A common site in college towns is a tip jar. You’ll see them near cash registers in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and many places that has college students working. Over time I’ve asked college students I know to share their wisdom (i.e., tips) with fellow students at various times. It might happen as seniors spoke at Chi Alpha their last semester and included a practical idea in their mini-sermon of how to not just survive, but actually thrive in college.
Here are a bunch of tips that came up again and again (and they are listed in no particular order):
Most students will feel homesick at times, and not just during their first semester or two away from home. Remember that the Lord is with you. But also call home regularly (once a week?) because your parents like to hear your voice and know you are still alive.
Make sure you allow plenty of time for your academic work. You (and/or your parents) are paying a lot of money for this educational opportunity, so steward your time appropriately. Do not make the mistake of misaligning your priorities and doing homework after your recreational efforts. It’s not a matter of just scheduling your priorities, but prioritizing your schedule.
Watch how you spend your money. Draw up a budget for the month and if need be, put cash in different envelopes for how you plan to tithe, spend, and save your money. Have a safe to lock up your valuables and your envelopes of cash. Avoid the temptation to put a late night pizza on your credit card when you know you won’t have the money to pay for it at the end of the month.
Remember what your parents taught you and hopefully modeled. Proverbs 6:20 says to “keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Try not to end up on the front page of the school or town newspaper unless you are receiving an award or being highlighted for your character. Carry your family name with dignity. Proverbs 27:11 says to, “Be wise, my son (or daughter) and bring joy to your parent’s hearts” (slight Olejarz paraphrase).
Stay away from and steer clear of sexual immorality. It can be a quick trip down a road of regret with short and long term consequences that are painful and life threatening.
If the people you hang around with try to entice you to give up your values, dump them quickly and find new friends. There are plenty of people who are making good choices and want the same for you. Proverbs 1:10 says, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.”
Stay close to God and His people. Set a daily time in the morning and evening to read Scripture and pray. What you feed grows. Join a Christian group like Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. Be with others who love to know God and serve others. Learn how to express your faith to others. Know what you believe and why. Pray for divine appointments to share the gospel with others.
Make your bed each morning. Cultivate a good attitude and work ethic. Use your manners. Listen to your mom (or dad) about doing your laundry. Your jeans and T-shirts do not magically appear in your dresser drawer or closet washed, dried, folded or hung on a hanger.
Walk wisely. Last tip: read and practice a chapter of the book of Proverbs every day for the rest of your lives. Do not worry about pleasing people. Please God. He is the only One that matters.
Love is a verb,
©2016 by Mike Olejarz