Move-in day my freshman year is one of the most memorable days of my life thus far.
There are few things that beat moving across the state to a city you don’t know to live in a building with strangers and to learn about more things you don’t know.
Add the fact that there were classes to take, groceries to pay for on my own for the first time and new habits and friendships to form (including with one girl in particular who caught my heart), and you can probably figure out how transformative my freshman year was.
I learned so many important lessons my freshman year and I would love to share some of them with you as you consider your next steps in life.
BE THOUGHTFUL WITH MONEY
The summer before starting college, I worked hard to collect and save the money I knew I would need to live on my own. I picked up shifts left and right at my movie theater job back home because I knew there would come a time when I would need the money.
What I never anticipated was the majority of that money going toward impromptu midnight runs to Steak and Shake.
Living on your own, it can be tempting to take advantage of all of the freedom you’ve now been given. There’s nothing inherently bad about midnight runs to Steak and Shake (just watch your intake of greasy hamburgers), but I am here to encourage you to start spending responsibly.
I thought because I had worked hard for the money I had that I should spend it however I wanted.
When the time eventually came for me to buy a ring to ask the woman of my dreams to marry me, I realized that I had spent more than I’d anticipated and needed to work even harder to build the money back up.
Think ahead and predict some financial probabilities or possibilities you may run into, but remember that going out with your friends once in a while isn’t always a bad idea either.
DON’T HIT SNOOZE
High school was so much easier when it came to the whole “getting to school” part. I know it’s not the case for everyone, but all I had to do to make sure I made it to school on time in the morning was stand at the end of my driveway and wait for the bus.
Let’s just say college was a rude awakening.
Making it to anything on time your freshman year is difficult, if only because of the sudden shift in responsibility.
Suddenly, if you make it to school late, it’s your fault and you’re going to have to face the consequences.
My personal suggestion would be to time how long it takes to get from your dorm to each class the first week.
Professors are pretty forgiving the first week of school—people get lost in new places, they get it—so finding out how long the walk takes can save you a lot of stress in the later weeks when you convince yourself that you only need 20 minutes to get a shower, get dressed and get to class.
UPPERCLASSMEN AREN’T SCARY, THEY’RE JUST TIRED
You can always tell a freshman from an upperclassman by the way that they walk. Freshmen are very animated with wide eyes trying to take in every detail of the exciting new world of college.
Upperclassmen are more concerned with locating the closest cup of coffee. In most cases, you’re lucky if their eyes are even open.
It can be easy to feel intimidated as an underclassman.
If it wasn’t for my time spent as an assistant stage manager for CU Theatre, I never would have made some of the best friends I’ve had in my time at college. And get this: they were upperclassmen.
Upperclassmen have so much more to worry about than freshmen do. Things like an internship, job searches and apartment hunting can really tire you out. But just because they look bigger does not mean they are any less friendly, caring and loving.
DATE TO MARRY
Have you ever heard of the Freshman Frenzy?
It’s a theoretical phenomenon which dictates that during freshman year, when boys and girls from all over the country meet each other in large groups at college, most will enter relationships in as little as two weeks to a month.
Except that it’s not theoretical: it’s real. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
What is unfortunate about these relationships is that most of them don’t take the proper time to court and really get to know their significant other, and most end badly. If both individuals aren’t fully invested, it becomes very difficult to sustain.
It’s not that much of a surprise when you consider that college is a time of self-discovery, which makes knowing who you are in the context of a relationship during college occasionally difficult.
All in all, dating during your freshman year is not a bad thing, but just remember that God has long-term plans for us, so make sure that if you start dating, you’re looking for someone truly special.
GOD IS PRESENT HERE
If we’re getting technical, I guess I had a good sense of this one before arriving at Cornerstone for my freshman year, but it became real to me once I began living here as a freshman.
Being in classes that prayed before starting, where the professor’s relationship with God was strong enough to allow you to ask them questions you may have not felt comfortable asking before was life changing to me.
Being around Christ-minded individuals provides a lot of support and growth during the formative time that is freshman year. The efforts I saw people make to reach others for Christ in the Grand Rapids area was inspiring.
Cornerstone continues to make a greater and greater effort to reach the world, both locally and globally for Christ, a mission I never thought would be pursued by an organization outside a church or a missionary service.
All of this to say that I am incredibly blessed to be attending a college like Cornerstone.
There are a lot of schools out there that you may or may not be considering, but I strongly encourage you to take a deeper look at Cornerstone. If you are interested in learning more, the best way to get to know Cornerstone is to visit campus and see if it’s the right fit for you.