Category Archives: College & Career

Trip Top Ten (part 2)

This is the second installment on the Top Ten from our trip to New York and Boston to read part 1 click here.

5. Cheesecake at Juniors…mmmmmm

Best Cheesecake ever!  We went twice…we even had cheesecake as our main meal one time (hey cream cheese has protein!)  Besides their famous classic cheesecake we had the chocolate mousse cheesecake, strawberry shortcake cheesecake and pumpkin swirl cheesecake. They were all truly scrumptious!

Juniors Restaurant has been around for over 50 years and their tagline is…”you haven’t really lived until you’ve had a cheesecake from Juniors”  And guess what?  You can order online and have it delivered fresh to your house and have a taste of New York come to you! (and no I am getting a thing for that shameless plug – here is the link to Junior’s) I am so tempted to order a pumpkin swirl cheesecake for Thanksgiving!

4. Please don’t let this feeling end!

Ok….so I couldn’t help myself. I was a romantic teenager when the first version of the movie “Ice Castles” came out and while even at that time I thought it was pretty “sappy”…the song stuck with me and every single time I go ice skating (which isn’t all that often), I find myself singing that tune.

Bryant Park in New York was no exception!  Kristen and I laced up our skates and enjoyed almost an hour of ice skating under the stars while Michelle and Rebekah watched (and took photos).  It was fun! It was exhilarating!  It was great exercise and it will be a memorable moment that we take with us always.  We laughed and hung onto each other as we slowly remembered the feel of the ice and began to skate freely around the rink (although stopping to catch our breath quite often!)

The weather was lovely, the atmosphere festive, skating was fab and my partner was perfect! Good times!

 

3. A College “Do Over” …

…or is it living vicariously through my kids? 

We attended two college preview days while on our trip – The King’s College in New York City and Gordon College near Boston, Massachusetts.  I can honestly say that in the past several years as I have visited colleges with my daughters I have often wished I could have a “do over” of my college days.  As I sit through presentations on everything from campus life to academic advising, take campus tours and attend classes I catch myself thinking….if only I could do this over again.  I would likely choose very differently.  I would most definitely take advantage of more collegiate opportunities. I would not “wish away” this amazing time in life. (Isn’t hindsight 20/20?….I wrote a blog titled “What would you tell your college age self” that you may want to read if you are in the high school and college age season of life)

I am so very excited and pleased with my first two daughters choices for college and I often find myself living vicariously through their experiences.  My first born who is at a college in the Big Apple (I already shared that if I couldn’t live my dream life at the beach, I would live in a big city!) and she attends a college whose mission and purpose and vision would have fit me “to a tee”!  The students at her college are amazing….they are smart, articulate, critical thinkers and have depth. (quite different from the superficial shallowness I experienced in many of my college co-eds) And the professors there?  Wow…is all I can say!  They are invested greatly in the lives of the students, they are inspiring and influential and they “know their stuff”. What an opportunity to sit under their teaching and leadership. I would have not just “survived” college but thrived and flourished at King’s.  

My second daughter in Texas is having the athletic and team experience that I longed for as a college athlete.  She plays soccer for a Christian university that values the character development and moral living of their players while striving to achieve excellence in competition.  She has teammates who she has already bonded with and will likely be friends for life and a coach who is also a godly mentor, role model and friend. Oh what I would have given to have that in college!  She also has the amazing opportunity to take time out to be filled up and inspired by God’s word and worship at chapels that take place daily!  And the icing on the cake – she lives in a typical dorm style setting (well a brand new facility that looks like a sparkling hotel!) and her roommate and suite mates are young women with a heart for the Lord who encourage and build her up in her faith quite unlike my dorm experience in college of daily stepping over beer cans and vomit on the way to the shower, listening to the mindless drivel of the latest frat party or sorority rush conflict or hoping the wall pounding music would possibly stop before 4am so I could finally get some sleep. Yup! I would take her experience over mine any day!

