Senior-itis is a real phenomenon. It’s that feeling of walking into your first day of 12th grade still exhausted from your last day of 11th grade. All the homework, pep rallies, relational drama, prom, athletic practices, banquets, late nights, early mornings… At one level, you love it. At another level, you just want out. I went to a private school from Pre-K to 12th grade and absolutely loved it. Still every school has its pros and cons. Upside: being small, we were a close-knit family and the teachers knew each child personally and intimately. The downside? If you got stuck with a label, reputation or stereotype, it was hard to shake. You couldn’t just grab a new group of friends and rebrand yourself. Translation: graduation couldn’t come fast enough.
I later realized that deep beneath the longing for graduation day was a desire for something much more:
A CLEAN SLATE. A FRESH START.
A place where you get to make your own choices and no one knows what you did back in 10th grade. A season where you get to choose who you want to be and who you want to live life with.
Enter college! That magical four year world filled with intramurals, meal plans, leadership organizations and classes you actually want to take. The world says you’re not quite an adult yet so you should soak up the typical college experience and live life to the fullest. But having been a college pastor for eight years, here’s what I know:
The decisions you make during college will set the course for the rest of your life.
So in order to not repeat your high school-itis, here’s a quick list of things all college students (from freshman to senior) need to hear as day one of school approaches.
1. Choose Wisely
It’s true: YOUR FRIENDS ARE A PREVIEW OF THE FUTURE YOU. I can tell who you are going to be someday by looking at the friends you are hanging out with right now. If you want to reach a godly destination, pick some friends who are going there with or without you.
2. Ditch the Sin Experiment
I meet so many students who say they started college with a desire to “just have a little fun for a little while.” They’ll visit parties or hook up with some guy/girl…because it’s “just for a little while.” I recently met a few guys starting their senior year who told me: “We just realized that the world will call us adults in nine months time. How do we make up for the last three years of living for ourselves?” Don’t be those guys. But if you have been, your answer lies in #3.
3. Make it Your Personal Mission to Destroy FOMO
In an attempt to not miss out on anything, you will be tempted to commit to nothing. The basic college route calls you to hop around to different churches and bounce in and out of anything asking you for a commitment. When Jesus came to Peter, He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:20 says, “Immediately, they left their nets and followed Him.” My challenge to you is to get into a Lifegroup and pursue discipleship and accountability that will push you to Jesus. ASAP. This is where you will encounter God personally and where you will find a fresh start – a clean slate – waiting for you.
This is your shot and you only get four years (ok, some of you get five). In the meantime, remember what 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Or as Hillsong’s newest song Empires says:
Beneath our skin
A new creation
The night is done
Our chains are broken
The time as come
The wait is over
The King is here
AND HIS NAME IS JESUS
That promise is for you. Don’t waste it.
Carl Gulleyl, College Pastor