Everything You Need to Know Before College
(Securing key relationships, writing a mission statement, seeing the big picture , yeah, so this is pretty much a chapter about all the stuff you should be doing instead of reading this book)
No period of my life has been one of such unmixed happiness as the four years which have been spent within college walls.
, Horatio Alger
Despite what you have heard, getting ready for college is more than just signing up for classes, packing your belongings, and getting the heck out of Dodge. Well, at least, it should be more than signing, packing, and leaving. Depending on when you actually got this book, you either have a few weeks to get things completed or you have a couple of months. Either way,
I want to add one more thing to your to-do list. know what youíre probably thinking: I am too busy with a part-time job, friends, and college junk to add one more thing to my life. Is that what youíre thinking? Am close? Did ask the question too soon? tend to do that sometimes.
Amid all the hustle of organizing a life away from home, you have got to consider the big picture , in other words, the BIG change thatís coming. Yeah, so since youíre going to college, one of the most important things you need to do is PREPARE. know, know , you hate preparation. But itís so important, like Constitution of the United States important. But donít sweat it; Iím here to help you, remember? With me at your side, all the important stuff will surely get done. Of course, youíll still need a massage therapist when youíre finished, Ďcause itís not like really there helping you pack, load the car, and set up your dorm room. (Ha ha ha ha! Sucker!)
Okay, getting back to the book. More than the supplies, the clothes, the class schedule, and all the other details that surround leaving for college, the big picture matters most. The big picture entails leaving all that you know as familiar , not just the geography but also your lifestyle, friends, community, and support. Itís about you taking that giant step toward becoming an adult. Yes, even if youíre living at home and attending a community college, a lot of that big-picture stuff still applies.
In a nutshell, the big picture is about you taking a stab at trying to see this college event from as many different perspectives as your life necessitates. Look at it from the perspective of your future. See it from the perspective of your friends at school and church. Try your darnedest to see it from your mom and dadís and siblingsí perspectives. And most important, try to take a glance at it from Godís perspective. to step out of your own little world and resist the temptation to make it all about you. For most of us, this is very difficult to do.
Let me tell you a secret. You might not be thinking about the big picture, but those you are leaving behind most definitely are. And more than likely, theyíre probably seeing only their big picture , your college career according to their own perspectives, which is what comes naturally for us as humans. Whether itís your mom and dad, a boyfriend or girlfriend, grandparents, brothers and sisters, or close relatives and friends, every important person in your life is probably anxiously dreading the day you make this life-changing leap. Sure, they are excited for you and desire nothing but the best for you and are probably putting up a really good front right about now. But they are also feeling the weight of what ďyou going to collegeĒ means for them. Itís a transition for them, too, which is why itís important for you to try to view your next step from their perspectives, too.
Now, you might be thinking that all of this ďperspectives stuffĒ sounds stupid or cheesy or overrated. Perhaps you think itís a little bit over the top. And for some of you, this might be right. Everybodyís personal situation is different. Every college student has different hurdles to jump over in leaving the familiar; everyone has different feelings about what going away to college means. Some of you can hardly wait to be free of all that surrounds you. Others of you simply see the move to college as another step in life. And then there are some of you who are hoping it never comes , the thought of leaving Mom and Dad or your significant other or your friends scares you to death.
But no matter what category you fit into, God wants your college experience to be whole, which is why taking a moment to think about the big picture will help you and your loved ones be better prepared for whatís to come. When youíre selfless and reflective, God can open your eyes to see ďthe changeĒ His way.
I promise, if you take the time to embrace the big picture a couple of months before you take the big leap into college, you will be readied, not only with your book bag, laundry detergent, and flip-flops, but more important, you will feel emotionally and spiritually grounded to tackle whatever college life hurls your way.
Embracing the Big Picture
(Because everyone needs to leave home with good relationships intact)
Make Time for Yourself
In preparing for college, the best way to figure out what the big picture means for you is to get some time alone. Find a quiet spot, whether itís your bedroom or out in the forest or in the bathroom, sitting on the can. The place doesnít really matter; just make sure itís quiet and youíre alone. Sorry, but public restrooms will probably not work for this exercise.
