Eight Commandments to Survive College

by Bach Nguyen

I have been described as many different things: funny, good lucking, loyal, athletic, humble, good looking, and so on. But one characteristic that I’ve never been known for is wise. However, over the course of my four years in college, God has taught me many valuable lessons, many of which would have been especially valuable if I had known them before I entered college as a freshman. Here are eight words of wisdom to help collegians succeed and better enjoy their four years in college.

I. Thou shalt find thy church and thy campus ministry, lest you haveth not accountability. I cannot stress the importance of finding a solid church early in your college experience. You must find a church that will spur you to mature as a believer. The church is the divinely ordained setting where believers are able to gather to develop in their spirituality, serve, and acquire accountability. What is additionally beneficial are the various Christian campus ministries located on your campus. These ministries are profitable because they allow you to find brothers and sisters in the faith on your campus. Campus ministries are valuable means to gain accountability and fellowship amongst fellow peers and believers. Cesar acknowledges the benefit of campus ministries saying, “One of the benefits of being part of a campus ministry is to meet fellow Christians in your proximity and lead you towards a local church”.

II. Thou shalt meet new people and evangelize, lest you geteth no friends. Being popular in high school, I pretty much knew everyone. Captain of the Speech and Debate team, president of the Hacky Sack Club, and varsity All American Athlete in… badminton, I found myself with ample opportunity to get to know the majority of the high school students. My status as popular would instantly disappear the moment I stepped onto my college campus as I became unknown to everyone around me. What I came to learn was the importance of meeting new people and making new friends, both Christian and unbelieving. College offers a very unique experience allowing you to always meet new people every day. As believers, we are called to be the salt and light of the world, and as collegians your responsibility as a believer will be to minister to the students on your campus through the sharing of the gospel so that you can boldly proclaim that you are “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believes” (Romans 1:16).

III. Thou shalt not date, lest you falleth into impurity. Movies and media depict college as a haven for sexual promiscuity and the overwhelming truth is that there are multiple temptations that the believer will encounter that will test their purity. Worldly thinking would have us believe in the glorification of premarital sex while completely disregarding the benefits of abstinence and purity. Everyday you will be around those of the opposite sex. You will eat together, go to class together, and even live in close proximity with each other. As a believer coming into college, you must have a firm grip on your purity. It is suggested that you abstain from a dating relationship as your first years in college will test your spirituality in greater ways than you expect and being in a dating relationship has the ability to negatively affect your spiritual growth. Kyle Grindley, a member of the LBC singles group, offers valuable advice suggesting, “Freshmen are more likely to not make the wisest decisions with regards to dating. They often seek zero accountability and little advice from older, more experienced Christians and subsequently compose poor decisions within their relationships”. Your first priority will be to set your foundation of purity and, in turn, will help your relationship in the later future.

IV. Thou shalt go to thy class, lest you faileth. I came into college saying to myself, “I went to class everyday from 8am to 2:30pm in high school, how hard can it be to go to a few one hour classes a day?” How wrong I was. No longer are the days where my dad would wake me up, help me out of my ninja turtle jammies, dress me, make me waffles, and drop me off at school. Apart from still wearing my jammies, college was entirely different. I quickly realized that there was no roll call and no sense of requirement to attend class. I had a new sense of freedom and with that freedom, who was I to choose going to class over say, going to the beach, hanging out with friends, or sleeping in? How quickly I regretted my decision to skip class when my grades dropped, placing me on Academic Probation for a quarter. Edward Yip bluntly states, “God didn’t give us disciplines so that we can slack off”. Your attendance in class is a reflection of how you glorify God through your studies. Additionally, for the most of you, it serves to honor your mother and father who financially support your academic studies. Go to class.

V. Thou shalt not play thy Xbox and Warcraft all day, lest you haveth no friends. I know it’s important for you and your guild to level up your experience points to acquire the Sword of a Thousand Truths so that you can enter the Emerald Hills to fight Borlorn, the Orclord of Morclord to save Elflan, your beloved pixel princess. But grow up. Stop wasting your life in front of that useless video game, unless you want friends named Elfton, Orctore, and Dwarfmar to replace friends who, you know, have a pulse. College isn’t meant to be wasted on purposeless hobbies. You should make the most of your time to invest in the people God has placed around you.

VI. Thou shalt not eat poorly, lest you get fat. I’m from the Bay Area and my knowledge of Mexican food was limited to chalupas and gorditas from my beloved Taco Bell. This would soon change when I entered UCSD as I was introduced to what can only be described as “food fit for kings”. No longer were the days when I yearned for, what I believed to be authentic, Mexican food from Taco Bell. Instead, it was replaced by the wonderfully delicious California Burrito and Pollo Asada fries. Better yet, they were available to me twenty-four hours of the day. But how, you ask, can such a tasty meal deem negative in any way? Not only were these foods taking a toll on my wallet, they were also taking a toll on my weight. I entered college at a healthy 135 pounds. After my first quarter in college, I blossomed to 150 pounds and after my first year in college, I ballooned to 185 pounds. I blame my fifty-pound increase on my poor eating habits. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body”. Your eating habits are a reflection of how you glorify your body. Healthy eating leads to healthy lifestyles and, in turn, aid in a healthy relationship with God.

VII. You shalt go to a gym, lest you get fatter. To many of you, the gym is very intimidating. It is full of sweaty, greasy, grunting men who wouldn’t need to be physical to hurt you but could destroy you simply with their stench. Chances are you are a small, frail, weak, incoming freshman and the closest thing to any physical activity you’ve experienced is running away from bullies stealing your lunch money. Exercise is an inexpensive and great habit to pick up in college. You’ll be in a walking distance to a gym and given ample amount of time in your schedule to find time to exercise. So, put down that Xbox controller and pick up a dumbbell, get off your bed and get on a bench press, and stop working out your mind for a bit and work out those underdeveloped biceps.

VIII. Thou shalt have fun. Finally, not to dismiss the absolute importance of going to class and studying, I do believe that college is meant to be fun and enjoyable. My four years in college were the most enjoyable years of my life. It was a great experience to be constantly around my peers, study together, fail Humanities together, and ultimately serve one another. Enjoy your years here. College grants so many new experiences. Enjoy what San Diego has to offer: the beaches, parks, museums, and sparingly, the California burritos. Your four years will be some of the most memorable years of your life. And if you’re lucky enough, you can follow Ed’s example, and make it five years.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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