September 28, 2020
College goes by fast. I’m sure you’ve heard that so many times since being at Liberty, but I just want to reiterate it; college flies by. As a senior, I look back on these last 3 years to lots of laughter, tears, life-giving friendships, new passions, and SubCo. Here is some advice I want to give to freshmen about your college experience from a senior’s perspective.
First, put yourself out there and be bold in your friendships. Your community is your lifeline in college. According to Mayo Clinic, “Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections”. Friendships not only give you a healthier lifestyle, but also a more fun one too. I would not be where or who I am today without the people that I call my best friends.
I had to get past the discomfort of asking someone to grab dinner, or hang out with me first, because frankly, I just needed friends. If I wasn’t bold in asking people to hangout, I probably wouldn’t have the friends I have today. Just know that it’s okay to reach out first because everybody wants a friend. Once you get that community, do everything you can to pour into it and be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a tough thing for most people, but I promise you it is worth it. When you are vulnerable with people, it allows you to be free to yourself and results in a much deeper relationship.
Second, it’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. When I came to college, I was undecided on my field of study. Since then, I’ve switched my major 3 times, but I’m happy I did because I love my classes and my major. When you’re 18 it’s hard to make big decisions, because those same decisions will impact a large majority of your life. However, just know that it’s okay to change your major, because your passions will usually change at some point too. Borderzine states, “About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career”.
When you do find those classes that you are excited to go to, even when it’s at 8:15 AM, pour yourself into it. You are in college to do a lot of things, but to educate yourself is the main reason, so don’t waste it! Take classes that interest you, not ones that you feel like you need to take just because it’s what the “smart people” are doing. Not everyone is going to have the same strengths and callings, so not everyone is going to major in the same thing or take the same classes.
Third, take your relationship with God seriously. Being at Liberty is a huge blessing and something you should not take lightly. You could go to a different bible study every night of the week if you wanted to because there are countless opportunities to deepen your relationship with God here. Don’t waste these opportunities. When you get out of Liberty you will most likely be in a very secular part of the world where you won’t have the spiritual resources you do now, so take advantage of them!
Don’t just attend Campus Community or Convocation and count that as your quiet time. Open up your Bible and spend alone time with God so you can truly grow in an intimate relationship with Him. Also, get connected to a local church so you can serve your local community. Check out this blog post if you’re struggling to get connected with a church in Lynchburg.
Fourth, don’t give into FOMO. FOMO, fear of missing out, can truly ruin your college experience. You have to learn to be content with where you are and not envy other people’s experiences. The more you learn to cherish the present moment, the easier it will be to not give into FOMO.
Psychology Today states, “College is a time when we are programmed to develop on two parallel tracks: On the one hand, we are making new kinds of connections with our peers, developing more adult friendships and more intense romantic relationships than in the past; and on the other, we are making inroads into our future professional goals”. It’s tough to learn the balance between the two, but just know that everyone struggles with it. Learn that you cannot be omni-present, which means that you will miss out on things, but so does everybody else!
Fifth, start establishing habits. You might think that what you are doing your freshman year won’t affect you as a senior or graduate, but that’s wrong. How you study now will affect how you study when you’re a senior. What your work ethic is now, will affect how your work ethic is when you have graduated and have a full-time job.
The World Counts states, “More than 40 percent of the actions you perform each day aren’t actual decisions, but habits. They grow stronger and stronger over time and become more and more automatic. Habits are so powerful because they create neurological cravings: A certain behavior is rewarded by the release of “pleasure” chemicals in the brain”. Habits control your life, so start making good ones today!
Sixth, maximize your freedom! College is made for last minute road trips, discovering the world, learning more about yourself, having late nights at Cookout, going on early sunrise drives to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and making memories that will truly last a lifetime. Savor every moment with your friends and don’t stop trying new things.
Don’t leave college looking back on all the things you wish you would have done, just do it now! You will not have this little amount of responsibility for a long time in life, so maximize it. Don’t take this season for granted. Trust me, it will go by fast.
Written by: Kaitlyn Skarstein
Kaitlyn loves being able to write for the SA blog because she thinks it is important to share her voice. She loves being able to express her own opinions on important subjects that are relevant for students, faculty, and many others.