Quiet time, whether itís focused or not, is important throughout your life. But during the couple of months before college, quiet time
lends itself nicely to helping you organize your thoughts, feel the weight of your upcoming move, and make wise decisions.
Iím sure youíve heard this before, but it seems fitting to mention it here again. Jesus, during His time on earth, took time for Himself. During these times He prayed, sought advice from His Father, and meditated. Getting time to yourself is a good habit to have for the rest of your life.
Journal/Blog on Life
Most people try to avoid writing whenever possible. Believe me, as a full-time writer,
I understand how just accomplishing my writing assignments is tough enough, let alone writing for leisure or reflection. But journaling or blogging your thoughts, prayers, and dreams a few times a week can really help clear your mind. Again, like a quiet time, this is a good habit to have throughout your life. But before college, journaling or blogging gives you a good opportunity to write down your fears, excitement, and quandaries about moving away, the change, and the new environment you will soon inhabit. You might write about the requests youíve been asking God about. might write a list of things you hope to accomplish your first year of school. You might write about how you believe your mom is handling your big move. No matter how you use it, keeping a journal or blog can help you focus your emotions on what is pure and true. And believe me, if you get homesick or frustrated or depressed while at college, being able to look back and read your thoughts from three or four months ago might help you through the harder times.
No doubt, those couple of months before leaving for college can create a lot of stress in a household.
A lot of the students I have met often talk of a summer filled with arguments between them and their parents or unrest within dating relationships and friends. And a lot of students are feeling anxious about all that is going on around them. Believe me, all of this is quite normal. Youíre not the only one dealing with these kinds of pressures.
When trying to organize life before college, the mind can become cluttered, which leads to stress. More often than not, stress causes us to struggle with thinking healthily. When we think unhealthily, we tend to react harshly to the ones we love the most. But sometimes, when an individual has a hard time thinking with clarity of mind, he or she becomes breakdown-prone. And nobody wants to experience a breakdown. Youíve heard the horror stories about stress and breakdowns. Think Tara Reid. Courtney Love. Robert Downey Jr. seen E! True Hollywood Story; you know about the drama that unhealthy stress can cause. And if you havenít, trust me; emotional breakdowns can be ugly.
Journaling and blogging certainly arenít foolproof. Thereís no guarantee that states, ďJournaling will keep you from getting stressed.Ē But journaling on a regular basis is a good way for the mind to unwind. It also allows some of the thoughts that fill your mind to be released. Even if no one else ever reads what you have written, the release of all that consumes your mind is good. And journaling or blogging are great ways for you to see not only yourself for who you are, but also the experience that youíre about to encounter.
Steps to Journaling
Make Time for the Important People in Your Life
- Find a journal, notebook, or blogging software.
- Get some alone time; being alone is important.
- Write down what your heart and mind are feeling; write down your prayers.
- Remember, there are no set rules to journaling. Sometimes your thoughts might be funny or happy, and sometimes they might be angry or sad. Just write them down.
The people who are most influential in your life , the ones you love and cherish the most , are an important and necessary ingredient to your success while in college. Whether itís parents or grandparents or teachers or friends or youth pastors, their involvement in your university life is important. They are a part of the community that will help you remain grounded while at school. Scheduling time with them before you go will not only help you bring closure to those ďimmature daysĒ of high school (oh, so long ago), but it will also give you the opportunity to tell those people about the influence they have had on your life. It also gives you an opportunity to stress your desire that theyíll continue to be a reference in your life.
When you make time for the important people in your life, youíre giving them a chance to bestow upon you their best advice. The wisdom of those you respect is important for the experience youíre about to encounter.
For many of you, your parents are the people who have influenced you the most. Sure, your parents will be with you throughout your entire college experience (they may be helping you pay the bills, which certainly gives them a vested interest), but when
I mention making time with them, Iím talking quality and not quantity. Schedule an afternoon with your father. Take your mom out on a date , just the two of you. Talk with them about their college experiences. about how life is going to change. Let them cry a little about their ďbabyĒ being all grown up. Believe me, if you marry and have kids, youíll someday understand what theyíre feeling. This is huge for them. know it feels cheesy and maybe a little awkward, but if you have a good relationship with your parents, this will be huge for you, too.