The third daughter will take off next year after her high school graduation and is in the midst of filling out college applications and making decisions as to where she will attend and the fourth is not far behind. It was exciting to get to see and experience yet another college (Gordon) that is as impressive and has so many great things to offer:

  • a college that is centered on Jesus Christ and desires to glorify God in everything they do
  • a solid academic education with a small teacher to student ratio where it is obvious that the professors are involved as mentors in the lives of the students
  • a strong athletic program with high moral standards for their athletes and coaches who really care about their players personal growth.
  • students we met who are obviously flourishing and loving their experience in college
  • a beautiful and impressive campus (I must say that California colleges can not compete with the beauty and majesty of the ivy covered brick campuses on the East Coast…well with the exception of my alma mater…UOP)

We shall see where the next two land….but I know this….you bet I will be rejoicing in their opportunities and experiences along the way! (and yes living a bit vicariously through them)

2. Doing What I Love!

If I could do anything I wanted to do in this life, besides being a wife and mommy, it would be to inspire others through writing and speaking to live a life of passion, purpose and praise! In my adult life I have been paid to be a minister, teacher, coach, counselor, administrator, school founder, business owner, sales director and fund raiser. And I have loved them all!  But I have come to realize that the thing I am most passionate about is speaking into the lives of others and helping them to live the life they were created to live! My desire is to spend the second half of my life (or if I don’t live to be 98, maybe final third) doing just that!

I had the amazing opportunity to speak to dozens of young women at The King’s College about the complexities of relationships.  I shared my life story with them and challenged and encouraged them to be purposeful in their season of singleness and to seek the Lord and His wisdom in their relationships.  It was a great time together with these incredible young women and based on the enthusiastic response I think I accomplished my purpose successfully!  You know you are doing what you were meant to do when you leave feeling energized, refreshed and exhilarated. It was a highlight of my trip!

1. It’s the Little Things…

Call me crazy but one of my favorite things about our trip to New York and Boston was all the walking we did!  Albeit we had great weather (62-68 and sunny almost every day in New York and a rainy but not cold day in Boston) and we were on vacation so there was not the rushing around factor, but I have to say I really enjoy the simplicity of just walking everywhere you want to go. 

I kept thinking to myself…why don’t I walk more at home? I live in an area of town where I could feasibly walk to church, walk to the store, walk to our homeschool co-op and walk to Starbucks (which I do do that!)  Everyone of the places mentioned are an easy 15-25 minute walk from my house (ok Starbucks is only 5 minutes) There are lots of excuses I could give –>

  • It’s too hard to get all the kids together with their “stuff” and coax the middle ones to enjoy walking (the littles would be in strollers)
  • I’d have to carry all that stuff back from the grocery store
  • I’m not great at being on time for church even when I drive
  • I would be wasting valuable time

and on and on I could go!  And yet I wonder…would my quality of life be better if I began walking to more places?  Here are my random thoughts:

  •  It would actually slow down the pace of my life simply by the fact that I wouldn’t try to cram so much into so little time. 
  • It would solve both the diet and exercise dilemma as I would not have to worry about dieting because the walking everywhere would take care of the intake of calories (ie: I could pretty much eat anything as I did in New York & Boston – rich yummy pasta, mouth watering pastries, delicious cheesecake, fancy caloric coffee, lobster ravioli’s in cream sauce, bread with butter, cannoli’s, cream soups, carb laden snacks and pizza, pizza and more pizza – and I weighed in at 1lb less than when I left 10 days earlier, gotta love that!)

              and I would not feel guilty about not making it out to the gym or for that designated 30 minute walk because my life would be one of exercising in the midst of living. 

  • It would get both myself and my children out into the great outdoors and fresh air more often and would release endorphins (happy pills) into our system that would lead to a healthy and happier life.
  • It would simplify my life in many ways as I would be more focused on my home life, my kids and what I needed to walk to the store to get for dinner. 🙂
  • It would save money  (and for those of you that are concerned that this large family is destroying the environment…we would be doing our part to be “green”…although that would never make my personal list of reasons to start walking more places…sorry.)

So I have been home for almost a week and I have yet to walk anywhere so my ramblings are probably going to amount to nothing. And I realize that my husband & kids work and go to school 15 miles away and that there are several places that I have to drive to each week so I simply can’t walk everywhere. However, I really do want to incorporate walking as a daily part of my life (as opposed to walking for exercise)….because I really do love it!

I suppose what I really long for is not only a community set up in such a way that everything was in walking distance (which for me it pretty much is except school, sports practices and friends) but also a simpler life without all the crazy schedules, appointments, paperwork, to do lists, activities etc….  Oh wait!  I have created that for at least a tenth of my year — beach holiday hiatus come quickly!

