• Nick Henderson

What I wish I knew going into college

Updated: Sep 14

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin


My college years were the most fun, exciting, developmental and difficult years of my life.


I got to experience so many great things. I traveled to cities I had only read about previously. I met and connected with some of my best friends to this day. I got to be a foolish young person with a bunch of other foolish young people. It was awesome - I even graduated at the end of it!

On the other hand, I had my fair share of struggles as well. I bombed many crucial exams. I went through some break ups. I had a very small amount of money in my bank account, and racked up student loans as well. I even endured the loss of my mom. Not everything was great all the time.

But, as great and simultaneously difficult as college was, there are a few things I wish I had known going into my freshman year. These things wouldn't have allievated all the struggles, but they certainly would have made my college experience significantly more productive:


1. Be intentional about who you connect with at college.

Show me your friends and I will show you your future. Finding solid friends is a key factor to a good college experience.

We have plans for everything leading up to going to school: how we plan on decorating our dorm/apartment, what classes we want to take, how were going to pay for tuition and so on.

Yet, we don’t plan out what kind of people we want to befriend and how we’re going to put ourselves in position to do so.

If you want strong friends who keep you accountable, encourage and love you - don’t just assume you will find them in your Biology 101 class. Be intentional about finding them, get a plan.

Start mapping out great churches in the area and see if they have a small group you can try out. Look at organizations or clubs you could join on campus. Maybe you’re a fitness enthusiast, look up different gyms you could attend. Anything that will put you in a position to find solid friends.

One of the top reasons people make horrible decisions in college or hate it all together is because of their lack of solid relationships. Don’t let it be you. Don’t wait till you get on campus. Start being intentional now.


2. Grades don’t guarantee success after graduation.


Not meaning to brag here, but I graduated Magna Cum Laude from school. Which, for those who don’t know, means I had decent grades.

I was immensely honored and pumped when I found out. But, want to know something funny?


Nobody else cared.

No hiring manager in any of my interviews asked me for my GPA (and trust me I wanted to tell them). It was not relevant to anyone who had the authority to provide me a job - which is kind of the point of college.

What did they care about? My experience. What work had I previously done that would dictate that I would excel at the work I was interviewing for - that’s what they were interested in.

Knowing this, don’t let your grades go to the waste side. You will need a degree after all. But, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that grades guarantee success - you need to gain experience in your field of work while in college.

If you want to do sales, go find a business and offer to work there for free.

If you want to be a pastor, go serve at a church you like in the area.


Want to go into medical field? Go shadow some doctors, nurses or physical therapists.

Grades don’t guarantee anything. Go get some real world experience! 3. Don’t be boring!

Yes, college is a time to be taken seriously. Yes, it requires lots of time and effort. Yes, how you do there will impact the rest of your life.


But, don’t let the severity of school rob you of the fun of it!

This is the only time of your life where you will be surrounded by thousands of people your age and in the same season of life. Don’t waste it!


Go on late night meals runs, go travel to a city you’ve never been before, go hang with your friends at the beach on spring break.

Obviously, don’t go all crazy and sinful. But, college should be exciting.

Don’t spend all your days in the library or your dorm studying. Make some memories man!


In sum, if you are intentional about who you connect with, getting some real world experience and having some fun you will have a phenomenal college experience.


Hope this helped you out! If so, share it on social media - it helps a ton!

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Would love to connect with you!

nwhenderson@second.org