Let them give you their best and worst advice. If your parents share your faith, you might spend some time praying with them. Or you might simply drink iced soy lattes and talk about the weather, entertainment, or politics. In making time with your parents, youíre giving them the chance to ďlet go,Ē but more important, youíre letting them know that you still need them. And no matter how much you might believe otherwise, you do need them. Whether you have the best parents in the world or ones who have long struggled to really be involved in your life, this simple act will let them know that you care.
If you have brothers or sisters who have gone away to college, then you know what it feels like when the house is suddenly void one person. For everyone itís a little different , some think of it as little more than a bad hair day, while for those who are a little more dramatic, it feels like a death.
Iím sure for some of you it was a joyous occasion when your older brother or sister finally left for school. You know who you are. Your desire to have your own bedroom overwhelmed the emotion inside to the point that you didnít feel anything at all. You were thinking only,
Itís about time I got my own room! Well, if no one told you then, Iíll tell you now: You were a selfish little brat!
Wow. That felt good. Just so you know, your siblings made me write that.
However, for most brothers and sisters, itís hard when one of the family members leaves the home. In fact, most of the time, itís pretty emotional for the sibling or siblings left behind with Mom and Dad. It certainly was for me when my two older sisters left for college. Iwas ten years old when my second-oldest sister left for college, and cried for a couple of days after she left. Before she left, she took my little sister and me out for ice cream; that meant the world to us. It showed us that she cared about us.
So just like spending time with Mom and Dad is healthy for them and you, the same is true for your siblings. Even if you argue with your brother or sister like a dating pair fights on The O.C., drop the feud long enough to spend an hour or two of quality time with them. Those couple of hours will go a long way toward possibly building a healthy relationship with the little guy or girl in the future. And remember, theyíre so much more immature than you are. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)
Usually, most future college students have other people in their lives , friends, grandparents, teachers, mentors, pastors, or counselors , who deserve time, too. This is especially true for those who donít have one or both parents still with them. Good people often come into our lives and fill voids left by tragedy, hard circumstances, or poor choices. These people are a part of the human network that helped you succeed during certain parts of your journey. They challenged you and directed you. pushed you or lifted you up during the hard times.
Youíre probably thinking of two or three (maybe more) people right now who may or may not be related to you but whose godly wisdom, strong arms, and willingness to give of their time have had huge effects on your life. Itís those kinds of people you want to keep with you when you enter this new journey of college. Itís those people who will become your allies; they will sharpen you throughout your life at college and perhaps beyond.
So often, when weíre really in trouble or when weíve found ourselves in a situation that we never would have thought was possible, itís the youth pastors, counselors, and friends in our lives who first help us to pick up the pieces. Itís not that our parents or siblings or grandparents donít care; itís just that sometimes itís not as easy to be open and honest with them. You might think that just because youíre too old for the church youth group or have graduated from high school that those influential people have to be left in the past. But most often, this isnít the case.
A significant part of seeing the big picture is realizing that this college experience will require you to not leave the past behind, but to take the strong parts of your past with you.
The best advice I ever received was to surround myself with people smarter than myself. Realizing that this truth includes people at home as well as the new people you will meet is an important part of that advice.
Just remember that the people who have invested in you during your childhood and teenage years will probably be open to continuing their investment through your college experience. Engaging a deeper relationship with them almost always proves beneficial in the end.
Write a Mission Statement
(Because letís face it: You need a plan)
Okay, so this might sound a little crazy or too ďadultĒ for you. Youíre probably thinking, Most people donít think about their mission statement until theyíre out of college. Sadly, you would be correct in that assumption. And truthfully, for many people, a personal mission statement never gets written. But believe (as do many people smarter than me) that success greatly depends on an individual knowing where he or she wants to go in life. This doesnít mean you have to know what youíre going to major in or where you want to work and live or how many kids you desire to have. But taking the time to write down a few sentences that detail what youíre passionate about, what truly moves you, and what your deepest dreams entail often helps those other ďbiggerĒ decisions fall into place. Or, at least, it gives you a little direction. And it makes you seem a lot smarter than you probably are.