So there is my Top Ten List from my trip…hope you enjoyed the tour and that perhaps you were touched, inspired, changed or challenged by one of my “take aways” from our adventure.  You will still hear a few more insights from this trip as I have time to write them up.

And I can’t end without just a few more photos of things that I loved!

Did you know that you use to be able to rent a pew at church! It was actually was an enclosed box…you could decorate, leave things in, be late for church and never have to worry about a seat.  I see all sorts of advantages to this practice….just sayin’

The fall colors were amazing…I ohhhed and ahhhed and breathed in the beauty. When we arrived in Boston the colors were mesmerizing! I kept wanting to stop and capture each colorful tree, stunning autumn sunset and amazing skyline. Fall is my very favorite season…it is warm and inviting and feels slower and softer than other times of year. I think perhaps it fits my coloring too? What do you think?

There is nothing quite like the top of the Empire State Building!  The girls and I enjoyed it at night….the lights were spectacular. I must admit though that while I loved being up there with my darling daughters, it is just one of those places with the wind blowing through your hair, the stars sparkling above and the lights glimmering below that you should have the love of your life by your side with is loving arms around you. Romantic!

Oh and I could not leave Massachusetts without seeing the Atlantic Ocean because….I love the beach!  The girls and I made a quick stop by the seashore near Gordon College to put our feet in the sand and see the beauty of the ocean.  I felt the grains of sand in my shoes for several days after arriving home which made me vastly contented.

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Filed under College & Career, Life at the Lambdins, Life Lessons, My "take"

Words of Wisdom for the College Bound

Along the path of life we have “adopted” many young people into our family and home.  Some have had need of just an extra set of godly loving parents and some have suffered the absence of a parent or even both through the travesty of divorce, death or sometimes sad indifference and have needed everything from love, wisdom, help, encouragement and mentoring to often even meals, lodging and a place to call home.

One of these very special and dear to our heart daughters is Tiffana.  She came into our lives over 8 years ago when she was literally saved off the streets of Chico and ended up as a senior at our high school. (and that there is an amazing story that perhaps someday I will have her share with you all).  We loved her from the moment we met her and over the years we have had the joy of teaching, mentoring  and watching her grow into a beautiful young woman with a heart after God.  She is truly one of our family members. Dan and I love her as if she is one of our own. My children love her as a big sister and a friend. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives.

My second daughter, Amy is  leaving for college this week in Waxahachie Texas and for her college send off party Tiffana wrote out the following words of wisdom that I asked her if I could post on this blog as I thought they were so perfect, not only for Amy, but for any student about to leave home for college.  Tiffana speaks from experience as she has been at both a secular university as well as a Christian one, had a stint in the world of junior colleges and has lived both on campus in the dorms and off campus with friends.  She is currently in the last season of her collegiate life and gives great warnings and great advice to those about to begin this journey.

My sweetest Amy!

You are about to embark on one of the most incredible journeys of your life. A journey filled with new ideas, experimenting, application and simple fun. A journey filled with challenges and exciting new territories: a season of being on your own and far away from mom and dad. I call this phase of life the experimental, preparation phase of your life. I was thinking about college, and I was thinking about the many years and many universities that I have attended, and all the things I wish I knew going into it. I was thinking about all the wrong choices that face us on a daily basis. Even beyond sex, drugs and rock and roll, I was thinking about relationships and friendships in college, and all the things that will bombard you on a daily basis. You have such an established foundation (please thank your parents for this on a daily basis), and I love your heart after God and your desire to please Him. And I know, in general terms, that we both know how incredibly wrong all these negative choices are, and the poor decisions that you could make are not one’s that you want to do, but for most people, including Christians, overt opportunities to do these things challenge the simple desire of wanting to do good. Sometimes, the battle in our minds and heart to choose the right thing hit the back burner when the stresses of life are right in front of your face and the choice to do wrong seems so much more attractive and easier. When things get difficult and you don’t feel like you have the support of your parents and sisters, things can feel unbearable, and we are often not disciplined enough in our minds to make the right decision. If we don’t decide in our heart going into this season to make the correct decision, before you know it, we make decisions that both break the heart of God and the heart of the people we love the most. So why am I saying all this? Because everyday you will have a hundred of possibilities to make the wrong decision, to engage in things and to act in ways that in the end will hurt you, and I wanted to encourage you and give you all the more reasons why you should continue to make the right decisions.

