You are all about to embark on an amazing adventure. As you can guess, I'm totally jealous (and totally excited for you, too!). My first year of college was the year I grew the most---as a person, as a friend, as a writer. When I finally shed the layer of high school, something new emerged and I felt so alive soaking it all in. I grew into my skin. Or maybe just into the real me.
It's always awkward for me to give advice to others. Mainly, because I still feel like a hot mess navigating my own life every day. While I don't have everything figured out, the ups and downs have taught me a few things. Let's not even call it advice, shall we? Here are my encouraging words as you launch into this new world after high school.
1. Do not lock your keys in your car at the gas station when you make one last stop before meeting your new roommates at your dorm. Even if your stomach hurts from worry and you are sure you will poop your pants, hold on to your keys. It's really important.
2. Be yourself. You are going to meet lots of new people, who all seem weird and crazy and cool. They will think your weird and crazy and cool is the best thing ever. Dust off the facade, if you had one, and start being your authentic self. Immediately. Trust me on this. People are going to love you!
3. Until you find a college church family (and I hope you will seek one out because it's important), focus on the simple truths in the Bible. Love God and love others. Live your life embracing that every single day without judgment or fear.
4. Find a coffee shop with some hipsters and great coffee, then pour out your heart by writing some really bad poetry. Or journaling. Or blogging. Whatever floats your boat. Just get those emotional feelings out in some helpful way. It's a big, new world and change is hard.
5. Call your mom and dad once in awhile. When you need money, of course, but sometimes just to tell them you love them. It really does matter.
6. Do not skip your 8 a.m. class more than twice in a semester even it is a stupid geography class. Apparently, you will need to know if you need a raincoat or a warm winter coat in Italy in April in order to pass the class. Also, feel free to take a few semesters of racquetball. I mean, look how good I turned out!
7. Remember that one or two authentic friends will be more meaningful than a room packed full of acquaintances. Go deep with friendship.
8. If you aren't sure what you want to be when you grow up, you are not alone. Don't stress. Learn all you can and something will spark a fire to show you the right path for you. Or you can major in communications because surely someone will want to give you a job communicating something when you graduate.
9. Do not eat cereal at every single meal. I know it will seem tempting because who can resist a cereal bar. But, please...try hard.
10. Don't be a stranger back home. The people who have loved you along the way are still here to encourage you, pray with you and love you. Come back home for a weekend and let us hug on you for awhile. It will help simmer down the chaos of college life.
Enough encouraging words. You've. Got. This. I hope you enjoy every single minute of this new adventure. I'm counting on you!