Itís been proven over and over again that a large majority of the worldís most successful people, whether they work in business, ministry, or service fields, have mission statements. usually, the statement is not lengthy or dramatic; itís just three or four points that reveal the personís purpose and reason for being.
The mission statement you write today will probably change a little throughout college and could change drastically after college. College grows you in nearly every area of your life. Sometimes the growth experienced in college is good, but sometimes it just gets us off track from living out the plan God desires for our lives. Thatís why itís important to walk into the college life with a small (or big) idea of what you desire to get out of it. So in preparation for this big event in your life, jot down a few thoughts about what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Practical Advice on Writing a Mission Statement
(Because unless youíre Stephen Coveyís son or daughter, you donít know what youíre doing , and thatís cool)
Before you start writing a personal mission statement, you need to do a little homework. Yeah, know; itís summer vacation and the thought of homework makes you almost as sick as hearing an Ashlee Simpson song on the radio, but work through it. Youíll be fine.
A Sample Mission Statement
- Write down your successes. These successes might come from home, school, sports, or a hobby. It doesnít really matter where you have found success; just write it down. Your successes help you realize what youíre good at.
- Write four of your strongest beliefs. These beliefs might be about your faith in God. They might be about family or friendships. might be something your dad taught you. Just write down four statements about life that you believe to be true and that you consequently try to live out in your life.
- Write down your goals. Dream as big as you want to. If you desire to be the next Ashton Kutcher , what is his talent again? , then write that down. you want to run an orphanage in Romania, write that down, too. Whether itís about sports, peace, politics, marketing, fashion, entertainment, or faith, write down your goals. Gosh, do
I have to over-explain everything?
- Write your personal mission statement. Now that you have a better understanding of whatís important to you (based on the answers to those first three questions), write down three to four sentences that would define your personal mission in life. And remember, this will change. So donít try and make it perfect. But be honest. Upon completing your statement, share what you wrote with a couple of friends or your mom and dad; they can help you decide whether or not you have been truthful about yourself. And in some cases, they might encourage you to be more adventurous in your goals.
To find joy, fulfillment, and value in life, I will seek out opportunities at college to empower my heart, mind, and body. My core beliefs are centered on the Beatitudes of Jesus. I believe His teachings provide a framework for identifying, pursuing, and achieving the pleasures that last the longest and that are the most satisfying to humanity. For me, the greatest passion of all is being fully alive in
Christ, receiving mercy and respect from family, friends, and other students.
Katy Blase, freshman
Talk to God
(Because Iím not totally sure, but I think itís impossible to talk to God too much)
The concept of telling a Christian like yourself that you should talk to God about college seems rather elementary,
I know. Itís kind of like telling Madonna to make good music. Hmm, Iím not sure that analogy works. (stare blankly at my computer screen for five minutes trying to think of a better comparison.) How about this? like telling a five-month-old puppy the 937th time to pee on the newspaper and not the rug. By the 937th time, youíre convinced the puppy should know better. In fact, he does know better , heís peed in the right spot a number of times since you brought him home. But once in a while, he seemingly forgets and runs behind the couch and does his business there. other words, until the puppy perfects the art of peeing on the newspaper, you have to keep telling him.
People are the same. The only difference is we never seem to perfect the art of including God in every aspect of our lives. And when we think we have, weíve got a whole new set of problems to tend to. But thatís a different book.
When went to college, it was often easy for me to leave God out of lifeís equation. No matter how defined you believe your faith to be, expect growth and
screw ups while at college. In fact, sometimes growth and mistakes happen at the same time. No matter if youíre attending a Christian college or a mainstream university, youíll more than likely be surrounded by new ideas, thoughts, people, and pleasures that will make you ask questions, experience fear, and eventually dive deeper into faith. Itís easier than you might think to become so consumed with the new things of college life that you leave out personal time with the One who created you.
throughout college, youíll go through moments when you feel close to God, but on the other hand college also brings about opportunities that will challenge your faith, provoke your beliefs, and leave you feeling far away from where you believe you should be. So in preparation
for college, itís important to spend time talking to God. In fact, you canít talk to Him enough. And do yourself a favor; resist the temptation to simply talk to God in an effort to keep in the loop on your life. Instead, keep coming to and letting keep you in the loop.
