by Lauren Simms
The older you get, the more you appreciate the wisdom your Grandpa shares with you over chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel. Although I can’t offer you a delicious plate of carbs, as a proud EU alumnus, I can share with you 7 nuggets of advice that are worth more than any happy meal.
1| Have an open heart. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in writing our plans that we forget we aren’t the One who holds the pen. If God erases your plan and writes in His, rest assured His plan exceeds yours by infinity x 7.
When I entered Evangel, I had no clue what I wanted to major in. Three major changes later and I landed on my calling: Communication Studies. In the process, I had my minor finished, my passions found, and my heart changed for the better.
2| Really, truly listen. Like if your best friend’s boyfriend just broke up with her, or if your roommate just lost his baseball game; listen to understand — not just to respond. When you’re sitting in class, even if you’re past the limit of exhaustion from studying (a.k.a. binge watching Netflix all night with your suitemates), listen to every piece of material … not just what you need to know for the next exam.
Your professors are ridiculously wise; they know what they’re talking about, and they care about you, your success and your future. When you’re thinking, “When will I ever use this information in real life?” I’m here to tell you: there’s a 99% chance that you will.
3| Learn balance. Sort of like a cup of broccoli and a chocolate chip cookie, maintain a healthy balance of spiritual, study and social. Never neglect one for the other, but always keep your focus is in the right place.
4| Go for it. Don’t half do something — whether it’s your relationship with Christ, your laundry, saving for a mission’s trip, or studying for that dreaded Statistics exam, go after it with your whole heart.
“You always get out of something what you put into it.” I’m not entirely sure who said it, but it’s worthy of the framed diploma you’ll hang on your wall after graduation. Let me tell you — the range of emotions you feel at that moment can’t even be put into emojis.
5| Build relationships. With your professors and the staff members. With your roommates and your floor. With your classmates and your teammates. Those relationships that you invest in will be with you for a lifetime.
6| Take advantage of every single opportunity. Whether it’s that alternate chapel, that floor event, that spring break mission’s trip to Africa, or that extra credit assignment that you know will come in handy during midterms.
Research your options, change your mindset, look for opportunities (even those you might not normally take), and go. At the end, you’ll only be sorry for the ones you didn’t take.
7| Document. Throughout your time at Evangel, keep copies of your best work and the things you’re most proud of. Take an annoying amount of pictures. Journal, even if it’s just a paragraph. When memories fail you, these will allow you to reminisce. And maybe shed a few tears.
I could probably go on for another hour, but instead I will challenge you:
When you are staring up at your shining diploma, while memories of your time spent in Zimmerman Hall play in your mind, I hope you smile and think …
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve don —
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Lauren Simms has Jesus by the hand, and He’s leading her heart on a journey that’s full of faith, trust, and -of course – pixie dust.