1.Learn to love God with all of your heart! Everything you do and don’t do will flow out of your identity, and your identity will flow out of who you know God to be. As much as you can find time, meditate on his word daily. I’ve heard it said like this, “We each have two dogs in us; a bad dog and a good dog. In any given battle, the dog that wins is the one you feed.”

2. Learn to love others unconditionally! Love is not selfish and should be freely given unconditionally. Keep loving people in the right way. The reality is that this will draw people much closer to you and make you quite attractive, but remember, when you see the line getting crossed, love them enough to clarify the line. NEVER forget who you are in Christ, and remember who they are as children of the Most High God. Remember that if they (including guys for this matter) want to cross that line, that to unconditionally love them is to respect their domain: it’s theirs, not yours and even if they willingly want to give it up, remind them that there is something much better.

3. Don’t forget about your soul: Value it! Remember to value who you are and to love who you are. Remind yourself daily that you truly are part of the fellowship of the One who made the heavens and the earth. Your design is perfect. Cherish the value of yourself and cherish the value of others around you. Don’t sacrifice your values in the name of loving people, bring them up and remind them of how valuable they are.

4. Remember that you are not alone! These years can seem to be some of the loneliest years. At least that’s how I have felt. There are times where I crave intimacy so deep that I’d be willing to sacrifice my values to feel a moment of closeness. Instead, cherish these seasons of loneliness. These seasons where it’s just you and God. Because when it’s gone, its gone! And heck, when you are feeling the most lonely, just kick your shoes off, get a few girlfriends, buy a carton of ice cream, get a funny chick flick and just laugh.

5. Remember your Destiny! You have a future and a hope that will follow you for generations to come. Remember your children’s children. You will one day have a family, and that will be a beautiful and wonderful thing that needs to be cherished and protected. You will have a life that is full of meaning, purpose, love and hope. Cherish and protect this during these years by talking about it, planning for it, dreaming it, and loving every moment of it. Cherish your loneliness and embrace it. Don’t run from it! Oh…and don’t forget about your cowboy!

6. Have the Time of your Life! I’m sure you’ve heard it over and over, but time flies by. Remember when you first started High School, and now it’s over. College goes by so incredible fast (except me because I can’t seem to get out of college), and before you know it, it’s over. Cherish this time of growth and learning and discovering new things. Cherish the relationships and friendships you will build and the intimacy that you get to develop with the Lord.

I don’t assume these are things that you don’t know already, especially with your parents, and there’s a good chance you’ve practiced these things. I just tell you simply because we often forget when times get lonely, or tough. Remember, the world around us is needy, and lonely and often unloving. Friends around us fail and people hurt us. But remember who you are, remember why you love, and remember who first loved you. Stay fit in the Lord, stay strong, and fight the good fight because in the end, it will be worth it.

I love you SO much! HAVE A BLAST!!!

Tiffana LeMaster

A picture of Tiffana & Amy several years ago…time marches on!

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Filed under College & Career, Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons

Accolades for Amy

Here I am on the eve of my second sweet daughter’s graduation from high school.

In many ways that is not remarkable as millions of families will watch their children and grandchildren march across a stage, field or platform in the upcoming days and weeks to receive that coveted diploma. Yes, she is just one of millions in the global class of 2011.

And it is quite unlike the first born graduate who accomplished this same milestone four years ago. There will be no valedictorian speeches, no honor cords or scholarships awarded her at the ceremony tomorrow. She will be just another one of the graduates in the JECHS class of 2011.

  • Unremarkable?
  • Average?
  • One of many?

NOT!

Amy, while not an academic achiever according to the standard of this world, is an amazing young lady with unique gifts and talents, influential leadership, godly character and a heart for the Lord!  She is remarkable! She is uncommon! She is stellar!

And yet she is in the season of life that I call the “academic” years.  Those years where it seems like most of life is centered around your academic achievements.  You are judged and evaluated by your ability to take tests, your grade point average, your SAT scores, your AP & honors courses, your college acceptance letters and your scholarship awards.  You are continually being asked questions about your academic achievements by relatives, adult mentors, teachers & peers.