Consequently, you might not pee behind the couch quite as often.
Three Verses from Ephesians 6
Eery College Student Should Know
So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that weíll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. Youíre up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when itís all over but the shouting youíll still be on your feet. (verses 11-13)
Have a Party
(Basically, because parties are fun)
After youíve finished packing, run to the mall for the hundredth time, and had your one-on-one times with all of those good people in your life,
I think itís only fair to have a little fun before you hit the college grind. So text-message all of your friends and leave an away message up on IM with this info: ďGoing-away party at my house. Itís going to be hot!Ē Of course, you might want to give them the date, time, and directions. And you should probably get your folksí permission on this one before you do it. And then, with everyone you love the most surrounding you, party like itís 1999 , oh, wait, thatís what
I did. Party like itís 2020.
Okay, Now for the Practical Getting-Ready Junk
(The part of the college preparation chapter you might already know, but go ahead and read it anyway , if nothing else, it might be a little entertaining)
you probably need to do before you leave for college
[ ] 1.†Go visit your college. Itís rare that one attends a college without ever having visited it. What if the school simply had a good photographer? if the campus smells? if the janitors donít do good work? Attending a college youíve never visited is kind of like being in love with a woman youíve seen only in the movies. Itís like once felt about Halle Berry. In some instances, for those of you who are moving as far away from your hometown as you can get, visiting your college may be impossible. But if itís an option, itís always a good one.
2.†Register for classes. Some colleges offer early registration times during the summer. highly recommend you take advantage of this if itís available at your school. Also, most colleges offer online registration. Either way, register for classes as early in the summer as possible. Trust me; you want to beat the rush. Icky feelings prevail in long registration lines. Plus, if you beat the rush, you choose the schedule you want. If, on the other hand, you wait until the last minute, guarantee youíll be stuck with the dreaded 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. classes.
3.†Double-check the status of your scholarships, grants, and loans. Quadruple-check the status, as it will make you feel better. Loan officers are about as accurate as the local weatherman. Sure, you believed the guy when he told you last month that everything was prepped and ready to go, but whoís it going to hurt if you call again? And when you do, tell Henry at the loan office to e-mail you all the necessary information right away. If all ends up kaput when youíre standing in the financial aid line, having all of the documents with you in writing will make you feel better and will make the uninterested loan office employees feel more obliged to help you. In fact, it pretty much makes you the man. Unless youíre a woman. Then it makes you a mean-spirited soul in need of salvation. Iím not sure why it works that way, but it does.
4.†Purchase your plane ticket. If your parents think youíre going too darn far away from home for college, then youíre probably planning on flying to college. Well, begin looking for the best airline prices in June. Check out Expedia.com (theyíre the ones who sing ďDot ComĒ with a little country flair) or Travelocity.com (they donít have any catchy tune to help you remember) for competitive rates. But also check out Southwest.com (basically, an uncomfortable city bus with wings) because Southwestís rates do not show up on Expedia and Travelocity. Also, sign up for an airline awards plan and then try to fly that airline every time you come home. You might as well try to earn a free spring break flight.
5.†Ask your college about dorm room size and storage space. Ha ha ha ha†.†. donít know why this one makes me laugh. Perhaps itís because most dorm rooms are just a little bit bigger than a Nerds candy container. Again, if youíre not able to visit your college and see the dorm rooms for yourself, you will definitely want to find out from the housing department the size of your room and how much closet space will be available to you. Ha ha ha ha ha†.†. sorry, canít stop laughing. And whatever you do, donít expect to like the answer. In fact, before you even pick up the phone to call, go ahead and feel frustrated and deflated. Here are some ideas of how you can fit all your stuff in:
[ ] 6.†While youíre at it, ask what your dorm comes with, too. Some colleges provide Frodo-sized refrigerators and other pointless small appliances. Find out if your school is one of them.
