I want to reiterate the importance of balancing the student life. First, I will offer some suggestions that I give to high school students as they work and prepare for college. I understand that some subjects and assignments are easier, and since that is true, there are some subjects and assignments that are more difficult. I also understand that learning may be easier for some students, and there are some who have to work extra hard. I will try not to write ambiguously; I want to be a help to every student. As you look at your syllabus, never dread an assignment
School can be chaotic, seem hopeless, and even become depressing for some students. I know many people who hate school. On the other hand, I enjoy school very much. But, that did not happen overnight. I did not do well in high school, in fact, I barely graduated. I hated school, the only perk was hanging out with my friends. When I first started college I was overwhelmed. Remember, I was nearly thirty years old when I started college. I was not accustomed to reading, and I hated writing. I remember the class that changed my attitude, American Literature. I did not read fiction. I arrived to class the first day, where I learned that I had to read five books and write five papers. By this point I had learned to enjoy reading, but I wasn’t interested in literature. I decided that I would make the most of it. I read the books and enjoyed them. I believe that I was one of the few students who actually completed all of the reading. My secret is this, I recognize each assignment as an opportunity to grow. I recognize each assignment as a challenge to push myself a little harder and farther. I enjoy growing; I hope everybody enjoys growing. Every assignment makes me a little smarter, a little more experienced, and a little less anxious. Next time you read your syllabus, don’t look at the expectations and groan at the assignments. Change your attitude, discover the new opportunities for growth, and discover what God can teach you through academics.
God knows all of the subjects perfectly. Ask God to help you with your assignments. Dig deeper than the surface. God can help you to understand more than the required subject material. During the school year He can teach you about Himself, you will learn more about yourself and how to apply what you learn in school to your spiritual life. Academics will provide so many opportunities to develop discipline, fortitude, and critical thinking. Your reading and writing assignments strengthen your mind. As you exercise and strengthen your mind you will strengthen your ability to read and understand God’s Word. You will learn more about the world around you, don’t compartmentalize what you learn, spiritualize what you learn.
I will conclude with a few practical suggestions, watch less television, Netflix, and movies, spend less time playing video games. Take the opportunity to watch sermons or debates online. You can start blogging, or take the time to read blogs. We live in a society that is consumed with entertainment. We think that we deserve recreation and rest, a relatively new concept. As I suggested before, plug into a local church and/or a small group. Spend time with other Christians, avoid anything that will distract you from growing as a student, or a Christian.
Keep the Gospel central, remember that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and that he rose again. Think on the Gospel daily, allow the Gospel truth to change who you are. In the Gospel we can see God’s generous love, giving, and forgiveness. We can see His grace, mercy, and patience. Recognize His great sacrifice, persistence, and power. If you are a Christian, He has given you LIFE, LIGHT, and TRUTH. Do not fall apart, or fall away from the faith as you struggle with your academics. You are in union with Christ, the greatest, most incomprehensible energy source. You have been empowered to live the Gospel, don’t forget to share the Gospel.