40 Tips for the Next 4 Years
A collection of helpful hints from girls in their upper-twenties to their eighteen year old selves.
1. As ready as you are to leave, nothing can replace the friends who know you now. Your world (and Instagram followers and Facebook friends) is about to explode, but there is nothing like the people who knew you in middle school. Don’t lose touch. There is something about the friends who know your mom.
2. You won’t get the perfect schedule your freshman year. It’s okay. You’ll survive the 8 o’clock classes and may even learn a few things.
3. Naps are your friend. You’re not above it. Take them when you need them.
4. You are allowed to feel lonely your freshman year. Especially the first semester. Community and transition take time.
5. You are about to meet the most interesting people. Some will turn into people who will become your best friends. Some you may never see again after the next class/semester. They all have something valuable to teach you.
6. Give yourself 90 days to find a church. You could spend all four years church hopping; find one and get involved.
7. If you go through Sorority Recruitment remember, the letters you receive during rush don’t define you. You’ll meet great people in your sorority and great people who aren’t. Don’t be crushed if your letters end up being different than you thought they’d be. God is not surprised by the outcome of Bid Day.
8. Break up with the high school boyfriend. I have to be careful with this one because my best friend married her high school sweetheart. But you know the ones I am talking about. The ones who are not your future spouse, and you know it. Don’t drag yourself into this complicated back and forth drama.
9. Chances are you won’t meet Prince Charming the first day of class. Don’t fall for the first guy you see.
10. You have to love yourself before you can love other people. Show yourself the same amount of grace you show others.
11. Find people who think like you: they’ll be your rock when you’re in middle of the craziness.
12. Find people who think nothing like you: they will challenge you, what you believe, and force you to figure out exactly what you think.
13. Surround yourself with people who ask you the hard questions. And don’t be offended when they do, there’s a reason why it stung.
14. Buy T H I S and actually write in it. You won’t regret it.
15. Pick a major where you will be able to get a job. Was that so very “Mom” of me? Let me rephrase: Have a dream, a destination, an end goal and then work towards a degree that will get you there. Nothing is worse than graduating and realizing you have a degree and no dream and that will take you nowhere fast.
16. Call your parents, every week. Call your parents. Also tell them thank you every once in a while, for anything. They remember all the ways they messed up, it’s nice when they hear they’ve done something right.
17. A loan is just that, a loan. Keep in mind every dollar you borrow, you’ll have to pay it back eventually.
18. Don’t be stupid.
19. Know what you believe, know your standards and don’t waver. When someone asks you why you believe what you believe, know how to defend it.
20. Don’t be judge-y. It’s like horizontal stripes; it’s not flattering on anyone.
21. Figure out how you process and make time to do it. The more you work to figure this out now, the better you will be in the long run.
22. Don’t let anyone tell you they don’t believe in anything; everyone believes in something.
23. Hurt people, hurt people. Remember this when you meet fragile souls. Show them grace, one day you’ll need someone to do the same to you.
24. Nothing ruins a witness like hypocrisy.
25. You are going to make mistakes; most of them won’t be fatal. Some can be though. One mistake can change the rest of your life. Just trust me on this one because learning the hard way isn’t easy.
26. Don’t wait until you’re ready to do the big scary things. When you decide you really want something, jump right in. Eventually all the messy stuff will work itself out.
27. Be bold enough to ask the Lord to use you as He’s planned. It won’t be your ways, but it will be worth it.
28. You’re only a freshman once, soak it up. Do the cliché freshman things.
29. Your prayers are a reflection of how much you trust the Lord. Start praying big, bold prayers now. The Lord is listening and molding your dreams, even when you don’t see it or feel it.
30. Be a lamp, a lifeboat, and a ladder to everyone.
31. There are people you will meet who refuse to be helped. Letting go is a huge part of growing up.
32. Be adventurous. Only boring people get bored.
33. Take ownership of your decisions. You never want to look back and realize that you’ve let other people live your life for you.
34. Embrace change. You won’t leave the same person that started and that’s a good thing.
35. Don't waste time, energy and feelings on opinions from those who have no stake in your journey. Figure out the people you can trust and talk with them about the hard decisions.
36. Watch THIS during finals. Or when you’re having a bad day. Or when you’re having a good day. Just save it for a rainy day.
37. The chair analogy you learned in VBS is a real thing, y’all. Unhealthy people will pull you down much fast than you can bring them up. Be careful who you join hands with as you walk through college.
38. Being open and vulnerable is one of the hardest and most rewarding things you can do. Give people a chance to love you, all of you, even the parts that you try really hard to hide.
39. Lauren Conrad said it best “You don’t get that many people in your life you can tell just anything to” Don’t end friendships over spoiled milk. People aren’t perfect, friends included. Figure out if it’s something you can forgive and move on.
40. This season will be one of the most freeing times in your life. But don’t live the next four years thinking this is as good as it gets. College can be wonderful but it doesn't have to be the best time of your life. Each chapter brings something new and exciting. Enjoy the seasons, enjoy the ride.