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    First Things First

    As soon as you hit the college campus and move into the dorm, you'll discover that college is different from life back home. But how different? For answers, we talked to six students from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

    from the editors

    There are tons of good activities on campus. So I had a tendency to commit myself to too many activities. I later found out that's a pretty common problem. It's good to get plugged in and join groups, but it's not like high school where you can be involved in several different things—there's usually more commitment required in college activities. My freshman year, I ran for class president, was in glee club, and took a full course load. I was always tired and I wasn't able to commit enough time to everything. It wasn't as satisfying as if I had only chosen one. Pick one or two things and do them well.

    —Steven Harso, junior

    My roommate and I decided right away that we would talk about things that bothered us. He loved to listen to music, and I could never concentrate on studying when the radio was on. So I asked him to use headphones. Sometimes I'd get up early in the morning and print my papers, which woke him up. He told me this and asked me to print them the night before. Talking things out before they became a huge problem really helped.

    — Dan Pylman, sophomore

    I had a hard time adjusting. When I got to college I didn't know where I fit in. Then I started to get involved in ministries that reached out to people in the surrounding areas. I tutored kids and I even taught some inner-city kids how to snowboard. It was a great tool to share the love of Christ. I was able to put into practice what I was learning at a Christian college, and I found my niche.

    — Elise Anderson, senior

    During my freshman year, I wish I had taken advantage of the fact that my professors were so knowledgeable. They wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to succeed. I eventually learned that my professors were always available to talk with me. Professors are such valuable resources that many college students just don't tap into. Now I've gotten into the habit of just going to my professors' office and talking to them. I've babysat for some of them, met their families, and just gotten to know them outside the academic setting.

    — Amy Turek, senior

    I thought my time alone with God would just fall into place. But I was always busy doing something else. I didn't spend time alone reading the Bible, and I felt empty. Now when I have a break between classes, I go to the library and pick a place and call it my little sanctuary. Then I read the Bible. It helps me start my day and reminds me that there's nothing more important than spending time with God.

    — Amy Milner, junior

    When I started college, it felt like I suddenly had tons of freedom. So I hung out with my friends every night. I rarely did any homework, and I got really far behind. By the end of my first semester—at exam time—I was about 400 pages behind in the reading for one of my classes. Don't tell yourself you'll catch up with your reading at the end of the week, because that turns into the end of the month, then suddenly it's the end of the semester. Make sure you keep up with your homework, and don't worry—you'll still have time to hang out with your friends.

    —Nick Underwood, sophomore

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