We are halfway through the first semester for this year’s college freshmen. They’ve had orientations, time to settle in, mid-terms, maybe a Fall Break, and roommate adjustments. And they’ve met all their professors. So it’s time for some advice. This link is to an article from the NYTimes and the info is generally good. It’s written by a college teacher who has her own regrets.
I, also, have some regrets. I didn’t party and I studied way more than enough, but I wish I had been more involved with a church and done some community service work. I didn’t do anything outside of simply going to church.
I think God also has some advice in Ecclesiastes. After the writer, the Philosopher, has evaluated all of life, and sees the mistakes he has made, he ends the book with “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (12:12) You’re going to have to study in college: that’s what you’re there for. But studying can be endless. How can you ever read all the books or study a subject completely? You have to decide what’s reasonable, and do what the Philosopher says next, “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole of man.” 12:13. That’s kind of an odd little phrase, but that’s what the Hebrew literally says, this is the whole of man. You could be the wisest person in the world, and that’s what the Philosopher is, but it’s not really all about the knowledge or wisdom or position that comes with that advanced degree. Life is really all about following God. College or no college, social life or not – the whole of man, our purpose and fulfillment, is found in following and obeying God.
Deciding to do that, figuring out how to do that, and, often, doing it essentially alone, is one of the greatest challenges of college. But it establishes patterns for life.