3…2…1… Liftoff! The essential EU Launch survival guide
August 5, 2014 | Ian Richardson
Hello, incoming Evangel students. My name is Ian Richardson, and I am a sophomore majoring in English. A year ago I was right in your shoes. I’d made it through the application process, the campus visits, the scholarship applications and the back-to-school shopping. I stood poised on the brink of the unknown, ready to face the final frontier of college preparation: EU Launch.
As I prepared to journey from my hometown of Afton, Iowa, and move into Scott Hall, I have to admit that there were a few nervous butterflies orbiting in my stomach. Sure, I’d been apart from my parents before. I’d done sleepovers, church camps and even an AIM trip to Russia, but this was going to be different. I was actually moving to this alien environment, and I was going to be apart from my family and friends for longer than I had ever had to be apart from them before.
Shortly after I stepped onto the campus, however, Evangel began to feel like a home away from home. The people I met were so helpful, accepting and genuine that they made the transition easier than I ever thought it would be. In the following weeks my college adventure took off. I developed several new relationships, learned loads of new information and found my relationship with God maturing as well.
One year later, as you prepare to make the same journey, I want to encourage you that you are going to find a wonderful new world open up as you move into Evangel.
EU Launch is going to be your first taste of what you will experience in the months ahead. There’s a good chance that you have some questions and uncertainties, so with T-minus12 days and counting, I have compiled a list of eight tips to help you have the best EU Launch experience ever. The countdown begins … now:
8. Remember that everyone else is in the same boat as you.
Unless all of your friends are coming to college with you, you will probably be finding a new circle of friends on campus. You might experience some lonely moments during the first few weeks of classes, even after you start making new friends. I know I did. But realize that everyone else is going through the same thing. Take this opportunity to make some great new friends. You will find it a lot more fun if you are lonely together. Reach out to others, and you may find that you are just what they need too.
7. It’s going to take time to remember everyone’s name.
Probably at some point during the week someone you know you’ve met before will start a conversation with you, but you’ll draw a complete blank on who they are or where you’ve seen them. Don’t be afraid to re-ask or re-re-ask someone’s name. Chances are they’ve had to do the same exact thing. If it helps any, there were some names that I didn’t have straight even into my second semester.
6. Awkward moments can happen to anyone.
Attempted discussions with people you’ve never met before can bring about some uncomfortable moments. Awkward pauses, conversational dead-ends and embarrassing statements come with the territory, so don’t sweat it. I definitely experienced all of these things during the first few days. Many of my friends have since told me that they did too. Like I said before, everyone’s in the same boat. Don’t let a few awkward moments get you down.
5. Embrace the activities.
EU Launch offers numerous activities to help you acclimate yourself to the new environment. There will be games, meet and greets and informational sessions galore. All of these are helpful in their own way. Not all of them may sound exciting, but give them a chance, especially the informational sessions. They will teach you a lot about what Evangel offers, information that will come in handy as you progress through the year. Also, the more activities you attend, the more chances you will get to meet new people. If you come into the activities with a positive, open mind, you are almost guaranteed to have a great time.
4. EU Launch is only the beginning.
In the coming year at Evangel you are going to have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people who share your interests, passions and talents. Throughout the year you will find some great new friends in your residence hall, in your department and in your classes. If the first few people you meet at EU Launch don’t resonate with you, don’t get discouraged. The weeks that follow will bring many new people across your path, and you will have so many more chances to establish some strong, lasting relationships.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You quite possibly will have some questions about your new environment, and EU Launch is the perfect time for you to get everything straightened out. One of the especially great things about Evangel is how willing everyone is to help you. Staff, Launch Leaders, RAs and other returning students will be more than happy to assist you with your problems. Don’t let something go unresolved just because it sounds like a stupid question. There is no such thing.
2. Stay connected.
One of the greatest things that helped me during the acclimation process was to maintain the close relationships that I had with my family. Email, Facebook, cell phones and Skype are just a few of the wonderful ways that you can stay connected with the people you care about, no matter how many miles away they may be. In a world where you are trying to form so many new relationships, having the constancy of those old ones will give you strength.
1. Stay grounded.
Speaking of strength, the most important relationship to keep up is the one you have with your Heavenly Father. Surroundings, friends and routines will all change, but don’t let Jesus get lost in the shuffle. College is an important time for making your faith your own. Instead of drifting away, draw closer to Him. In a world of changes, He remains the same yesterday, today and forever, and He will always be there for you.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully these pointers will get your year off to a great start. Enjoy this new adventure. Embrace the vast unknown. You’re prepared for it. I’m excited for you and looking forward to seeing you on campus.