Both of my children left for college in the same year; 2000 miles away. TWO! THOUSAND! MILES! While technology has made the world much smaller, it felt as if I was sending them to another planet. They had attended and graduated from a very small Christian school. Now they were going to a college with a large enrollment. To say there would be a level of culture shock would be a huge understatement. I wanted to give them some level of advice that would help them, though I think it was as much for me as it was for them. I wrote them each a personal letter and gave them a list of “School Supplies” to take with them to college:
EXCITEMENT: Be excited, but also stay excited. It is an amazing time in your life. Don’t let the every-day life of college overshadow the whole experience of these few years.
ENERGY: You are young, so act like it. Don’t fall into ruts. Don’t take for granted all the opportunities that will be offered to you. You won’t have time or money to do everything, but what you decide to do, give it everything you have.
EFFORT: It’s not always going to be easy. Honestly, not much of it will be easy. No matter if it is class work, scholarship work, a job, or a ministry, put your back into it. Don’t just go through the motions. Put effort into everything, even the things that may not seem to need much effort; especially those things.
EFFICIENCY: Learn to manage your time well. It will make or break you. Be organized, live by a schedule. It’s amazing how much time is wasted when you are short on time to begin with.
EXCELLENCE: Be committed to becoming the very best “you” that you can become and that the LORD wants you to become. Do it on purpose. Constantly examine every area of your life and then find ways to improve them. This is the time to determine who you will be. Be excellent.
ENCOURAGEMENT: I promise you, there will be times when you are down. You must learn to encourage yourself. It is then you will be able to encourage others. It is then you will become valuable. If you are unable to find encouragement, then encourage someone else first. You cannot pour encouragement on others without spilling some on yourself.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly:
ENDURANCE: There are probably going to be some times when you really do feel like giving up, or taking the easy road, but it really is true that nothing worthwhile ever comes easy; not just in college, but also in life. Many times you will just have to put your head down and stay after it. Something’s got to give if you stay at it long enough. It’s been said that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. So, no matter what you’re going through, Just keep pressing forward. I promise it will be well worth it.
2 Timothy 2:3-5 says, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
(Author has asked not to be mentioned)