3 Ways You Grow at College

Why go to college? Isn’t it obvious? A degree, right? Well, a degree is, of course, a huge part of college. But most graduates admit that what they learn from college is so much more than academic. The college experience (especially on campus) pushes students to grow personally. And the list of ways that college can grow a person is expansive—from keeping your room clean to keeping your schedule clean. Here are just three ways: 

Independence

By and large, students coming to college are used to having much of their life provided for by their parents. Often, students don’t realize how much until they find themselves wholly responsible for their own finances, time, and decisions. The result: college grows independence. 

For example, college offers a vast array of choices: whether to be on a sports team, whether to try out for the spring play, even whether to get a full night’s sleep or finish off tomorrow’s homework. Because of Maranatha’s focus on servant leadership, the university also offers dozens of choices for what ministries to be involved in. As Caeley Griffith, a senior at Maranatha, notes, “There are different ministries on campus that you get to choose to be a part of. And no one’s forcing your arm to say, ‘Hey, this is the type of person you need to be. You need to go in this direction.’ Ministry-wise, you get to choose.” Because of the freedom offered, college teaches you to think and act independently. Growing in that independence is one of the great benefits of college. 

Personal Standards

College is a melting pot of personalities and ideas. Often, a student comes to college with certain ideas, beliefs, and standards that have never been tested. The college experience is the testing ground. College forces students to answer the question, “Which of my standards are really mine?” Eventually, students have to make their standards personal. While this process can be difficult, defining personal standards is beneficial, if done with wisdom and prayer. It’s a necessary part of becoming an adult. 

What types of standards do you set at college? Everything from how to clean your room to who to date. One example is what kind of close friends to make. Griffith explains of her time at college, “In the realm of friendships, you make standards for who you can help and who you can’t help–who should help you and who shouldn’t. You can’t be close friends with everyone. That’s not feasible. So you set standards in your mind of what type of people you want to be a part of.” The melting pot of college is a wonderful time to begin setting personal standards. 

Relationships

Sit a college student or two down and listen to them talk. Perhaps you’ll hear them discuss some of their classes or homework projects. Maybe they’ll talk about too little time or too little sleep. But more than anything else, they’ll talk about people. The greatest blessing and challenge of college is relationships. Growing to be more independent and to set personal standards is important, but growing in friendships can be even more important. 

At college, you share a room with people, live in a dorm of people, go to classes with people, eat lunch with people. There is no end of opportunities to develop new relationships and strengthen old friendships at college. Of course, this growth is not unique to college life, but college certainly forces you to grow in this area. For some, college is the first time to develop new friendships with people similar to them. And for most, those relationships are never forgotten. 

Overall, while college is a time to grow academically, it is also a time grow personally in independence, personal standards, and relationships. But be careful. Unfortunately, college can also make a person feel independent even of God with standards that don’t match the Bible while developing selfish relationships. Let college grow you, but look to God the whole way through and surround your college experience with those who will point you to God and His word in all that you do.