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What Your College Student Wants You to Know... But Can't Tell You

  • Please do not ask me if I’m dating. The question in itself insinuates that I should be. I likely have no control over whether I am, as there are many students on this campus who will never date during their four years at Gordon. College is by no means the last place I will have the opportunity to meet a Christian.
  • Please do not tell me to hang out with more guys/girls in order to “put myself out there.” See above.
  • Please let me focus on who I’m becoming and the identity I’m trying to solidify.
  • Please don’t be another voice telling me who or what I need to be. It’s important that I determine this on my own.
  • Please remember that everything I'm learning is requiring me to rethink what I already know, ask me to share this with you.
  • Ask me what's hard about being at college and just listen, don't try to fix it or determine whether I'm making poorer choices than I'm letting on. Listen and ask me how you can support me.
  • Please don't ask me if I'm going to class or getting good grades. Whether I tell you the truth or lie to you about this, I will bear the natural consequences of this. If I reveal a problem or a tough spot I've gotten myself into, ask me what I'm thinking about how to address the issue.
  • Please don't ask how many hours of video games I'm playing, but do ask me if I'm getting enough sleep, exercise, finding time to get my work done, hang out with friends and eat well. Again, it will likely catch up with me if I’m not managing my time well, but when those natural consequences come I will contend with them, rather than focusing energy on making sure you don’t find out.
  • If you expect me to pay off my loans after school is over, please make sure I'm clear about this so that I can make informed decisions about financial planning now.
  • Remember that my mistakes are my own; they aren't a reflection of you, and they are part of a necessary process of growth and maturation.
  • Be patient with me, with my mistakes, with the days where I act like I know everything, or the days I don't want you to ask about anything. These years are challenging years filled with anxiety, constant transition, constant demands, shifting support groups, challenging living situations, and performance-based appraisal everywhere I turn. It can be lonely to sift through what I've known, what I am learning, and who I want to be as I discover more fully my talents, gifts, values, and my desires for how I will invest these during my life.
  • Lastly, please teach my younger siblings how to be independent and work hard now. Teach them how to balance a check book, how to do their own laundry--start to finish, how to cook a meal--from the shopping to the cleanup, teach them time management, conflict resolution, anything that helps them to feel confident about their ability to move through the world independently and with grit. When you teach them these things, it tells them you trust them and you believe they are able to do these things. Hard work always produces resilience.
  • Teach my siblings to lean into discomfort, and value what is challenging. Help them to learn to tolerate, not avoid what is scary and uncomfortable and to assert themselves with others in healthy and appropriate ways.