It's popping up everywhere on social media: time to dust off the Academic Regalia, wear a pointy hat, walk across a stage, and get a diploma. Graduation season is upon us. Thousands will make the long walk to shake hands and receive the reward of their labor. They could be high school graduates making the first step, college graduates balancing family and work responsibility, people entering their professional world with advanced degrees.
Congratulations class of 2017. Especially to those of you who are leaving the relative safety and security of high school and moving into college. You're entering the stage of life where 4 years will shape the next 40 of your life. So here's my wisdom:
1. Get Connected to a Church - When you arrive on campus you'll find sign ups, rush weeks, season ticket lists, and a number of things competing for your attention, spare time, and your meal card. Make sure the first thing you do is get connected with a church home away from home. Over the summer look up churches in the area, contact a campus ministry and begin getting to know other believers on your campus. This church away from home will be a rock for you during these years, will provide you a sense of community, and if you're lucky will keep you fed!
2. Don't Bomb Money - It could be for some new gadget, or a credit card application (true story my first credit card came from someone offering me a free t-shirt), or a ridiculous student loan. Be wise with the money you have, whether it's your scholarship or your meal plan. The easiest way college students lose money is with credit cards. You're easy prey for these, and the promise of buy-now-pay-later is almost too much. But avoid the debt trap if at all possible.
3. Call Home - A lot of you will probably stay nearby and maybe even live at home. But for those who move away, make sure to call your mom. Keep in touch with your family. Don't fall into the routine of being too busy to touch base. Your parents have worked hard to help get you to college. Don't forget about them once you're there.
4. Have Fun - I'm not advocating taking a weekend bender. But do enjoy late night runs to Waffle House, tailgating on Saturday football games, and enjoy life in the dorm. Some of the best memories you will take with you, where the longest friendships and relationships will be formed, won't happen in a lecture hall. They'll happen at a conference out of town, or on a spring break mission trip, or on your weekly Walmart run.
5. Have God's Eyes - When you sit in class or walk through the dorm, ask God to give you His eyes. These are the eyes that see whether or not those around you have Christ. You haven't been placed on your college campus so you can just get your education. That's secondary. Your primary purpose for being on your campus is so that you can share and show Jesus. Don't take that lightly. You've been sent as a missionary, so find ways to engage and share with your classmates and the people you run into.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.