5 Tips for College Graduates

UM GraduationOne of the joys we have at HMCC is being able to invest in college students.  They will be the next generation of world leaders, and we get to see many of their lives transformed during their time on a college campus.

At the same time, I’ve watched as a lot of students graduate from college and struggle with the transition to single adult life.  This is a hard transition for anyone, but perhaps even more so when someone has been part of an immersive spiritual community during their college years.

Knowing how difficult these changes can be, I have a few tips to share with you to help navigate the struggle.

  1. Own your spiritual health.  One of the blessings of our college ministry is that there is a lot of structure and accountability to help undergrad students grow spiritually.  This is very beneficial, and I’ve previously likened it to going through boot camp.  The thing is, at some point you have to move on.  You won’t always have someone there to make sure you’re reading the Bible or spending time in prayer.  You won’t always be able to hang out with your LIFE Group every day of the week.  You’ll need to take ownership of your spiritual health, because nobody else will.
  2. Focus on what’s ahead.  Reflecting on your days in college is great, and you’ll probably be reminiscing about it for the rest of your life.  But if you don’t focus on what’s ahead, you can easily sink into an unhealthy nostalgia that actually hinders your future growth.  Complaining about how you can’t hang out til 2AM anymore, or how it’s harder to connect with people when you aren’t stacked on top of each other in apartments won’t do anything to help you move forward in life.  Acknowledge that your college years are behind you, thank God for what He did during that time, and look ahead to the new lessons and experiences He has planned for your future.
  3. Dive into a new community.  One aspect of looking ahead is realizing that you’ll need to develop new friendships.  Your college friends will end up all over the world, and wherever you find yourself, you’ll need to immerse yourself in a new spiritual community to help you grow and invest yourself in.  You don’t need to ditch the close friends you made in college, but holding out on building a new community won’t help you or anyone else.
  4. Context is flexible.  Purpose is constant.  Recognize that what you experienced during your college years was a very specific, isolated context which you will likely never find anywhere else.  You don’t want to end up like Will Ferrell in Old School, thinking that real life is only found by returning to campus.  Context changes, so hold it loosely.  But your purpose should remain the same.  Whatever new context God places you in, you can still grow spiritually, serve God, share your faith, and be part of transforming the world.  Don’t let your sense of purpose be dictated by where you are.  Let your purpose direct how you approach your new job, city, or neighborhood, and God will show you that He has decades of testimonies waiting for you to discover them.
  5. Enjoy yourself.  Personally, I loved starting working life.  If you are resolved to enjoy the new opportunities and relationships in front of you, there is a lot of fun you can discover in your post-college life.  The transition will be challenging, but sometimes facing and overcoming a new challenge can be one of the most fulfilling, enjoyable experiences of your life.

I’m excited for all of this year’s graduates.  Some of you will join our Community ministries at HMCC and continue to grow with us.  Some will move across the world and do incredible things for the Lord.  Wherever God takes you, I pray you will live out the mission you’ve been part of during your time in college.