What I wish someone had told me about college

STUDENT MINISTRY | Alex Acuna | 3 mins

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I asked my friends, “What lies did you believe about college?”

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I wish someone had told me that red solo cups, football games, and all-nighters were not the whole story—that college is more than that. It’s a time of discovery and a time of heartache and a time of growth. So, I polled a lot of my friends and put a list together of the most common lies we believed about college:

LIE #1: I’m the only one experiencing this
Most of my friends did the confused walk around campus with our maps fluttering in the wind. We’ve all had to deal with the funny looks. We’ve all got lost. We’ve all sat through an entire class we weren’t supposed to be in.

LIE #2: I’m an adult. I don’t need to ask for help
I’m convinced NASA puts less effort into launching a rocket than I put into navigating financial aid services. You are not less of an adult for asking someone to guide you into the world’s Least User Friendly Website.

LIE #3: The major I choose decides the outcome of my life
Although the major you choose can equip you to go into a certain field, it is not your destiny. There’s no shame in deciding to take a different path. Not everyone is created to be a chemical engineer— despite what your guidance counselor may say.

LIE #4: The only way to make friends is to say yes to everything
If I said yes to everything, there is a good chance I’d be in jail by now. I think a better rule to live by is, “If it’s not illegal or my mom’s birthday, I’ll say yes.” There is a time and place for trying something new, and there IS value in saying no. Life-giving community can only come when there are boundaries and intentional conversations.

LIE #5: You have to choose: Jesus or …
The easiest and most dangerous lie I believed is that Jesus couldn’t meet me where I was—that when I chose anything over Jesus, there was an impassable chasm between me and him. But where we think there’s an OR, Jesus puts an AND. He isn’t held back by my mistakes. He actually came to bridge that gap so that I could have life. He meets me in the suck and rewrites failures into victories. I wish I had known earlier that it’s Jesus AND broken relationships, Jesus AND my failures—and that he isn’t content to let me stay broken.

Stepping back from these lies, what are we left with? College. Just four years. The chance to dive deep into knowledge and to build life-changing friendships. The freedom to make mistakes and to learn from them. Shame tries to take any mistake and drag you down with it. The good news? We have a God that says His power works best in our weaknesses (2 Corinthains 12:9).

The truth is: College can be a springboard into life’s best promises. We don’t have to let it make us feel inferior.


Written by

Alex Acuna

College student, music-lover, and milk-drinker. A beloved son.

Published on May 28, 2020