In no particular order, here are some random bits of advice I would give to my college self if I could talk to him today:
1. After you land your first job, nobody will ever ask you about your grades.
2. Studying is important because you’re learning how to learn. Your grades are merely a reflection of the learning process.
3. Don’t stress out too much about your major. The odds are quite high that your career will have little correlation to your field of study.
4. When adults tell you that you have more free time now than you will ever have again, they are telling the truth.
5. Do not skip your church’s college retreat to go to your high school homecoming. Trust me.
6. When your long distance girlfriend from high school breaks up with you over the phone, it’s going to hurt. A lot. In hindsight, though, you’ll see it as one of your most significant moments of personal growth.
7. That guy who left a party to come hear you blubber after she broke up with you? He’ll be one of your lifelong friends.
8. God’s grace is bigger than you think it is.
9. You are not the only one who struggles with sin. One day you will understand the value of being honest about your failures.
10. Girls are just as confused by the dating scene as you are.
11. Every church has its strengths and weaknesses. The one you attend isn’t the only one where God is at work.
12. Call your parents more often.
13. Call your grandparents more often.
14. Visit your grandparents more often.
15. Don’t get so angry when your roommates eat your food. The day will come when you will gladly buy food for them just for the privilege of spending some time with them.
16. Don’t be so afraid of rejection by the opposite sex. Your fear is worse than the rejection itself.
17. When that professor tells you that your borderline grades are a function of laziness rather than lack of intelligence, he’s correct. Just admit it and make the necessary adjustments.
18. Pay attention to the people living on your hall in the dorm. Some of them are hurting deeply, and they need to hear about the love of Jesus.
19. Do not order an entire pizza from the cheapest restaurant in town and eat it with your roommate at 3 AM.
20. College is the only time in your life when staying up until 3 AM is considered normal.
21. Vegetables are not evil. Eat a few here and there to balance out the rest of your terrible diet.
22. Your classmates and neighbors are as open to the Gospel as they ever will be. Share it with them.
23. You will be glad that you went on those summer mission trips.
24. It’s alright if you graduate without a serious girlfriend or fiance. Sometimes the best things come to those who wait.
25. Do not laugh at the way middle-aged people look or act. It will all make sense one day.
26. Do not judge the parents whose kids are screaming and biting one another at the table next to you at Chili’s. That will be you one day.
27. You really should not spend an entire summer playing Street Fighter 2 for six hours a day.
28. Right now you are setting patterns that will mark your relationship with God for the rest of your life. Consider carefully how you spend your time and energy.
29. It is not too early to practice generosity. Give some of your money to your church, to missionaries, to the poor. It’s really not about the amount you give. It’s about participating in God’s work.
30. Do not leave your bicycle parked at the end of the rack for an entire semester. Somebody will crush it and leave it useless.
31. When you leave for Christmas break, empty out the water tray inside your mini-fridge. It’s important.
32. Pray for your Christian friends to walk with God for the rest of their lives. Some will choose to walk away from Him.
33. Working in service-oriented jobs is not beneath your dignity.
34. You will be part of the last generation of college students to write physical letters to your out-of-town friends. Write more of them. Keep the ones they send you as historical relics.
35. Get to know some of the adults at your church. One day their advice and encouragement will be invaluable to you.
36. Relax just a little bit. College is a unique and wonderful time, and it goes by way too quickly.
What would you add to the list? I’m sure you have some good ones!
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