- Buy two large under-the-bed storage containers; youíll be able to fit all kinds of things in them , magazines, books, ex-love letters, a can opener, and two plush snowmen. Of course, other things, too.
- Get a hanging door organizer for shoes, hair supplies, and Skittles , lots of Skittles. Taste the rainbow.
- Leave the fifteen crates at home; what they have in storage capacity they lack big-time in flexibility.
- Bring seven pairs of large white socks , the largest socks you can find. Then, play a game with yourself and see if you can figure out why on earth
I would suggest bringing along seven pairs of large socks.
- Buy an iPod; leave the CD collection HOME!
7.†Find out if the mattress in your room is long or extra long. Yep, who knew that twin mattresses came in two different sizes? Can anyone tell me why? Oh, by the way, youíll need this information before you purchase bedding and sheets.
8.†Buy good luggage. Hopefully, someone you know who has a lot of money thought about purchasing you a good set of luggage as a graduation gift. But if not, you will want to take out a second mortgage on your parentsí home and buy some luggage. And if thereís not a huge price difference, always go with the better brand. Sturdy luggage will last you a long time. You might check sites like eBay, too.
9.†Get your immunizations. Check with your college on what shots are required because in rare cases, some statesí and collegesí expectations differ from each other. Big surprise there, huh? Also, if youíre going international, get your immunizations in early June. Depending on where you are going and what types of shots you need, some immunizations require a second visit.
10.†Learn your college townís climate if you donít already know it. Usually the college will offer this information, but if not, you can check a townís average temperatures, rain, and snowfall and normal heat index at Weather.com. Youíll want this information before you go shopping.
11.†Check to see if your school has a dress code. Some Christian schools (and a couple Ivy League schools) require students to dress in a certain manner during classes. In fact, some Christian schools require you to dress a certain way any time youíre around ďmixedĒ company. Be sure you know what to expect. Those of you going to state colleges or universities need not pay any attention to this item on the list. (Good for you! You now only have twenty-five things to do.)
12. Visit your doctor, dentist, and eye doctor. Itís good to get all of this medical stuff out of the way all at once while youíre still at home. You donít want some strange doctor grabbing the intimate areas of your anatomy and asking you to cough. So get it done when youíre still at home.
13.†Letís talk meds. If you are taking any daily medications, make sure you ask your doctor to give you a prescription that will last you at least one full semester. Also, if you have any special medical needs, make sure the college is aware of your situation at least two months before you show up.
14.†More info about prescription medications. If youíre on medication for depression, ADHD, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other type of psychological or mental health condition, be sure to have a copy of your written prescription in a safe place in your dorm room at all times. And keep the meds in their original bottles. This precaution is just in case your roommate gets busted on possessions charges. (If you donít have your prescription, these kinds of meds could actually be confiscated. But thatís likely to happen only if your roommate has pot in your room. Your original container proves that the meds are legit.)
15.†Check your school about its rule regarding birth control. At some Christian colleges, taking birth control is against the school policy. So for the ladies who are on a form of birth control to maintain a regular period or for any other physical reason (other than for protection against pregnancy), you will want to check with your particular school to set up the necessary arrangements in order for you to keep on your regimen. Although this is a rare situation,
I promise Iím not making this up.
[ ] 16.†Talk to your employer about your last day of work. pretty sure your employer is probably aware that youíre not planning on making a career out of being a restaurant server, merchandise salesman, or carpenter assistant. So go ahead and break the ďleavingĒ news to him as soon as you know, and give a specific end date. Also, offer to do any extra work he may desire of you before you go. This will leave him with a good impression of you, and that means thereís a better chance that heíll let you come back to work over school breaks and the summer holiday. But if you hate the job, by all means, avoid ever going back.
17.†Let the postal service know about your change in address. Do this at least ten days before leaving so you divas wonít miss out on
ELLE girl, you jocks wonít miss out on ESPN, and you geeks wonít miss out on Wired. Of course, that change in address will also ensure that your cell phone bill, credit card statement, and all the junk mail you will ever want will get forwarded, too. Also, for all the mail that really matters, make sure you contact each vendor individually to make a permanent change to your address.
