Off To College: One Thing You Can’t Afford To Leave Behind

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Have you looked at the calendar today?  Did you notice that there are only 5 more squares in July?

Five days before August hits in all it’s hot, busy, back-to-school fury.

For some, the conclusion of summer means cramming in a few more beach days, one more camping trip, or one more theme park adventure.  For others, it means cranking through just a couple more weeks of longer-than-usual work days to save up for the fall semester.

Emotions range from excitement to dread and everything in between… possibly ricocheting between the two extremes like an out-of-control bouncy-ball!

If you are beginning your freshman year at college, you are getting ready to launch out on your own.  This is true for both commuter students and campus residents.  While the change is more drastic when a student actually “moves out” for college, commuters also experiences a detachment from what (up until now) has been their typical family schedule.  This is a necessary, even healthy, part of the process of growing up and morphing into adulthood!

Naturally, becoming immersed in college will mean you become a bit less involved in life outside of college – especially as a campus resident.  Here at Trinity Baptist College, we encourage you to take full advantage of the spiritual culture of our campus by attending chapels and Bible studies and develop strong relationships by participating in activities and athletic events.  College can be so much more than an academic education if you allow it to be.  It can be the place where you meet life-long friends and make important connections that impact your life long after graduation.

There is a delicate balance, however, between full involvement in your college life and maintaining honest communication with family and mentors back home.  You may not grasp the importance of this now, but believe it – you need to keep in touch!  And not just because your family loves you and wants to hear from you! (Although that is a very valid reason, and one you need to remember!)

There is another — deeper — reason.  You will need advice. No matter how old you get or now experienced or mature – you will always need someone to speak into your life and offer a different perspective.

Proverbs 11:14 – Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Proverbs 19:20 – Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.

Embracing your independence without dismissing the family members, friends, and mentors who have had a positive influence in your life before college is a tricky but important lesson to learn.  They are familiar with your background.  They have witnessed your strengths and weaknesses first hand and know you better than anyone on campus.  They can see how your struggles, triumphs, fears, and dreams make you unique.  They also can see your potential more clearly than most and genuinely desire your success.

Eventually, your new professors, friends, and mentors will come to know you as well.  They will hopefully speak into your life with wisdom and help you mature as a person.  But view these new influences as an addition to your support system instead of a replacement for what you already have in your parents and spiritual mentors.

Getting to college is a milestone to be proud of, certainly.  But don’t forget the valuable advice and support that got you to this point! You can’t afford to leave behind the wisdom and perspective that has been instrumental to your success so far!

Above all, don’t distance yourself from the ultimate source of wisdom for your life – God and His Word.  Even if all others fail you or steer you wrong, His wisdom transcends all.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

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The down side of having a plan

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There’s a down side?  Really?

If you are a planner, you are probably staring daggers at your screen right now.  “What kind of incompetent person would suggest that planning is less than the epitome of being responsible?”

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What to pack for college dorm life?

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Starting to plan for dorm life?  You probably have questions. How in the world do you pack an entire life into one section of dorm room?  How do you decide what comes with you and what stays behind?  Should you bring your own microwave?  Ironing board?  Blender?  Trash can? What about a TV?

First of all, do not worry about packing your entire life into one section of dorm room!  If you live with your parents now, you are likely used to having an entire home at your disposal.  The thought of paring down to a few square feet may leave you panicked!  The truth is you don’t need any more room than that!  College life is busy and the more you have to keep track of, the less you can concentrate on what really matters – experiencing life!

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to wait on large items and appliances like microwaves and TVs.  If a roommate already has one, there might not be room (or need) for a second one!  This is also true for smaller items that can easily be shared, such as irons and trash cans.  Instead, think about items that are more essential to your personal day-to-day life.

Here are some essentials to consider as you make your shopping and packing list!

Laundry hamper – Everyone has to do laundry!  Might as well make it easy on yourself and get a hamper that allows you to carry things to the laundry room and back without dropping things all over the hall!  There are lots of options out there.  Some are almost completely collapsible and weigh close to nothing (basically a mesh pop-up container).  Others have more structure but still fold to save space.  Or you could go with a laundry basket that slides under your bed.  (Don’t forget the laundry detergent!)

Book bag – It might be worth investing in a quality one that you really like.  The cheaper ones tend to fall apart quickly and if you have to walk long distances every day it might take a toll on your back as well.  Keep in mind that you’ll likely be carrying several large books, possibly your laptop, and (especially if you’re a commuter) a water bottle… maybe lunch!  Look for something with a little structure to protect your computer.

Command hooks – Get them in a variety of sizes and shapes.  They are useful for so many things, don’t damage walls, and hold amazingly well!

