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to the college girls from my heart

It’s that time of year for bells to chime across quads of green grass, boiled peanuts, notebooks, friends, cinder block bedroom walls, hall bathrooms, and whistles from the football field…yes, another college year is here! YAY! I am practically warming up my crockpot to make some boiling peanuts right now! Welcome back boots, scarves, and sweaters!

Nobody in my house may be at college presently, but we have sharpened pencils, opened fresh notebooks, and set the alarm clocks a bit earlier as we transition from more relaxed days to more structure and lots of learning. New school supplies are some of my favorite items to shop for. I love this season and welcome it every year!

I may not be in school currently, but I did 20 years of school and counseling supervision for four years after that! Still, I charge my laptop, use a dictionary/thesaurus, and research. This is my view as I write curriculum for preteens! I know, the pumpkin spice latte is basic, but I truly love it and it really is fall in a mug. It also helps concentration, I believe.

This is my view each morning as we pull books off the shelf and get ready for a day of instruction. Bring on the colored pencils and colored folders! I have re-learned how to write really neatly in cursive from teaching it at home! Bonus!

Looking back on my college life that I loved, I made some positive choices and I learned from mistakes I made as well. I know you college girls will make some excellent choices and some mistakes in the middle. I would love to impart a bit of wisdom from a former college girl to your precious heart. The following are ways to encourage you as you make the most of your college experience:

Stay focused on the Lord. Remember your purpose. Glorify Your Creator. Where you spend your time reflects who you are and what is important to you. Stay involved in a local church, become involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Baptist Campus Ministries, or another organization on campus where you can grow with other believers and stay encouraged in your faith. The good news is there are no parents hounding you to get to church. The bad news is there are no parents hounding you to get to church. College is a time for life-changing decisions and the best way to make the best decisions is to stay close to your heavenly Father.

Get some rest. This is where I have learned from my mistakes. Freshman year, there was no night I went to bed before 2:00 a.m. I had 8:00 a.m. classes each day the first semester too. Let me clarify, I was in the dorm safe at night, but eating pizza, laughing, talking, and running down the hallway. My grades might have been even better if I had slept a bit more…

Act with integrity. Remember Whose you are and who you represent. Even when it seems that nobody else sees, God always does. Yes, with academics, write your own papers, keep your eyes on your own tests, but even beyond that, in friendships and work as well. Keep your word. Arrive when you say you will arrive. Do your part of the project to the best of your ability. Avoid talking about others. Remember, if someone will bash others with you, they will do it about you too.

Keep a sense of humor. We all will slip down icy steps in front of a mob of college students walking into the arena. Well, maybe not all of you, perhaps just me, but nonetheless, laugh at yourself. It shows confidence (even in humiliation) and lets people know they can approach you.

Be bold in speaking with professors. Don’t allow timidity to take over. They are there to help. First semester freshman year, I took my basic math final and was required to turn in my notebook of homework for that class. I grabbed the right color, wrong class notebook. When I realized my error, I was so embarrassed and intimidated, I chose not to ask the professor to run back to the dorm and get the correct notebook, so I did not receive the “A” I actually deserved in the class. Crazy sounding, right? Feel confident to ask how to correct a paper or how to study differently for a test next time!

Accept wisdom from people who follow Christ. Let’s not assume you know everything. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know! Truly listen to other wise leaders in your life and take note. Humbly hear Truth and act on it.

Keep fear away and let God lead you. Be bold. Try new stuff. Allow growth and take on leadership positions. If God calls you to go on a mission trip, go for it. If you want to change your major, do it. I actually had six different majors until I finally decided on psychology. I still graduated in four years!

Hang out with guys and girls in groups. Watch how the someone you like interacts with others and treats people. Not only is it fun, it can help you guard your heart before jumping into a serious relationship.

Be kind to boys. Date people you think you would marry instead of leading someone on just because they like you. Help guard the fragile hearts of your brothers in Christ.

Be wise. Keep accountability in relationships. Avoid being alone in the dorm room. I know some colleges have visiting hours, and for those that do not, have a friend keep track of where you are with your man. Make purity a priority. Date a boy who values you enough to guard your heart too.

Love people. Smile and wave when walking around campus. Everyone has a story and someone may need Jesus or simply a little encouragement.

Write each assignment from every syllabus in your planner. Look at said planner regularly. It will prevent late or forgotten assignments every time! If you really want to go crazy, give each class a color and organize it that way. Organization has a lot to do with good grades.

I could definitely go on, but this seems to be a good beginning. Whether this begins you first year or last year of higher learning, I pray for you to stay in communication with Jesus and fall in love with Him more than anything and anyone else. I pray you learn lots, meet new people, and have so much fun you want to turn cartwheels down the hallway. These years will not be perfect and, realistically, they are disappointing and down right difficult at times, but God is good, loves you, and will help you through. God bless you, wonderful women!




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