Yes, Northwestern is a school. Our professors do a great job of helping us remember that–we’re constantly busy preparing for our next class. We’re students, so we’re here to learn and graduate with a degree in our field. Academics has to be our main priority. But what if I told you that we’re called to be more than just students? In no certain order, here is my list of what else we need to prioritize.
-Many students on campus are involved in something athletic or musical. They might even be earning a scholarship for it. If someone is paying us to compete or perform for them, we need to honor their investment and make our practice a priority.
-College is a tough place to be. For many of us, we’re away from home for the first time. Life is difficult, and it cannot be dealt with alone. Open up with friends you trust about what you’re going through, and be there for them when they need you. Lasting friendships generally don’t happen by accident. Be intentional about the people you’re around. Life is more fun when you have others by your side.
-Friendships don’t just help you through college, they help you through life. The friends you make here could last a lifetime. And hey, you never know—ring by spring could be in your future. Make your friends a priority in your life.
– If our only focus is academics, we’ll come out of college the same person we were coming in, except we’ll have some more knowledge and a fancy diploma. Find someone older and wiser than you, and ask, “What book most influenced your life?” (Hospers guys, Simm has great book recommendations. Ask him sometime.)
-You’ve probably heard Northwestern’s mission statement a hundred times. “Northwestern is a Christian academic community…” We are a Christ-focused campus. We have a bunch of opportunities to get involved spiritually and grow in your faith on campus. There’s D-groups, P&W, chapel, NED talks and more. Go to something outside of your comfort zone. I promise that you’ll grow.
– College is supposed to be fun! Have you ever asked your parents, “What do you remember most from your time in college?” Chances are, they’re not going to tell you about their classes, or about the time they spent studying for a test they passed or failed. They’ll probably tell you about random dorm events, road trips or something stupid they did with their friends.
-To quote Calvin and Hobbes, “In the short term, it would make me happy to go play outside. In the long term, it would make me happier to do well at school and become successful. But in the very long term, I know which will make better memories.” Keep up with your schoolwork, but don’t forget to make some great memories here on campus.
I’m not telling you to stop doing your homework, and I’m not telling you to forget about your academics—they’re our number one priority. We want to do well academically and prepare ourselves for a career after graduation. But, do you remember Northwestern’s mission statement? We’re here for “courageous and faithful learning and living…” Learning and living. While we’re wrapped up in our studies, we can’t forget to live. We’re always going to be busy—if not academically, then at a workplace. We’re always going to have work to do. Life is a balancing act, and part of why we’re here is to learn how to live.