Bed linens and towels – You can probably get by with a single set of bed linens.  You may want 2-3 sets of towels depending on how often you want to do laundry.  I don’t forget hand towels and wash cloths!

Flip-flops or shower shoes, a shower caddy, and a robe.  Depending on your dorm room set-up you’ll be sharing a shower with several people.  These items are always recommended!

Headphones/earbuds – Whether it is listening to music, plugging in to watch a video for class, or just trying to block out distractions while you study, they are a great investment!

Comfortable shoes – Walking will happen.  Might as well be comfortable!

We hope these suggestions will help you as you begin your college packing!  Do your best to pack lightly.  It is nearly inevitable that you will collect things as time goes by.  Remember that everything you bring with you will eventually have to move out again!

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things To Learn Before Moving Out

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Many times, going to college means “moving out.”  Moving out is exciting!  It means you’ve reached a new level of independence and maturity.  If that is where you find yourself today, congratulations!

You’ll find that independence and maturity don’t happen magically – they require responsibility.  And responsibility itself is a learning process!  Have you learned the basics of living on your own?  There’s a lot to learn!  But don’t worry – no one expects you to know it all right away.  Since we could never cover everything here, we have chosen five basic life skills that are a good idea to master before moving out on your own.   Not only will these skills make your life easier, but they also have the potential to make you a better roommate and a more capable adult!

  • Learn how to clean a bathroom. Traditionally, the bathroom is the room where we get clean.  But in order to be able to get yourself clean, the bathroom itself must first be clean.  Otherwise, it’s like washing a white shirt in the swamp.  Pointless and gross.  Showers, sinks, counters, mirrors, and floors – they all get nasty if you don’t clean them.  And toilets… well, let’s just say that toilets need to be cleaned regularly (trust me!).  And before you make excuses about not having time to clean… in reality, it only takes 3-4 minutes to clean any one area of the bathroom (provided you do it regularly and you don’t have to chisel 2 inches of grime off the tiles.)

If you’ve never cleaned a bathroom and feel the need for guidance, you don’t even have to ask your mom to teach you – you can look it up on Youtube!  This one shows you how to clean a toilet in less than 3 minutes.

  • Learn how to make an appointment (and keep it). No, this isn’t a joke! Have you ever made an appointment on your own?  Making an appointment is simple enough, but you’ll need to know several things before making that call.  For example: you’ll need to know what days/times you’re available (take into account the time it takes to get there and back), how long the appointment may last, and what kind of transportation is available to you.  This applies to everything from a meeting with your professor to a job interview or doctor’s appointment.  If it is a doctor’s appointment, you will likely need to have cash or a card on hand to make a payment.  If you don’t make your appointment on time, the office or individual waiting for you has every right to move on. When that happens, you’ll have to reschedule, which is a big pain.  Also, be aware that most medical offices charge a no-show fee.  That’s an even bigger pain.  Biggest lesson here: plan ahead.  Do what it takes to make it there. If you don’t think you can make it, call ahead to cancel or re-schedule.

Speaking of doctors…

  • Learn how to use your insurance. Let’s just be honest for a moment: health insurance is a royal pain.  No one is denying that or expecting you to know all the details of your particular plan.  That being said, it is highly recommended that you know your provider (name of the insurance company) and carry proof of insurance in your wallet (usually a credit-card sized card that lists all the basic information and numbers to call with questions).   Do you know how to find a doctor in your insurance plan?  Do you know if your plan requires a co-pay?  Or is it a high-deductible plan (you pay a bit more out of pocket)?  These are all things you’ll need to know when making a doctor’s appointment.
  • Learn when to go to bed and the importance of getting up on time.   Make yourself get up on time.  You’ll be less likely to forget what you need and more likely to make a good impression (either in a class presentation or in that chance encounter with your crush).  And if you budget your time well, you’ll find there is also time to goof off and have fun!
  • Learn to memorize. Your social security number.  Your pin number.  Your bank account number. Your license plate number. Important phone numbers.    Phone numbers.  Think parents, siblings, and close friends. These days there is little need to commit contact numbers and addresses to memory since we can just look them up on our phones!  But what if you drop your phone in the toilet?  (Go ahead and laugh – you know it happens!)  What if you lose it on a hiking trip or you drop it trying to take that perfect selfie at the pool and it sinks under six feet of chlorinated water?  What is your backup plan for contacting family if you can’t access your phone? Knowing one person’s phone number can be a lifesaver.

Don’t let life catch you by surprise!  Do your best to plan in advance so you can enjoy your independence confidently!  On the other hand, try not to be intimidated by what you don’t know.  Be willing to ask for help.  Everyone needs help at some point.  One day, you’ll be the one helping a freshman figure out their insurance card!