by Boise Bible College Admissions Office
Adjusting to college life will make or break your first semester as a freshman at Bible college, or any college for that matter. Here are some tips to contemplate as you transition into college life . . . the most transformative years of your life. #notexaggerating
After the grueling years of high school, going to college or university may feel like the final frontier of freedom, but it is just the beginning of a grander experience – even beyond education.
1. Take Care of Yourself
College life spells freedom – do what you want, eat what you want, think what you want.
The newness of personal freedom either excites college freshmen or terrifies them. But you might be surprised to hear that newfound independence from parents, guardians, and siblings requires the greatest amount of adjusting. Freshmen excited by this freedom may squander it through irresponsible choices, and freshmen terrified by this freedom may isolate themselves by trying to be extra responsible.
There is a balance – take care of your new responsibilities but do not let them master you, and enjoy your personal freedom but do not let it be an excuse for dumb choices. The best part of college is learning how to “adult” but doing it in the shelter of an educational environment.
“Take care of your new responsibilities but do not let them master you, and enjoy your personal freedom but do not let it be an excuse for dumb choices.”
PHYSICALLY & MENTALLY
Taking care of yourself also means staying physically and mentally healthy. You might have heard the phrase “freshmen fifteen,” meaning every freshmen gains fifteen pounds the first year of college. Well, it tends it be true. College is probably the most stressful commitment a young person can experience.
Stress wrecks the body and the mind. Stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, digestive issues, and sleep problems. These physical issues can manifest into anxiety, restlessness, lack of focus, irritability, and depression. If not properly dealt with, these mental health problems can become behavioral issues such as overeating, undereating, anger outbursts, substance misuse, sexual sin, social withdrawal, and lethargy.
Mental health disorders are pervasive on college campuses, so how can you keep yourself healthy? The University of Michigan Health Service department suggests ten ways:
- Value yourself
- Eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated, get some regular exercise, and get enough sleep
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
- Volunteer your time to charitable causes
- Reduce stress through playing, journaling, or walking
- Relax through prayer and quieting your mind
- Set realistic goals and achieve them
- Break up your routine occasionally and be adventurous
- Avoid substances or addictive behaviors
- Seek help from trustworthy people.
. . . HOMESICKNESS
Homesickness is another mental health issue that affects every freshman. Separation is natural, but homesickness is actually more common than you might expect. Research shows that . . .
50% of freshmen experience a low-level of homesickness
41% experience a moderate-level of homesickness
9% experience high-levels of distressing homesickness. . .
Whether it is wanting the luxuries of home, missing the time spent with loved ones, or needing the reassurance of parents, every freshmen encounters homesickness sooner or later.
When homesickness strikes, the best actions to take are: talking about it, reaching out to family and friends, indulging in a comfort from home, giving yourself grace, setting dates to visit home, and doing something productive and positive to outlet your feelings rather than bury your feelings. Balancing personal freedom with the responsibility to stay healthy is essential to having a positive transition into college life.
BUDGET & SAVING MONEY
Saving money will help defer the amount of student loans you take out throughout the years, but saving money also allows you to experience adventures later in college.
The last way to take care of yourself is to follow a budget and start saving money. You might have been saving money for college for a while – keep doing it. Saving money will help defer the amount of student loans you take out throughout the years, but saving money also allows you to experience adventures later in college, such as studying abroad or traveling the world. Following a budget to help you save money will cultivate important discipline in you and can protect you from costly debt in the future. You’ll be so grateful that you did.
2. Soak Up Your Education
College is expensive – every assignment you complete and every class you take costs you money. Even if you are not a great student, it behooves you to try your best. Trying your best can give you a more confidence in your ability to succeed. And it doesn’t hurt that professors tend to have more grace on students who try versus students who slack off or quit. Besides effort alone, there are several strategies you can use to adjust well to a rigorous college life academic environment:
THE FIRST – TIME MANAGEMENT
The older you get, the more the world will steal your time. Your time and attention is your most coveted commodity – social media, streaming services, relationships, college, and work are all fighting for your attention.
