Saturday, March 12, 2011

Maintaining A Healthy Social Life In College

Three weeks ago I was given the opportunity to speak to the seniors of Jesus Is Lord College Foundation about how to maintain a healthy social life in college. I thought I may as well post a shortened transcript here for anyone who might care to read it. :)

How will college change my social life?

Social life in college will be less stable than in high school, especially if you attend a large university like UP or Ateneo. Your classmates will be unfamiliar and you have to make new friends all the time.

How will those changes affect me?

I think Filipinos like familiarity. Would you agree? We like the idea of having a barkada, a BFF, a tunay na kaibigan, a kapatid. But college is going to challenge your relationships. Chances are, you won’t be seeing your barkada everyday anymore. Not even every week. Maybe not even every semester. With all the schoolwork, the flood of new faces and adjustment to campus life it’s possible that even the best of friends will drift apart. If you live in a dorm, then you’ll be living away from your family. This can definitely be very tough to deal with. Many of you will have to say goodbye to your church family, too.

Now, huwag naman tayong maging OA ditto. Yes, adjustment can be difficult, but it’s also an opportunity to mature. Some of you may even be yearning to make a fresh start with regards to your social life, and certainly, the campus is a great place to do that. You can leave stale relationships behind and make better choices about what kind of friends to have.

So here’s the deal: College will disrupt your relationships. Asahan niyo na ‘yan. But if you face the challenge with wisdom, then things are sure to turn out well.

Two things to remember:

#1 – COMPANY MATTERS. I believe the saying, “Show me who your friends are and I’ll show you what you will become.” That’s basically what Psalm 1:1 says. Sa una, naglalakad lang yung tao na kasama ang mga masasama. Mamaya’t-maya tumigil na siya. Tumatambay na siya na kasama ang mga makasalanan. Sa wakas, ayan na, nakaupo na siya kasama ang mga manunuya. At siguro manunuya na rin siya.

On the other hand, we have encouragement in Pv.27:17. If you want to be sharp, then you need to have other sharp, tough people around you. Good friends don’t stroke your ego, instead they help you recognize and address your flaws. They don’t flatter you, instead they challenge you to do better. They don’t distract you from the things of God, instead they come alongside you to help you. They will work, think, groan, pray and sing with you.


Practical Applications

Finally, we get to the application part of our talk.

1.     Be involved and accountable in a healthy local church. Going to college will test whether or not you really love the family of God. It’s in a local church where you can be mentored by older Christians.

2.     Join hands with other Christians on campus. I can’t think of a better way to meet Christians from other denominations. Being in a Christian organization will also give you the opportunity to mentor younger Christians.

3.     Let your non-Christian friends know that you’re a Christian. If you want to form solid relationships with non-Christians, then they will have to accept you as a Christian who loves God, who speaks out against sin, who reads his Bible and prays, and shares the gospel.

4.     End any relationships that are displeasing to God. Going to college will give you a chance to break off any bad relationships. Please, take the opportunity.

5.     Have an inner circle of friends who really understand you, and vice-versa.

6.     Be good at what you do, for the glory of God. If you’re good at what you do and if you do it with the right attitude, then you’ll attract the same kind of people to yourself. At the same time, you can help classmates, etc., who may need help.

7.     Keep in touch with family and old friends.

8.     Try to connect your loved ones here (in Bulacan) and your new friends. That way, you won’t be living in two separate worlds.

9.     Deal with relational problems right away.

10.   Make time for “quiet times” between you and God. Having a healthy social life isn’t all about what we do in relation to other people. We need time to think and reflect. We need time to read God’s word and pray by ourselves. In other words, to have a healthy social life, we have to be our own person.

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