First of all, I want to tell you to please, please, please cut your hair…you look like a cross between Ellen DeGeneres and Owen Wilson. Next, I want to give you some important advice as you start your college journey from the future (spooky).
- It’s ok not know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Dude, you’re 18, chill. I know you’re going to meet some people who seem like they have the rest of their lives up to retirement figured out and that’s cool, but it’s ok for you to not know. Explore. Dabble. Take that elective that sounds interesting. College is an important time to figure out who you are and the best way to do that is to figure out what brings you joy, following that path until you find the classes you look forward to taking.
- Find a campus ministry…quick. I know what you’re thinking, but listen, all campus ministries are not the same and I promise there’s one out their gracious and spacious enough for your questions, doubts, and fears about God. Don’t ignore campus ministries if you have a bad experience with one, just try a different one. If you find a campus ministry that wants you to conform to how they understand God, run. If you find a campus ministry that welcomes and includes you, asks you how you understand God, and gives you space to wrestle with and grow in your faith, you’re probably in a UKirk, so stay. Think about things that are important to you and ask the leaders of the campus ministry: Can women be leaders here? You’re cool with science, right? Are you welcoming and inclusive to the LGBT community? If they can’t answer these questions, it’s probably best to find a community that can answer them in ways that are consistent with your core beliefs. Again, and I can’t stress this enough…all campus ministries are not the same and I promise you can find your place in one.
3. On that note, find a church home, too! You know how you miss your mom and wish you had someone who really cared about how you were doing? Yeah, I know. Church families do that, so look for a church that you feel welcomed in and worship with folks who are older and younger than you, they have so much to teach you about God and God’s world.
4. Finally, enjoy your time and be present in it. I know you don’t have smartphones (you’ll learn about those later) and Myspace is awfully alluring but be as present as possible during the amazing privilege of going to college. So many don’t have the opportunity to explore and learn about who they are and find their educational passions, but that’s what you get in college. Graduate school? Meh, worry about that later. Perfect GPA? Just try to enjoy the classes. Try to be present and grateful for where you are (not wondering where you will end up).
I hope this letter helps you along the journey. College is such an amazing privilege and I hope that you can use this advice to have a better experience than you had when you were…oh, no. Wait, is this going to cause a time paradox? Uh oh. I feel myself fading…
Andy (14 years later)