I’m almost there. Praise God, I’m almost there! After years of reading textbooks, taking tests, writing essays, listening to lectures, talking with advisors, and interacting with students from all over the world, I’ll finally be able to experience the joy of graduating from college. It’s been a long journey. I began my part-time college education at Ivy Tech in the fall semester of 2007 and then transferred to IUPUI spring 2014. Through my years of schooling, I’ve developed simple strategies that have helped me excel in college, and I want to share four of them with you. I call these ‘habits’ because they’re actions you must get used to repeating in every course.
In this first blog post, I’ll share two of them, and in my next post, I’ll share the other two. These habits, if developed, will not only help you perform well in your courses, but will also help you fulfill Impact’s mission of spreading God’s kingdom by pursuing God, modeling his teachings, and teaching others about His glory.
Habit #1: Make Organization a Priority
Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
Though the above verse from the book of Corinthians is focusing on organization in Christian assemblies, one truth about God can be gleaned from it: God values order. God never works haphazardly. Even when human free will is factored into God’s providence, everything happens according to His divine will. God is organized, and because He made us in His image, He expects us to be organized as well.
There were several ways I got and remained organized throughout my time in college. I set up a consistent time to study. I found a place, usually my room or a break room at my job site, where I could study without much distraction. I tried to get most of my assignments done as early as I could. And whenever I was overwhelmed with a large number of assignments, I made detailed lists of tasks I needed to complete and followed that list closely.
As I did all of this, I balanced my part-time college life with a full-time evening job at the Eli Lilly Technology Center. I did this by choosing classes that took place in the mornings. To complete my assignments on time, I would devote at least three hours on days that I didn’t have class to completing the assignments I had to complete each week. On the weekends, I devoted Saturday mornings, sometimes Saturday evenings, and Sunday evenings to completing assignments. By organizing my life this way for the many years I’ve been in college, I’ve been able to excel in nearly all of my courses.
Habit #2: Find a support group
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
This passage shows us the importance of having companions to help us through the difficulties of life. I can’t begin to explain the importance of having a support group in college. It’s nearly impossible to go through something as challenging as college alone. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit never accomplish anything on their own, so too will you never accomplish anything in college on your own. We have families, friends, and churches who can provide us with encouragement and advice. If, God forbid, we don’t have any of these, we have an entire campus of men and women who are eager to encourage, advise, and befriend us. Impact itself serves this purpose.
During my years in college, my family has served as my primary support group. Yet among all of my family members, my mother has been my greatest source of encouragement. From helping me realize that I shouldn’t compare myself to other students to simply listening to me talk about what goes on in my classes, she’s helped me remain optimistic through the most difficult courses I’ve had in college.
By making organization a priority, you will reflect God’s own orderliness and show your classmates that you value the education with which God is blessing you. By finding and interacting with a support group, especially one like Impact, you’ll reflect God’s triune character by reaching your goals not on your own but within a community. The light of Christ that you shine through your orderliness and through the strong friendships you have with your family, friends, church, or those on campus can be attractive to those who don’t share your faith. You can use the light they see in you to attract them to Christ.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how persevering through hardships and remaining faithful to God are two other ways you can excel in college.
Jacob Stubbs, Guest Writer, IUPUI Student