Personally, I sailed through this season of life with relative ease. (and it truly is just a season…no one has asked my GPA in the last three decades!)  While I was the least “academically inclined” of my parents four children, I still had giftings in the area of academics and along with my brother & sisters acquired the appropriate amount of academic accolades, achievements & awards.  I was also an “academic snob”.  While I realized that people had various degrees of intellectual ability, I figured that most everyone (with the exception of the most severe disabilities) had the ability to achieve academically if they “put their mind to it”.  This carried into my early years as a teacher as I was appalled by students who came into my classroom as junior highers not being able to spell simple words like paper (papper) or having acquired basic reading skills or understanding of math.  Not that I expected everyone to be “straight A” students, I actually thought most had just not “worked hard enough” or were lazy.

My first born fell right into my line of academic thinking.In addition to being a classic first born overachiever, she spoke in full sentences by year one, began to read at age four and could spell “beautiful” in kindergarten. I am sure in my mind I was “patting myself on the back” for creating such an academic acheiver (which in reality I had precious little to do with it)  Then along came Amy….

She was the sweetest baby ever.  She was calm, good-natured, smiled & slept a lot. (in shocking comparison to her extremely colicky…crying for 9 months straight… elder sister).  We nicknamed her “Sleeping Beauty”.  It didn’t concern us that she was not speaking as early as her sister as we figured this was typical for a second child.  But….when she still was not speaking more than 10-15 coherent words by age four we knew there was some “issues”.  She was diagnosed with serious speech delay and began four years of therapy. Then she was only able to read very short kindergarten readers by age ten. After trying every program known to man to teach her to read we finally found the program (Powerline) and the teacher (the amazing Miss Pam) that worked for her dyslexia. We rejoiced that she was able to read and comprehend novels before going to high school (and went from “I HATE reading” to “Mom, can I read all day?”).

While I was raising Amy (or perhaps she was raising me) I began to change my mindset.  I began to “re-think” the way society sees academics. I began to be very purposeful about teaching Amy that her value did not come from her ability to excel academically (or for that matter athletically, musically, artistically or in outward beauty or wealth…all things the world puts a high value on) but that her value was to be found as a child of God. I also ingrained in her heart & mind that the God who created her had also endowed her with unique gifts and talents to be used for His glory. (“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.” 1 Peter 4:10)  For her those gifts did not happen to be in the area of academics and yet she would still be required to perform at a certain level to get through this academic season of life.  It is just the way we have set up our society.  (on a side note I find this interesting…what if we required someone to play sports for years and “pass” athletic milestones even if they had no athletic propensity?  Or if we required musical accomplishments from people who were tone-deaf or can’t clap & sing at the same time?) Of course since she was homeschooled, the normal academic pressures of traditional school were not something she had to face.  She had a happy, carefree childhood free from thoughts of – “I’m in the slow group” or “I am dumb” or “What is wrong with me?”.  She learned at her own pace. She discovered her unique gifts and talents and excelled at them. She learned to love the Lord. She developed godly character.  She actually blissfully unaware of any disabilities she had.  As she began to prepare to go to a traditional high school, I spent time reinforcing these values and ideas so that she would be able to get through school without losing her sense of value and purpose. I warned her:

  • She would have to work harder and likely not get as good results as many of those around her
  • That she may stay up half the night studying and still fail the test.
  • That some teachers would be “academic snobs” just as I had once been or think she was lazy or had not studied…just smile and pray for them.
  • This is just a academic season of life and that it has no reflection on her future success and plans
  • That her accolades would need to come from the Lord and the voice in her own head (she spent much of her childhood listening to motivational speakers and memorizing their quotes! It paid off!)

I encouraged her:

  • That God has uniquely gifted her and that she needed to develop those gifts and use them for His glory
  • That she needed to work hard (and thus develop godly character) no matter what the results
  • That it was much smarter to take the areas you are good at and make them great than to take things you are poor at and make them average. (Why spend time trying to take a two to a five when you could take a seven to a ten?)
  • God is in control of your life.  You seek Him, commit your way to Him and live upright, He will accomplish what concerns you and He will lead you in the right path.
  • Never forget your value lies in being a child of God!

