How I Survived My Freshman Year of College at 16

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I nervously sat across from the admissions counselor at the café of the local university.

As a 15-year-old, I was terrified. What if I couldn’t handle the college load? What if the college-age kids thought I was weird and immature? What if I couldn’t find my classroom? So many thoughts whirled through my head as I listened to the counselor talk about all my options.

Fast-forward a few months, and I’m nervously sitting in a college classroom wearing my new sweater and worrying what everyone thinks of me. I’m 16 by now, and still feeling completely incapable of taking on my freshman year of college and junior year of high school all at once. I was so consumed with myself and what people thought of me, when the reality was most people did not even notice that I was there. I was so worried that I wasn’t smart enough to keep up with the classes, when the reality was I just had to get used to the new dynamic. Looking back, I realize that there was absolutely nothing to worry about.

My first day of college was a year ago. Last Monday, I walked into my first class of the new semester without an ounce of nerves or worry. I could’ve never imagined this time last year all that I would learn and experience. Starting college early is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here are some of the biggest lessons I have learned throughout this past year.

  • Hard work is worth more than being “really smart.”

People constantly assume that since I started college early I’m incredibly smart. This is a myth. I’m simply a hard worker. College is hard, but I know that I am up to the challenge because God requires me to do everything to the best of my ability. I have Colossians 3:23-24 written on the inside cover of my binder to remind me of this. Hard work pays off.

  • God created each of us differently and we should not be ashamed of that.

The temptation for someone like me, who is younger than my peers, is to try to gain their approval somehow. Slowly but surely, college has been teaching me that God made me ME, not anyone else. Constantly comparing myself to others is quite tiring, not to mention sinful. College has increased my confidence in who God created me to be.

  • There is so much to learn!

I absolutely love to learn. College opened my eyes to everything that there is so learn in this world, and it made me hungry to know more! However, it also taught me that I cannot possibly know everything. This seems obvious, since God is the only One Who knows everything; however, for a perfectionist, this is something that I’ve had to struggle against.

  • God must be a priority.

I go to a Christian university. I am surrounded by the Bible all the time, but I have learned that this must not replace my personal time with God. Speaking of priorities…

  • Prioritizing is key.

Choose which things are the most important to you, and get rid of everything else. For me, this includes only working during the summer, getting up early to read my Bible, and not making any commitments on Sundays.

  • Without my planner, I would have failed all of my classes.

Being organized in college is essential. Late assignments do not get good grades, even if it is quality work.

These are only a few of the many lessons I have learned since started college at the age of 16. These things are important for every student, regardless of your age or grade. Remember to keep Christ in the forefront of your life this school year and I assure you that it will be the best one yet.

 

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