Tuesday, June 19, 2012

33 Things Every Christian College Freshman Should Know

This is my 4th year working in college ministry. Therefore, I know everything. Just kidding. Therefore, this is the first time I have walked all the way through college with a class of girls.  

Every week for the last 4 years, we have sat on UT campus, or in my living room, studying scripture and sharing life together.

I have washed 39,485 water cups. We have eaten our weight in Nutella and hummus.

Average number of cups used after Small Group. Notice our fine china. 

We have cried a lot. Truthfully, tears is the 17th member of our small group. And tears usually comes in waterfall formation – one girl starts to cry and then we all cry. Most of the time after we cry we get really silly. Like stupid silly. Like ‘I hope no one is recording us right now’ silly.  Then I usually say something inappropriate and they love it.

These women have blessed me more than I have blessed them.

Watching them graduate in May was much harder than I expected. I was a wreck. Crying at all the “lasts”. The last small group was brutal. But, I have to believe what I told them: “This is just the end of the beginning of knowing each other forever.”

A few small groups before the brutal emotional last small group, I asked them what advice they would give to an incoming college freshmen. In other words, if they could rewind the clock and talk to their terrified freshman self, what would they say? Words and thoughts immediately swirled around the room, and I could barely keep my pen writing fast enough.

Reading over their list, I see the footprints of wise women who have had many victories and failures these last 4 years. Women that will make incredible wives and mothers. Women I am proud to call my friends.

Some things they learned in our small group, but most just from living and walking with the Lord.

The funny thing is that almost all their advice applies to my life, my mother’s life, and every woman’s life. I love that about God. He is teaching us the same truths over and over and driving them deeper into our stubborn souls.

So here it is…I picked a nice round number…

33 Things Every Christian College Freshman Should Know:

1.     Study 1.5 hours per day, but no more than 3 hours.  
2.     Exercise and take care of yourself.
3.     Everything in moderation (sleep, food, TV).
4.     Live with a few people and DO NOT isolate yourself.
5.     Time is never wasted in community with other people.
6.     You’re never going to know everyone, so don’t try.
7.     Understand friendships take time to build.
8.     You’re never alone in your feelings.
9.     Don’t take yourself too seriously.
10. Busyness isn’t good or impressive.
11. Designate time to be in the word.
12. Go to church every Sunday.
13. Make time to pray – like in the car or walking to class.
14. You’re already a success in God’s eyes, you are allowed to fail and you will at some things.
15. Stop comparing.
16. Don’t feel like you have to do it all.
17. Practice being thankful.
Elena's Page of Thankfulness from Small Group
18. Everything you are sure of will probably change, so hold them loosely (friends, major, ect).
19. Don’t go home too much.
20. People do care, so let them in. Allow yourself to receive love from people.
21. Don’t have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Enjoy what God is doing where you are in the present moment.
22. Pray protection over your friendships. Confront and give grace. Have no expectations, but also great hope for spiritual friendships.  
23. There will be seasons. Believe in the hard seasons that God is good. Your circumstances will change and you will be ok.
24. Don’t assume people view you the way you view yourself, especially in the times you feel least like yourself.
25. Don’t worry how you will handle things in the future. God will give you the strength at that time.
26. Challenge people and open yourself up to be challenged.
27. Be quick to apologize without excuses.
28. Rest more – not just sleep, but rest spiritually by getting alone with God.
Chillin at the lake at the busiest time of the semester. Boom.
29. Think how to bless your family, not just how they can bless you.
30. When you try to please people, you’re not pleasing God. Remember, people were angry with Jesus all the time.
31. Tap into each other’s gifts and speak those gifts into people.
32. Speak lies you are believing aloud, and it will diminish their power in your life.
33. Don’t peg other people. Be open to friendships with people that are different than you.

Me & Casey. An unlikely friendship. JK Casey! ;)
That’s it. You don’t need to know anything else in college! You don’t even need a degree! Don’t tell your parents I said that.


  1. this is awesome. i love that you helped these girls build community in college. im sure they are so blessed to have you in their life!!

  2. Wise words, Ash (and graduates!).

  3. ASH! I love you so much! I love that I can hear your voice when you are writing... "Therefore I know everything." hahaha. This list is amazing, and you are right, I could have used it as a college freshman, but I can def still use it now. Love it and you!

  4. wow, this helped me so much. I found your blog on Pinterest. I am a college freshman right now and my year has been anything but great....sometimes I just want to give up. this is such good advice.

    1. Hey there! I'm glad you were encouraged by this! Freshman year can be really tough, but you are not alone. And don't give up - keep going! It will get better if you continue to trust the Lord and step out in faith - especially with new friendships. I will pray for you!