And she did just that! It was hard at times. She had moments of disappointment and discouragement…but she pressed on!  As she walks across the stage tomorrow and receives her diploma, this former “academic snob” momma will be

  • rejoicing with her as she celebrates her success!
  • beaming with pride (just as I did with my first grad in ’07) that she is pursuing her God-given gifts and talents, developing godly character and loving the Lord
  • shedding a few bittersweet tears as she ends this season of life

PS – For those Moms of “youngins” who struggle with academic achievement and are concerned (translate worried) about their education and future let me encourage you.  Amy will graduate from high school with a 3.18. She was accepted to five colleges (two on academic probation) even with below average SAT scores and received financial aid & academic scholarships from the colleges (we did giggle with delight when these offers arrived). She will be attending Bethany University in the fall and continue to seek the Lord’s plan  & purpose for her life.  Who would have ever guessed that 10 years ago?  But God…..

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Filed under Attitude, College & Career, Determination, Homeschool, Jim Elliot Christian High School, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, My "take"

What would you tell your “college age self”?

I just spent the past several days down in Southern California on a college visitation trip with two of my high school girls and their dear life long friend along with one of my closest friends and mentor to the girls.  We had a great road trip complete with long hours in the car, lots of fast food and  less sleep than we needed but lots of good times, learning and laughter too!

I found myself looking back to thirty years ago when I  was a high school senior choosing where I would attend college. I tried to remember my thought process and how I came to the decisions that I did.  I remembered  first stepping  foot on my college campus as a young and in many ways unprepared student and the many decisions I made both good and bad while I was there.  I also wondered if my decisions would have been different had I had older and wiser mentors in my life giving me advice along the way.

I do not remember much advice at all from my high school teachers or counselors other than – “go to college where you can get the best financial aide package” or “make sure they have your major”. (why? because your major will never change several times during college…ha!)  My church youth leaders gave no input.  My friends talked about having the most amount of fun (dorm  life, fraternity parties, football or basketball games, boys etc…)  and freedom (from any rules or restrictions) wherever you chose to attend college.

I am thankful for parents who gave me the following advice (aka: non negotiables):  You will go to college or you are on your own after high school.  You will go away to a four-year college and live on campus. You will not get married until you get your degree.  You will visit several colleges to find the right “fit” for you.  While these paradigms were quite valuable and more than many high school students receive, I often wish I had been given more from those older and wiser mentors around me.

In fact I began to think this weekend what exactly would I, now three decades later, tell my “college age self”?

