days with a pang of regret, wishing I had done something constructive and grown because of it.

Getting involved really is not hard. There are countless opportunities for a college student at Liberty University to get involved somewhere on campus or off.  Bulletin boards placed on nearly every hall on campus have flyers for events, volunteer activities and student activities.  Liberty’s splash page is a great source for students looking to get involved. CampusSERVE meets Saturday mornings to make an impact on the community by reaching out to those in need. Commuter students can become part of a commuter care small group by simply contacting the Campus Pastor’s Office. But students aren’t limited to campus-sponsored activities. Countless churches in the Lynchburg area have small groups and ministries to participate in.

Life is a mighty lion, constantly rearing its head in our face.  We, as the next generation have choices to make.  We can run for shelter and continue to tread down the worn path of laziness—or we can turn and face the lion. The life experiences that occur during our college career will shape our character. Chase the lion and don’t stop.

Contact Stephen Nelson at
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