My top 10 must-haves for college students

August 12th, 2014

Ah, August.

Summer’s winding down as retail store aisles fill up with pencils, markers, and glue. Ask any parent what’s top of their mind these days and I guarantee you’ll get an answer that sounds a lot like this: “back to school!”

Now’s probably not the time to leisurely shop for office supplies because you’re bound to bump into at least a few moms and dads studying that ubiquitous supply list. It’s such an important part of the back to school ritual: shopping for supplies with list in hand, checking off items as you go.

Those of us in higher education give our students back to school lists, too. Sure, incoming freshmen know to bring to campus a desk lamp, mini fridge, and laundry detergent.

But what about those items that every college student needs that never make the list?

And what about those things that are better left behind as these young adults move forward into a new and exciting phase of life?

I’m a University president, and I know a thing or two about campus life. So, I thought I’d create a very special back to school list for new and veteran college students alike. Heed the advice from my list and you’re sure to have the best college year yet.

Top Ten Essentials for College Students—What to Bring and What to Leave at Home:

10. Bring your uniqueness. You’re one of a kind with a special calling God’s given just to you. We want to help you answer it.
9. Leave your mother’s cooking at home. No cafeteria can beat it.
8. Bring your A-game. This is serious stuff and we expect your best effort.
7. Leave your expectation that showing up in class is enough. It isn’t.
6. Bring space for new friends in your life. Don’t forget your old ones, but plan on making lots of new ones.
5. Leave your girlfriend or boyfriend. Long distance dating during college usually doesn’t last.
4. Bring your social courage. Students who sit in their rooms playing solo games are missing the best part of college.
3. Leave your territorial attitude about your bedroom. Sharing living space with others is a whole new deal.
2. Leave your self-doubt. Confidence is waiting for you to show up.

And the number one thing to take to college (besides flip-flops for the shower)?

1. Bring your dreams. We will help you ignite them.

Oh, and it looks like I left off a very important college must-have. And it’s one that undergirds all the others.

While going to college—and enjoying the entire college experience—is certainly a time to forge new independence, remember your roots.

So, bring your history—and your future. Bring your parents’ advice, your pastors’ lessons, and your teachers’ wisdom, and don’t stop writing your story:

• Remember that Mom and Dad are just a phone call away.
• Make sure you get involved in fellowship and Bible study with like-minded believers on campus.
• Learn as much as possible from as many people as possible.

Life won’t always be easy. The college experience will certainly test you from time to time. But when you’re firmly established in your faith, ethics, and goals, you’ll weather the storms, emerging stronger after the winds of trial and temptation try to knock you down.

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