  1. Choose carefully and wisely where you go to college.  No other time in life are you more immersed in a community and culture than during your college years.  You are living with people outside your family 24/7,  you are engaged in constant exchange of ideas both inside and outside the classroom, you are exposed to different and new ways of thinking, believing and living.  Is the college environment one that will increase your faith, solidify your values and produce growth and maturity in your life? You will likely make life choices regarding your calling and career that will affect the course of your life.  What type of college and professors do you want to influence those choices?  You will likely develop forever friendships with both students and faculty and you may even meet your spouse…look closely at the profile of students who desire to attend the college as well as why the faculty are teaching there.  Are these the people who you want to have influencing, mentoring, inspiring and challenging you throughout your life?
  2. Do what you love!  Choose a course of study in something you are passionate about regardless of anyone else’s opinion, regardless of whether it will make you rich (or even make you money at all), regardless of the job market, regardless of  if it is the “smartest” or most practical thing to do or even regardless of if you will ever do anything career related with your degree. (and if you have many passions…pursue them all!)
  3. Embrace this season of singleness. (ie: do not spend time the moment you step on campus looking for “the one”) You have spent 18+ years in your parents home and you dream of being happily married for 50+ years.  If you live an average life span that leaves less than a decade of being single.  Embrace it! Enjoy it! Don’t waste it away always looking to the future and missing the opportunities in the present.  Work on becoming the most godly, loving, giving, self-sacrificing, interesting, knowledgable and mature person you can be so that when you are married you will be the most amazing spouse and parent ever!
  4. Develop positive habits that will add value to your life.  Up to this point you have probably been “forced” to eat healthy (as much as your parents could make you), exercise regularly (thanks to PE classes & sports), balance your budget (mostly due to your lack of credit worthiness or available funds), go to class, attend church services regularly and plan ahead.  College should be a time that we build upon these positive habits not throw them out the window and live an undisciplined, out of control, “free for all”  life.  This is the time not only to learn and grow academically but to practice self-control and discipline in your life without being forced to do these things.  It is a true sign of growth and maturity and may even be a greater benefit to your life and happiness than your actual college degree.
  5. Go out of the country.  Whether you study abroad for a year, go on a summer missions trip to a third world country or participate in a “semester at _____” (you fill in the blank) you MUST take advantage of at least one opportunity for amazing growth, learning and a life changing experience.  After college you will have responsibilities to take care of, bills to pay, careers to pursue not to mention marriage and parenting that may arrive sooner than you think.  Do not say you will “do it later” because even if you are one of the rare adults who are able to pull that off – it will be harder, more complicated and you will wish you had gone during your college years. Let’s have no regrets here people!
  6. Seek out mentors.  I really wish that someone would have encouraged me to find older mentors in my life to learn from during my college years.  They could be upperclassmen, grad students, faculty members or even college pastors or adults from a local church.  I now realize that we can learn and grow so much more from other people “speaking into our lives” than we do through classes, lectures or textbooks.  While a few small private colleges encourage and promote these types of relationships, you need to decide to seek them out for yourself.  Find people of godly character, full of wisdom, passionate about their purpose and traveling in the direction that you want to go.  Then be bold and ask for their time to invest in your life. (You need not be demanding or draining to them…simply be willing to just hang out with them at their convenience or be a blessing by working alongside them) 
  7. Serve others.  The college years can often be very self-centered and self-serving. One of the best ways to grow and learn is to serve others and give of yourself.  Find ways to serve your college or community.  Become a resident or student advisor, start a prayer group or bible study, pick up trash around campus, volunteer to help in admissions or campus tours.  Get off campus and feed the homeless, volunteer at a crisis center, participate in a non-profit fund-raising campaign, serve in a church nursery.  A life lived only for your self and your own self interests is a shallow and unfulfilling existence.
  8. College is a valuable investment!  If you have to take out loans, do not stress about that.  It is a better investment of your money than your future home (that you will likely take out a very large loan to purchase) or a vehicle (that can cost you more than any loans you aquire in 4 years).  Your college education will not rust or break down or become worthless as it ages.  No one can take it from you, steal it or destroy it.  It will be one of the most valuable things you have in life (especially if you go to the right college and use the time wisely)  If you have to work several jobs to make it happen…do it!  Apply for every scholarship possible (and perhaps some that are impossible.) Ask others to invest in you. Leave no stone unturned!
  9. Appreciate every aspect of not living in the “real world”  — ok so I am sure many college student’s dislike hearing over and over that they are not living in the “real world”  but really…it is truth in many ways?  When, in your adult “real life” will most of you –
  • have someone available to cook for you at every meal (not to mention the wide variety and volume of food available in most college cafeterias – endless salad bars, soft serve ice cream, soda fountain etc..)?
  • put your  dirty dishes on a conveyor belt to watch them “magically” disappear and then reappear at the next meal clean and sparkly?
  • not have to ever clean your own toilet?
  • be able to work out at a fully equipped fitness center just steps from your living space?
  • wear whatever you want to work (aka: class) or for that matter decide when you want to attend and when you don’t want to attend work?
  • have access to social interaction and fun 24/7 (as well as 24/7 access to trouble & temptation)?
  • create your own personal hours according to your personal preference by only signing up for afternoon & evening classes (or the opposite if you are one of “those” morning people)or  not taking Friday classes and giving yourself a three-day weekend? (I can promise most of you that you will never again get to completely create your own hours)
  • and if you go to a Christian college…get to attend an inspirational worship service and listen to compelling, motivating  speakers three times a week? (my oh my what I would give to have that part of my “real” life almost every day)

   10. College is not for everyone.  While I believe that here in our culture in the United States that college may be the wisest way go for most young people, I do not think that everyone must attend college.  However, I do believe that the college age is a very important season of life for growth, education, maturity and experience.  It is not a time to be wasted or used in a frivolous way. Almost all of the things I would tell my “college self” can be applied to a young person who has decided not to attend college.  Be purposeful and productive.  Some other great options are trade school, an internship, the military or a missions trip.

What would you tell your “college age self”?

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Filed under College & Career, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Parenting