"The college years are heralded as a time to pursue academic excellence. 'This is what will determine your future!' your parents or relatives might say. And they’re right, but not in the way you’d expect," says junior Blake Toman.
Academics do not solely encompass the whole college experience. Preparing for college involves much more than a good transcript.
“It’s easy to forget that college is not just a place where you go to take an assortment of classes to get a degree," Blake Continued, "The approximately four years you spend at college will shape your life, but in so many more facets that simply academic development. The college will influence the way you see relationships, community, conflict, and, ultimately, God.”
Here is some advice from college students to high school students as they prepare to take the next step in their academic, social, and spiritual growth...
1. Make time for what really matters.
Some PHC students have a propensity to take school a bit too seriously, and they ended up missing out on investing in relationships and memories that will last a lifetime.
“Be prepared to pull one or two all-nighters because a wing-mate came to you with a problem and wanted your input,” Toman said. “Be prepared to spend a few fewer hours studying because you took a once-in-a-lifetime day trip to New York City with your friends.”
Consider these questions: If my life ended tomorrow, what would matter most? Would it be my GPA? Or would it be how I loved God and others? The latter is what we should always prioritize wherever we are in life, even at college.
2. Get used to stepping outside your comfort zone.
Sophomore Ellen Reynolds weighed in saying, “I used to hate walking into the dining hall by myself because I was worried that none of my friends would be there to sit with...and now I realize those times are great opportunities to sit down and get to know someone you don’t often talk to!"
College is all about broadening your horizons and interests, and that does not happen without stepping outside your bounds of comfort. Sometimes the best things happen when we take a risk or step out in faith.
3. Focus more on others rather than yourself.
At college, it is easy to think almost exclusively about yourself. After all, you’re going in order to get a good education, find a good career path, develop friendships, and grow as a person—but that mindset is not exactly how we are called to live as Christians. Reynolds said that she would tell her high school self to “take the focus off of myself and the impression I wanted to make, and just to focus on loving people fully at the moment you’re given.”
In the first semester of freshman year, I had my hair curled every day and gave myself a French manicure every week. College quickly made me realize there are a lot more meaningful ways to spend your time than trying to project a perfect image because ultimately, it’s not about making ourselves look good. It’s about learning how to love Christ more deeply and taking captive every opportunity to show his love to the people around you.
4. Be grateful during the good and hard times.
Each semester seems to go faster than the last, so take advantage of each opportunity you have to love on the people around you. Seek the Lord in both the tough times and the sunny days. My takeaway from the good times has been that the Lord really does delight to give good gifts to his children—relish those moments. And my lesson from the challenging times has been to never let those gifts and good times usurp Christ as the foundation on which I place my trust and security. So as they draw you closer to depend on Christ, cherish the rough days too.
Did you know we've got a wealth of resources curated specifically for high school students? Check it out here...