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Freshmen year of undergrad (July 2008)

You’re only a few weeks away from being out of your parents’ house and you can’t wait or maybe you can wait and would rather wait, but time waits for no one. Everyone has already told you what to do and what not to do, so here I am telling you what might be helpful. Take what’s useful, pass the rest to someone else:

1. Find a church home. 

Freedom! Finally, you get to decide when and where (and if) you go to church. You know what you believe, so be sure to choose a church home that aligns with those beliefs. I went to a big church, medium church, Pentecostal, nondenominational, predominantly black, as well as a church with many different races. I searched all over and finally found a place that helped me to grow spiritually and that’s what’s most important right now. You no longer go to church because your parents make you go; you have to develop and expand your own relationship with Christ. And don’t just go so when your parents ask, you don’t have to lie about it. Go and participate in the different ministries, go to the young adult bible study, and the Saturday fish fry. Get connected with genuine people who will be concerned about your soul. Also, look into collegiate bible studies on your college campus.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no.

You will have the opportunity to do all sorts of things in college. Smoke weed, drink alcohol, stay up all night, blow through your refund check, go to the club, gain weight, have sex, be in a music video, get hazed, participate in the Pokemon Go challenge, just a plethora of things. You know right from wrong so behave accordingly. It’s easy to focus on the “bad” things but they’re may be some things you’re just not interested in doing. Try new things, yes! But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. One year, my whole group of friends decided to join a community service fraternity. It seemed like a wonderful organization, but I was quite active in other organizations and worked part time, and as much as I love helping other people, it just wasn’t quite for me (now I sound like a jerk who didn’t want to do community service lol).

3. Don’t forget why you went to college.

I remember taking one of my first college tests, and getting a D. It was a wakeup call for me. This isn’t high school where you can get by doing the bare minimum, so you may have to adjust your study habits. There will always be an event (or seven) going on, so practice time management in balancing work and play. You want to have fun in college, but you also want to eventually leave college with a degree, preferably in 4 years or so. So go to class, do well, and stay away from 8am classes. I know, you had to get up at 5am to get to your high school, but this is different, trust me.

4. Stop going home so often.

You’ve never been this far from home, for this long; I get it, you’re lonely. But I assure you, you won’t make any friends if you’re running home every time you get the chance. It’s difficult being in a new place and not knowing very many people, if any. It’s okay to miss your family and friends. It’s okay to cry about it. And after you’ve done that, wipe your tears and go to the interest meeting of that Art Club or the Black Student Union you saw a flyer about.

5. Try to make the best of it with your roommate(s).

I have had 10 different roommates, none of which I knew prior to living with them, and of the 10 only one was strange. If I can get through it, so can you! It is important to let your roommate(s) know your pet peeves as soon as you move in together, whether that’s dishes in the sink, using your stuff without asking, or never taking out the trash; make them aware and be sure you know what theirs are. You won’t live with this person forever, so don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t think you’re going to die if he/she leaves their shoes by the door. If you do need to voice a concern, do so in a manner that is direct and clear. Don’t leave sticky notes and I would caution against text messages if y’all not cool like that. Do exchange numbers, you never know when you might need their help. If worst comes to worse, keep it respectful with a casual hi/bye (if you happen to be in the living room when I’m walking in/out the door) and live life.

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Always repping my squad #gonoles #fsu #ibleedgarnetandgold

Check back next week for Part 2!