Whether you’re an almost-high-school grad looking for a home for the next four years, the over-protective parent not ready to let go, or the skeptical grandmother watching way too many crazy Lifetime movies…college brings change for everyone involved. Here are 4 tips for embracing a secular college, diversity and personal growth without losing your way.
1. Whoa. Culture-shock.
This isn’t high-school, anymore. Your little, small-town, cozy bubble has burst and left you wondering what in the heck you got yourself into. No one dresses the same, no one speaks the same language (not even the professors) and no one holds the same beliefs, in fact some may not believe in anything at all. So, when your eyes and your heart begin to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath, a step back. You’re here for a reason, even if you don’t know it yet.
2. Watch yo step.
But, really. Those scribbles in chalk, all over every sidewalk on campus, they’re known as Callouts. From super controversial activist groups to extremely conservative student-led clubs. If an idea/issue exists, there’s probably a club in its honor and the devoted, chalk-using members probably want you to join. This is where the diverse part comes in. New people with different outlooks bring a healthy thread of reality to that comfy Jesus Snuggie you wrapped yourself in, but they can be a disruption to your walk as well. It’s simply a matter of what you allow. So, go ahead, open your mind. But keep your faith rooted.
3. Oh, hey…Satan.
My entire senior year of high school I was set to attend Cedarville University, driven by a deep lack of interest in any secular school, whatsoever. It seems silly to me, now, that I thought attending a Christian college would make my walk with Christ effortless, as if the Devil granted those students a free 4-year pass from all things evil. Yet when I changed my mind and stepped onto IU’s campus that first week, my biggest fear was for my heart and what I was potentially exposing it to. But, I’ve found that geographical location determines nothing when compared to the power of a firm foot-hold in Christ.
4. That high horse you’re riding….get off it.
College brings a whole new perspective on fun, and a million different ideas of how to have it. Personally, I enjoy pinning adorable pictures of cats and driving barefoot, blaring T-Swift. But that’s just me. As a student at one of the biggest known “party schools,” not being a “partier” hasn’t made me popular among those that are. As Christians, we’re called to set ourselves apart. Apart. Not above. So put the stones of judgment back in your pocket. If your walk is how it should be, you won’t have to tell them you’re different, they’ll see it on their own.