by Carrie Black
We’ve all seen articles during the summer informing high school graduates of the joys and trials they will face in their first year of college, offering generic advice on how to tackle that introductory year of independence. In my first year here at Concordia, I have definitely learned a lot, one of the biggest things being that Concordia is not an average university, and first year students won’t fit under the umbrella of generic advice. Concordia University, Nebraska is an incredibly special community, and I truly believe the students here have radically different, God-filled experiences, especially in their first year. So here are my thoughts into the insights on what you should know before stepping on this beautiful campus that you may soon call home.
- Go the first time. I’m a huge advocate for all the things that can build you up spiritually, both on and off campus. I also strongly believe that the easiest way to get involved with these things is to be there the first time they happen. Go to chapel that first Monday, to praise the first Wednesday, to church the first Sunday. This can apply to other things too, such as sports games or LAUNCH activities. If you get involved right off the bat, it’s much easier to form habits and be involved a second, third, fourth time, and so on. Along with getting involved, too, comes a deeper inclusion into the community – family – of this campus. You get to meet people, know people, and grow with people.
- It’s okay if you’re not Lutheran. This isn’t exactly advice so much as a statement made to help comfort you. Concordia is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and a good portion of the students here identify with the LCMS as well. But when it comes down to it, this campus is full of people who simply love Jesus. And Jesus unites. With that being said,
- Be bold with who you are and with your faith. This truly is a campus filled with Jesus-loving people who are open to having conversations about faith, the simplicities and complexities alike, people who are willing to pray with you and continue praying for you. Even if it’s just with one or two people, be open, be bold and vulnerable, be real. There is something quite beautiful about a Christian community, and all of us here have the opportunity to be involved in that every day. So, take part.
There are other little bits of information that aren’t necessarily advice, more just nuggets of wisdom that are helpful to know coming to Concordia as a freshman:
- SLO stands for Student Life Office. This seems like a pretty “duh” statement for current students, but a certain freshman, who I will keep nameless here, thought for a good month or so that SLO was a person, because people on campus would always say, “just ask SLO,” or “I’m sure SLO has one.” So now you can avoid that mistake.
- Complaining is an easy option, but when it comes to Janzow, we are truly blessed by God through those who work and through the fact that we do have food to eat. Complain if you wish, but know you are truly blessed.
- Bulldog Bucks don’t transfer semester to semester. So take advantage, use them up before the end of each semester, and maybe even buy a stranger coffee and make a new friend.
- Your professors love you. That’s why they are here. They want to help you and walk alongside you. They are for your education and not against you. Sometimes it’s hard to see it, but this fact is always true.
I could go on and on with hints and tips for you freshies; however, everyone’s experience will be different. There is no cookie cutter way to navigate through freshman year. But there is one constant that has been and will always be steady and faithful, and that is, as Pastor Matthias so often says, that Jesus lives and He always will. In these words, hope is resurrected, rest is found, and love is seen. He is sufficient in the places where all earthly advice falls short. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.