Advice to the College Student

This morning on her way to class...
This morning on her way to class…

The past few weeks my screens have been filled with snapshots and stories of friends sending their children off to college. All across the country, similar scenes have played out in parking lots and dorm lobbies and on campuses (cue the sound of baby wings flapping furiously).

Abilene Christian University is our alma mater and also the school our daughter is attending. Opening chapel on the first day of the fall semester is always filled with tradition and no small amount of pomp and circumstance including the academic procession, a parade of flags and singing of the “Doxology”. I just love it. Yeah for live-streaming!

Last week Rick Atchley, a well-loved and respected minister and ACU alumnus, brought the message at the end of the ceremony. He spoke simply and directly to the students and it all smacked loudly of what it takes to live a good story. Which is the reason I want to recap and collect some of his words here.

“Sometimes you are on a journey and so focused on something that’s important that you fail to notice something even more important…. Wisdom includes the capacity to discern how to overcome the overrated.”  With that opening advice he went on to share three things that are overrated in life.

Grades are Overrated

  •  “Study hard, but play hard too.”
  • “Life is not about competitions won, it’s about connections made. Make some.”

Happiness is Overrated

  • “I know I’m supposed to say the best days are ahead of you, and that’s true. But it’s also true that the worst days are ahead of you too.”
  • “You’re not that special.”
  • “Happiness is an accident, but joy is a choice.”

Success is Overrated

  • “If you make being a success your life goal, it will ultimately disappoint.”
  • “You were meant for a calling not just a career.”
  • “A career is what you get paid for. A calling is what you were made for.”

He wrapped up by saying, “God is inviting you into a bigger story than the one you might be living right now.” With that, I shout a hearty “AMEN!” College students, these are golden years. Make choices that will allow good story to be written.

And to my friends who are parents of those children, shall we all be brave as we watch their journey!

You can watch the entire chapel service here. Rick’s talk is around minute 44. It’s super surreal to see our college friends now dressed up in robes on the podium. How did that happen?

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