Some things are not worth your time.
Pay attention to what pointlessly sucks your time away and what is actually worth your attention. It is up to you what you will choose to focus on.
Using a planning tool (calendar, planner, bullet journal, productivity app, wall chart, etc.) can help you keep track of your many homework assignments, papers, projects, tasks, appointments, and chores. Truth is, time management devices or apps are only helpful if you use them and keep them somewhat organized. You have to make the choice to submit to the deadlines you set for yourself. Set your priorities, and throw away what is cluttering your life. And ask for help from more organized people.
THE SECOND – PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS
Paying attention in class is another strategy for academic success. Some colleges may not require you to attend class, but you should attend class – you’re paying for education, so get educated! Most students take notes in class by trying to type every word that the professor says. This is not the best way to take notes. Rather than type word-for-word what you see or hear, first listen to the full point and then handwrite (yes, using a pencil) paraphrase your professor’s words.
By writing the point in your own words and in your own voice, your brain engages the material in a unique way, causing you to learn it rather than copy it. Researchers of psychological science say that taking longhand notes forces students to select and synthesize the important information.
By writing the point in your own words and in your own voice, your brain engages the material in a unique way, causing you to learn it rather than copy it.
THE THIRD – REVIEW YOUR NOTES EVERYDAY
As part of the study process, review your notes every day so that you keep information fresh in your mind. As you review your notes and read your textbooks, make mind-maps to encourage your brain to explore further the concepts from class. Taking your education seriously sometimes requires you to ask for help. Every student has resources. Take advantage of your college’s writing labs, success seminars, counseling centers, and mentorship programs.
3. Make Friends and Get Involved on Campus
Having fun and trustworthy friendships will make college the most memorable years of your life. Likewise, having no friends or negative friendships can make college frustrating or lonely. The first friendship that you should make is with your roommate(s). And even if you do not get along with your roommate(s), you should at least make every effort to love and respect them.
Strong friendships with a college roommate can last a lifetime. You share the intimate ups and downs of college life with roommates. A fun and trustworthy roommate can give you advice and can give you escape from the worries of homework. Plan some hangout nights with your roommate(s) – order takeout and watch movies, go bowling or hiking, stroll downtown and scope out live music venues, sing karaoke, go thrift store shopping, or play games!
Strong friendships with a college roommate can last a lifetime. You share the intimate ups and downs of college life with roommates.
Making friends with your roommate(s) is just the beginning. By joining clubs on campus and participating in student life events, you may make new friends that you would have never made before. The more you get connected with student and campus life, the more you will feel like college is home and the more fun memories you will make. It never hurts to make friends with faculty and staff too; you may find an encouraging mentor in one of them.
4. Cultivate Your Spiritual Life
College is a transformative experience. The more you submit yourself to the process, the more you will be changed – especially if you attend Bible college. As a part of the transformative journey, you may find it helpful to journal your thoughts, feeling, and experiences. Then you can look back of them months or years later and be amazed at how you have grown. An important part of growth in college is learning to accept your mistakes and forgive the mistakes of others.
College is one of the safest places to fail.
Failing in the “real” world might mean losing your job, your home, or your family; failing in college means having to retake a class or pay a penalty. Have grace on yourself when you fail in college – it is not as bad as it seems. Cultivating a rich prayer and devotional life will help you have grace on yourself and others, but it will also guard your heart. College is definitely a place of drama and romance, no matter where you go. Be wise in who you have feelings for and how you talk to people. Protecting your heart through wisdom and discernment will save you from bitter heartbreak later. There is absolutely no need to rush into relationships.
Cultivating a rich prayer and devotional life will help you have grace on yourself and others, but it will also guard your heart.
Focus on achieving your goals first; everything else will follow.