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When you start college, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Some of the thoughts that crossed my mind and I am sure might cross you in moments of sheer utter panic when you first start this new phase of life where: What am I even doing here? Am I smart enough for these classes? Is there something I am missing? How am I going to afford this? What is sleep and how do I get it? Why does everyone need to know what my life plan is??
College. A new and exciting experience.
Take a deep breath. You aren’t alone. You in fact are never alone. I am by no means an expert at how to college, but I just got through my first semester and understand how overwhelming college life can be. I would like to share some advice and hope with you in five things that really helped me.
- No one has it all figured out.
I know it might seem like the girl across the hall has the perfect life plan down to a T, or the boy that sits in front of you in your political science knows every single opposing viewpoint, but don’t let that discourage you. Everyone feels lost at first to some capacity. You are at a new stage in your life, and most likely half the people you meet will switch majors and change their plans just as often as you will. Life is unpredictable. There will be ups and downs but remember that God didn’t make the earth in one day. Your education is going to take time and God’s plan for your life will take you amazing places. It is an adventure, don’t let those big hills scare you from climbing your mountain.
- Make a roadmap.
While you don’t need to have everything figured out, you need to start making a roadmap to take care of yourself. What are your hobbies? Play sports or run? Schedule time to do it even on your busiest weeks. Make a schedule and try to leave space for those unexpected life moments. More importantly make time to meet new people and time for prayer.
- Find a good group of traveling buddies.
Being alone sucks. Don’t hibernate in your dorm room or the library. Go find those people who you can build that community with, who can help you be the person you are meant to be. You’re probably thinking that’s great, but where are these great friends at and how do I find them when hiding under my comfy blanket is so much more comfortable. Ask God for them. He wants to bring good people into your life and will do so in unexpected ways. After that do step two, introduce yourself to someone. Doesn’t have to be some complete and total stranger, maybe that girl who sits in front of you at Spanish class, or the boy who you pass by every morning to your 9a.m. Take that first step and be open.
- REST, REFUEL, AND SLEEP.
I cannot tell you how important resting is at college. And I’m not talking about sleep a foreign concept we will explore later, but rather rest. When was the last time you spent ten minutes in prayer being still and letting God love you? He wants to be part of your college experience and you need to be more than just able to function. What helps you to relax and rest with Jesus? Taking a walk without listening to music and thanking God for his creation? Going to a chapel and seeking him in the Tabernacle as he gazes upon you silently? “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”-Matthew 11:28-30. He waits for you.
Make sure you at least get two meals a day, no one likes fainting in class and although a person can live 21 days without food, why test that limit? And as for that foreign concept titled sleep, set a bedtime and stick to it. Face it, while that next Netflix episode is tempting you need that extra hour. Can’t sleep because you’re studying? Set a limit on how much you will allow yourself to study at night and stick to it. If you are restless, instead of counting sheep, try talking to the shepherd.
- Enjoy this time.
Okay this is super important. You are only at this phase of your life once. Enjoy it. With that being said; do so in a moral and ethical way. Don’t just survive college. Thrive. Use this time to discover where God is calling you to use your gifts and your talents. He has amazing plans for you and is smiling as you begin to run this race. Become who you are meant to be.
Always remember that God loves you and I love you! You are in my prayers and if you ever have any questions about college as a Catholic feel free to contact us here at EPIC.
St. Dominic Savio, Pray for us!
Gloria DeMoura is one of the original members of EPIC Radio and now attends Mt. St. Mary’s University.