By Jessica Fick

Letter to My College Self

Dear college self,

Though you think you know everything now that you’ve taken a couple of psychology classes, I wanted to send you this list of how to maintain sanity and achieve success during undergrad. I know college can be confusing, stressful, and exhausting.  Tack this list up on your bulletin board in your dorm room and read it occasionally when you’re not having Spice Girl dance parties with your friends or pulling an all-nighter writing the philosophy paper you’ve been procrastinating. You’ll thank me when you graduate.1. Keep a supply of quarters. When you have the $1.25 you need to dry your last load of underwear, you’ll be glad you didn’t spend the quarters on a late-night Slurpee run.

2. Pajama pants are not real pants. Just because you slept until 1pm doesn’t mean you have to look like it when you walk around for the rest of the day.

3. Irish Spring smells more pleasant than sweat, ramen noodles, and stale coffee. You really can take a 15-minute break to shower after studying for three days straight.  Everyone in the computer lab where you live will thank you.

4. Attend Jesus University. Invest in your spiritual growth and get to some InterVarsity training conferences. Jesus doesn’t just want to develop your academic life as a stellar accountant, nurse, or anthropologist. He wants to give you the vision, skills and relationships to be a missionary to your campus and beyond.

5. Modesty is attractive. Freezing when you walk across campus to a party in a mini-skirt, tube top, and spike heels during a February blizzard is not.

6. Love the ones you’re with. It takes time to develop relationships with people and make friends. Spend time on campus during the weekends hanging out with people instead of using up your pre-paid phone card minutes talking to friends far away, listening to the screechy whine of the modem to spend endless hours emailing people, or wasting gas going home. This will be good practice for later in life where you’ll be tempted to constantly be on this thing called Facebook or checking your cell phone while ignorning the people around you.

7. Piercings are practical. You’ll be relieved taking out your nose, lip, or eyebrow ring for your job interview while your friend will be frantically applying a large band-aid to cover up the giant Spartan tattoo on his neck.

8. Listen up. God wants to meet with you in the midst of exams, papers, relationship drama, and anxiety about your future. Figure out a time each day to listen to God through prayer, Scripture, journaling, or worship music.  He wants to speak into your life!

9. Friendship > make-outs. It will be that awkward when you see that random guy you made out with at your friend’s fraternity house in the cafeteria. Coffee, lunch, or a walk is usually a better way to get to know someone than making out or more the first time you meet them.

10. Have an Epic Fail. College is a time to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail a class, can’t stand your roommate, or no one shows up for your weekly Bible study. Talk and pray with friends. Ask God to give you strength and teach you perseverance and prayerful dependence on him when you feel like a failure.

Enjoy these years. They go quickly even though your semester seems like it will never end. Have fun, study hard, and rock on with your bad self.

Go State!


P.S. Don’t eat the baked ziti in the cafeteria. It’s never a good choice. 

Jessica Fick serves as InterVarsity’s Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes East region and blogs at Sidewalk Theologian

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