Yesterday I linked to a Lifehacker article that compiled the top ten responses to the question: What do you wish you’d known when you were at College? Most of the top 10 answers were also applicable to Christian students.
However, I then asked you for ideas to help compile a top 10 list that would be especially relevant for Christian students. Here’s your suggestions, together with my own.
1. Read Thriving at College by Alex Chediak. Every church should have a crate of these to give away to their students.
2. Get addicted to the holy habits of daily Bible reading (thanks Se7en), and prayer. Whatever else you study, make the Word of God your #1 priority. And whoever else you speak to, speak to your Maker, Sustainer, Guide, and Guard. As Pete said, you need the Lord’s help to “flee temptations.”
3. Seize the immense opportunity to form friendships and speak the gospel to those friends. Ryan commented: “The time in college is far and away the most fertile ground for relational evangelism.” (see Ryan’s letter to new students here.) Pete advised students to consider a College Campus ministry to encourage you and train you in this.
4. Mix with older people. The vibrancy of multiple young people on a campus can make older people seem very boring. However, mixing with wise and experienced older people, especially senior citizens, can teach you more than any college. And, believe it or not, they can also learn from you.
5. Keep in regular contact with your parents (and your brothers and sisters). Many young people go to college, plunge themselves into exciting new relationships, and almost completely cut themselves off from their families – sometimes unthinkingly, but sometimes deliberately. Not wise. Make sure that you are in at least weekly contact with your parents and share your life with them.
6. Don’t major in dating, and don’t make marriage your ultimate goal. If God means you to marry, then you don’t have to spend every waking and sleeping moment thinking and dreaming about it. He’ll arrange the marriage. Be patient. Don’t experiment.
7. Set yourself a deadline to choose and settle down in a local church. To spend a few weeks or even a couple months looking for the best church is fine. But insist to yourself that you choose by the end of the first semester and then stay there. And don’t choose a church based on dating potential.
8. Serve your local church. Don’t just be a taker; be a giver too. Ask what service you can offer to your church. And don’t think yourself above the mundane and unseen service roles.
9. Find a mentor. Maybe ask the pastor or one of the elders to meet with you regularly to keep you accountable and to encourage your spiritual growth and development. Work through a book together, perhaps something like Note to Self by Joe Thorn.
10. Keep the Lord’s Day holy. You will be very tempted by all the student activities offered on Sundays. You will also be tempted to study your subjects, write your papers, and prepare for exams on Sunday afternoon and evening. But your body and mind need to rest. Research has shown that students who take a full day off studies each week do better than those who work and study seven days a week. If you keep Sunday free for worship, fellowship, Christian service, reading good books, etc., you are laying a foundation for College and life success. Get organized for Monday on Saturday, trust the Lord to honor your honoring of His day, and begin to look forward to a day each week when you can leave your studies behind with a good conscience. You’ll find it liberating!