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The College Adventure Handbook
By Rob Stennett Joseph P. Kirkendall III
ZondervanCopyright © 2011 Rob Stennett and Joseph P. Kirkendall III
All right reserved.
Chapter One(PREREQUISITE 1: TYPES OF COLLEGE STUDENTS)
BEFORE YOU BEGIN READING "INCOMING SITUATIONS" ...
YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT COLLEGE IS A TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT.
Scary, isn't it? But there are some limiting factors. You won't suddenly be able to dunk a basketball or fit into any pair of jeans you want. But you can control how you present yourself and what you spend your time doing because you get to start a new life.
A lot of new college students look at this unique opportunity as being frightening. They think, I'm not going to know anyone. I won't have any friends. Nonsense! Friends are easy to make (see situation 107).
Starting college is a gift — it's one of the few times in life when everyone has a blank slate and can put whatever they want on it. This is exactly why you should be thinking, I can be anyone I want to be.
You couldn't make a new start in high school because everyone remembers how you threw up on the kickball field in second grade. Or if you moved around a lot while you were growing up, then you were always known as "the new kid." But in college, every freshman on campus is the new kid. So the question you need to ask yourself is, Who do I want to be?
To help you answer that, we're now going to describe some different types of college students. You may really identify with one of these types. You may even be a blend of some of them. For the purpose of this book, we've broken it down into four categories: The President, the Romeo or Juliet, the Artist, and the Homework Worm.
Everyone's mom says something like, "Honey, you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. You can even be the president of the United States." Most of us probably thought this was just something cheesy our moms said to us because they had to. But the President type of college student believed her mom.
So she relentlessly pursues her dreams. Oftentimes these dreams don't actually entail becoming president of the United States. But it's usually something ambitious — such as becoming a brain surgeon, an astronaut, or a Supreme Court justice. She networks with people all the time. She has a double major. She takes several classes beyond a full course load. She plans to graduate in three years (two and a half if she takes summer classes). Next comes law school. And then it's on to becoming the ruler of the free world.
The Good: If you're the President, you have clear goals and know what you want out of life. You're focused, determined, and ready to do whatever it takes to be successful.
The Bad: College is about more than just networking for the future or getting your resume ready for grad school and a career. Sometimes you can be so focused on the end result that you don't make time for friendships or experiencing the fun of college. You'll regret not doing these things. So study hard and then go with your friends to swim in the fountains by the food court.
THE ROMEO OR JULIET
It's not who you are, it's who you date. This is the governing philosophy of the Romeo or Juliet. They do normal things, such as going to class, but during the lecture they're most likely scanning the room for potential relationships. If this is you, then you probably tried out for your high school's stage production of The Notebook because you heard there's a kissing scene halfway through.
There are varying degrees of the Romeo/Juliet. Some fall in love at first sight, believing that every person they lay eyes on is the One. If this is you, then you might tell your friend, "He's perfect. He'd make an awesome study partner." But really you're thinking, He'd make an awesome husband! And you can easily imagine the two of you taking a honeymoon trip to Maui and making pancakes together on Saturday mornings — all because he said hi to you in chemistry lab.
The Good: Friday nights are never boring.
The Bad: Two words: Relationship drama. When you're Romeo or Juliet, so many of your conversations with friends revolve around questions like these: "Why didn't he call me back?" "Do you think she really likes me?" "Do you think we should be exclusive? Or should we see other people? Should we see other people every other Friday?"
You'll notice that your friends quickly stop caring about your drama. Obviously dating is an important part of college life. (We'll have a lot more about this in the Dating Situations section.) But finding that special someone isn't the only part of college life. So don't let yourself become consumed with it.
High school students who are really into the arts can often be outcasts. Those who spend all of their time with the theater group or the band frequently find themselves the butt of every band-camp joke and without prom dates.
But in college this gets completely turned around. Suddenly the Artist couldn't be more hip. People think it's edgy that he doesn't wear shoes (or deodorant). In high school you'd either get laughed at or everyone would be unimpressed by your filmmaking efforts. Yet this skill can be totally valued — even worshiped — in college. You can say things like, "I think of my life as one long film," and circles of people will gobble it up. Seriously.
You see, when you're the Artist, your art defines you. You always talk about the new project — song, painting, film — you're working on. And you start using pretentious phrases, such as "the human condition," while everyone oohs and ahhs as though you're Socrates' long lost son.
The Good: If you're the Artist, then you're putting your creativity to good use. And college is the perfect place to develop your passion for music, film, or art. You can find friends, professors, and classes to push you and make you better in your creative endeavors. And if you're talented enough and make the right connections with peers and professors, then it's even possible that your art could pave a way for your career.
The Bad: Sure, the Artist goes to class, but the whole time he's dreaming of black-and-white photography and acoustic guitar riffs for his next song. Much like the Romeo or Juliet, if you're the Artist you might be solely defined by your latest project, which makes you moody and melancholy. You can get crazy when you feel as though your project isn't going the way you want it to or when you face rejection. Perhaps your painting didn't make it into the gallery showing, or your short film wasn't chosen for the festival, or maybe your band didn't get picked to play during the homecoming festivities out on the lawn. You're going to be okay. Rejection is part of putting your art out there, which is why you can't let it be the sole thing that defines you.
THE HOMEWORK WORM
The Homework Worm goes to class and then right back to her dorm-room-cave. If this is you, then your peers look up to you. Or at least they think you're the smartest student in the class. You've actually read the book and done the home-work. And usually you hate group projects because you end up doing most of the work yourself.
But the problem for the Homework Worm is that the classroom is all that matters to her. She knows there's more to college than classes — in theory, anyway. But she can't help but think, If it won't help my grade, then why bother?
The Good: If you're the Homework Worm, you'll get good grades on tests and projects that involve only you. And you'll have plenty of time to play video games or watch movies by yourself — if you can keep from studying ahead.
The Bad: It might surprise you to know that after their first year, students like the Homework Worm drop out of college like flies. The emotional stress of not having any relational support isolates a student, which leads to homesickness. And a socially isolated college student is potentially the unhealthiest type of all.
If you find yourself becoming the Homework Worm, please — for your own good — read the rest of this book. And pay special attention to situations 107 (coping with loneliness at college) and 301 (getting a smoking hot Christian boyfriend or girlfriend). Nothing deters you from homework like a smoking hot girlfriend or boyfriend. But don't get too deterred, otherwise you'll need to refer to situation 402 (what to do if you're failing a class).
Excerpted from The College Adventure Handbook by Rob Stennett Joseph P. Kirkendall III Copyright © 2011 by Rob Stennett and Joseph P. Kirkendall III. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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