What are some of the things you should know before you arrive on campus?
In this blog, I am going to try to give you some perspective and maybe some confidence as you begin your college experience.
The best advice that I can give you comes from God Himself. Our Father made us and He knows us better than we know ourselves. To top that off, He had a plan for YOUR LIFE and He knows the best way for you to go, so it would be hugely important that you start (and continue) your journey with Him.
In Genesis God had this advice for Adam - who was just beginning his education in life. He said: "The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him (Genesis 2:18)". We are not made to walk through life alone - especially through the hard things. College will be overwhelming - count on it. If you share your walk with "suitable helpers", you will manage and very likely thrive in the academic environment. But if you try to walk alone, you could be crushed by the many demands that will fall on you every day.
So, who are these "suitable helpers" that you should surround yourself with?
1. Your parents.
You may be away from home, but you are not away from their thoughts. They are not only praying for you and worrying about you - they are rooting for you. They want you to succeed and they want you to have all the tools you need to make this happen. Don't neglect this relationship -- CALL YOUR MOM!
2. Student resources.
Believe it or not - even thought the university demands a lot from you, they want you to succeed. They have high expectations for you and believe you can handle the challenges - that is why they set the standard high. The college leaders also know that this can be overwhelming, so they provide helps. Check the campus website and find out what student services, clubs, and resources are available to you (such as tutoring and counseling programs) - then use them (they are there for you - and you pay for them through your tuition so you might as well get your money's worth).
The same as with the college administration, your professors do not want to see you fail - it reflects badly on their teaching. Remember that they got into teaching to help people succeed. Get to know them and ask them their advice on how to succeed - especially in their classes.
4. Social resources
Get to know the people in your classes - they may be your coworkers and peers in the careers you go into. These relationships may pay off big time in your future. They also can help you walk when you feel like crawling. They are good for helping you through classes and for venting your frustrations. They are walking the same path, so they will understand your fears and will celebrate your victories. You may want to join some clubs and intramural sports teams to extend your peer group. The more people you are connected to, the stronger your walk will be.
Many students away from home neglect this important connection. It is sometimes scary going into a new church and you will rarely find a church just like the one you knew at home, but don't let that stop you. You may want to check out a few churches, but as soon as you can, pick one. By being connected to this resource, your world will open up. Not only will it help you keep yourself grounded in your faith, but it will bring people into your life that have experiences and resources that you may have trouble finding. For example, if your car breaks down you could call the church for help. They would have a number of people that could give you rides and maybe even connections with a mechanic or a car dealer that could help you get a good deal.
Ecclesiastes teaches us that their is strength in numbers. The author (possibly Solomon) said: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Don't try to walk alone.
Parents - we know that it can be overwhelming and frightening to let your young adult leave the nest and head to college. You have watched them grow and been there for them through every stage of their life, only now to have to send them away and not be there for them through one of the biggest steps they will ever take.
When they were learning to walk, you held them up until they were strong enough to stand alone. When they were learning to ride their bike, you ran behind them holding the bike up until they were strong enough to ride alone. Now, after years of holding them tight and teaching them to be independent, you need to let them fly - and trust that they will.
Still it is scary.
As a campus ministry, we understand this and we want to work with you through this time. Your student will still need support at times, just as they will need to "adult" at times. They need to know that you are close enough to catch them if they fail, but far enough to let them try. Just like those days when you were teaching them to dive into the pool.
We want to be a support to you - and an extension of your hand. When your student needs a boost, you cannot always be close enough to do it, but we are walking the campus with them. To do this, we need you to communicate with us. You can send us messages here on the website (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or you can call us (dave: 9704338585). Let us know what you and your student need to stand strong.
Also, we will try to keep you informed on ways you can be partner with us in helping your child.
To help you make this transition with your child, we recommend you check out the book "Letting Go: A parents guide to understanding the college years". The author does a good job showing when a parent should step in to help their child and when they should step back and let them grow. (Click the picture and it will send you to an Amazon link for the book).
I will also be trying to update you through this blog - so check back. And don't forget to check the rest of this website for pictures, calendars and CSF needs, so that you can see what your young adult is doing with us.
You may no always be present in their minds, but you are still the biggest influence in their life!!!
Thanks for loaning us your young adult for a short time. May God bless their time with us.