18.†Get your carís oil changed. If youíre lucky enough to have your own transportation, remind your dad that youíd like it serviced before you go away to school. Just tell him you donít do Midas.
19. Get the book list for your classes early (if available). See your schoolís website or check with your campus bookstore to find out the names of the books you will need for your first semester. Get this list as early as possible and buy as many of them as you can online at Amazon, eBay, Overstock, or Half.com. This will save you tons of money because your campus bookstore will unabashedly rip you off.
20.†Call your future roommate(s). Connecting with your roommate before you shack up with him or her inside that Nerds container for a year is a really good idea. On top of saying hello, find out what stuff , TV, dorm furniture, DVD player, video game equipment, and other larger dorm necessities , your roommate will be bringing with him or her. Try to get to know him or her a little bit and discover what you have in common , and what you donít , so you can be prepared.
21.†Get a list of your collegeís non approved dorm items. Some colleges allow microwave ovens in dorms; some do not. colleges allow candles, tea lights, and heated potpourri; some donít. Appliances that have hot surfaces or heating elements inside, like toasters, hot plates, and coffeemakers, usually come into question, too. Before you buy any questionable appliance or load anything into your car, know what your college will and wonít allow.
22.†Get an insurance card. More than likely youíll be on your parentsí health insurance policy. Be sure your parents get your own personal card printed in case of emergencies. And if they refuse, threaten to make out with the first person you know who has mono.
23.†Set up a bank account. A lot of students set up their bank accounts the week classes begin. But if you know what banks are available around your college, why not get this little inconvenience out of the way during the summer? Itís not like youíre going to have that much money in there anyway. But having a bank account will at least ensure that you will be able to get those twenty-dollar checks from Grandma cashed. You gotta love Grandma!
24.†Planning on going Greek? Early application process is available at some schools. Certain sororities and fraternities offer students the chance to apply early. Check with your schoolís Greek program for more information.
25.†Find a church. RelevantMagazine.com, as well as other websites, allow you to look up churches in many areas across the United States. If you arenít familiar with your collegeís town, it might be to your advantage to find out information about churches that are near your school. Check out the churchís website, and try to find out about possible Bible studies, ministry opportunities, and whether the church offers transportation to and from campus.
26.†Find out about local public transportation. If youíre not able to take a car to school, and if you hate the idea of riding a bicycle around campus, and if the concept of walking sixty-two miles across grounds for a 7 a.m. class makes you weary, call your collegeís student services center to get all the information and costs associated with the public transportation available on or around your campus. Also, ask your university if they provide bus passes to students. Usually only state schools make this kind of offer available, but why not ask? Whoís it going to hurt? Only if the person you ask is violently against those who ask about free bus passes would
I even think about worrying. So youíre golden.
Okay, so the car is packed, youíre partied out, and you feel prepped emotionally for the big leap into college life. And even if youíre not completely packed, partied, and prepped, youíll be okay. You might not have gotten this book in time to do everything right. So no matter if youíre feeling chaotic, numb, constipated, or content as you prepare to leave for college, just remember that youíre not alone in this feeling. Not only are thousands of college students all over the world feeling similar emotions as you, but also know that God is walking with you through this change.
And if it means anything,
I think youíre going to be very successful. And I donít even know you. mean, if I think that, what must your parents think?
The Concluding List
Write these five things from this chapter on a piece of paper and then eat it.
- Journal! Youíre either going to hate me for bringing this up again or proclaim your allegiance to journaling. Whichever you decide, journal about it.
- Write a mission statement. This will give you a good sense of direction as you prepare to begin college.
- Visit your campus. Or at least make sure youíve seen some very good pictures.
- Spend good money on a good backpack. If youíre a girl, your boyfriend will thank me when heís dragging your ďburdenĒ to class. If youíre a boy, you will thank me because at least one of the book bags youíre carrying is a good one.
- Talk to God. Live the kind of life that never lets the conversation stop.