7 Ways To Crush Your First Year Of College

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Consider this the second of two posts about transitioning to college. In the first post, we discussed change (click here to read it). While difficult, change is often healthy and necessary for growth.

But, what now? That’s what we’re addressing in this post. It’s not enough to leave the nest. The goal is to fly, to soar, not simply to flutter around helplessly. You could take a chance and hope things work out, or, with a bit of intentionality and preparation, you could set yourself up for success.

Here are seven ways to crush it in college. 

1. Prioritize Your First Few Weeks.

Your first few weeks of college are monumental. The choices you make in these earliest of stages will shape your next four years. Why? The early days determine your social trajectory, what clubs you join and which social circles you commit to, both of which greatly influence the type of person you’ll become.

So get an early start. Figure out what you want to do (and not do), who you want to hang with (and not hang with), and who speaks into your life.

Only you can decide.

2. Find a Church.

The minute you finish decorating your dorm room and buying your books, find a church. Get plugged in somewhere. Do it quickly. Start serving. Ask people for recommendations. Research some good churches in your area. Make this a healthy habit early on. You won’t regret it.

3. Bring Your Bible.

And don’t just bring it – dive in! Whether you’re up before the sun or burning the midnight oil, make time during the day to spend with God. College is often a season of soul-searching and self-discovery, identity exploration at its finest. If you’re not rooted in the Word of God, you’ll search for meaning in short-lived, superficial gains with nasty ramifications. Root yourself in Scripture – God’s love letter to you – by protecting your alone time with Jesus.

4. Get Connected.

Like number one, find healthy social circles that will reap tremendous rewards for your spiritual, emotional, and physical well being. This takes time and effort. Building meaningful community with quality friends often requires going outside of your comfort zone and taking a chance. Risk is involved in any relationship, but the best relationships are worth betting the farm for and going “all in.” Could you possibly get burned by putting yourself out there? Yes. But you also might miss out on relationships that last a lifetime. Go for it.

5. Welcome Accountability.

This isn’t a fan favorite. But it plays a vital role in the quest to crush college. For the first time in your life, you are the only person who decides if and when you’re going to get up and go to class. The same is true with church. No one is forcing you to read your Bible, go to church, and make good decisions. You’re in the driver’s seat. As our neighborhood friendly Spiderman once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Be responsible. Find a professor, mentor or coach, and ask them to keep you accountable. Life is meant to be done with others. How much better with those who genuinely care about you?

6. Establish Healthy Habits.

And keep ‘em! You need to realize that habits either make us or break us. Healthy habits, such as corporate worship, daily devotions, and regular exercise, pave the way for deep intimacy with God and others. They also influence the type of person you’ll become.

Live ‘em. Learn ‘em. Love ‘em.

7. Have Fun.

Never forget to have fun in college, just do it the right way – God’s way. Hang in groups. Bowl. Camp. Read. Explore. Take time for yourself. Partake in dorm events and activities. And don’t sweat the small stuff.

Someone once said, “Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.” Don’t let that be you. Enjoy the life you’ve been given.

With these seven things in mind, always remember that at the end of the day, God’s got you. As the Apostle Paul wrote to a church some years ago, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Hold fast to His promise. You are not alone. God’s got you. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride.

By serving as the Granite Bay High School Pastor, Tyler Swaney gets to influence teenagers to live loud for Jesus Christ. He moved from Southern California with his wife, Allie, after graduating from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry and Biblical Studies as well as a Master’s in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Tyler loves barbecue sauce with every meal, getting outside, and teaching teens what the Bible is challenging them to do, be, and know.

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