Another school year has started.

The classes, the conversations, the questions.

The books, the assignments, the uncertainty.

I often think back and wonder what I should’ve done better during my college years. I daily spend time with students helping them make wise decisions. Realizing we are all still learning, I often ask myself the same question I ask our students, “What can I do to reach my potential?”

For this blog, I’ve asked coworkers to help answer that question. Read their suggestions. I think they apply to students, and to all of us, for this new season of life.

Growth begins within—paying attention to the small things: kindness, grit, determination—may yield big results: JOY, resilience, self-awareness, peace. In the small things, God speaks to you when you take time to listen. Be kind to others and yourself. Develop healthy friendships. Study. Love big. Find your place. 
—Cyndee Phillips
Director of Assessment and Accountability

Know, more than anything else, that you are the beloved of God. And, there is no fear in God’s perfect love.
—Pastor Jason McCary
Associate Professor: Bible/Theology

My advice to any student as they begin the new school year is to give your whole self to the process. These are years that you can never repeat the same way twice, so give as much as you can to everyone you can and soak up all you can from everything you can. Professors, coaches, directors, teammates, roommates, podmates, classmates… Give and glean as much as you can. Go to class, engage in discussions, stay up and have meaningful conversations, get involved with campus life, become a member of a club, team, or an organization of some kind. Find a community and plug all the way in!
—Trés Ward
Assistant to the President and Director of Ministry Teams

Embrace the discomfort that this transition presents you with; college can bring many difficult life adjustments, but the lessons you learn during this season are shaping who you are becoming, not just who you will be. You are seen, you are safe, you are loved. Welcome to Emmanuel College!
—Sam Wooten
Residence Director
Co-Advisor, EC Impact

Strive to work ahead. Regardless, you will find yourself working to catch up, but the last thing you want is to get behind. It’s nearly impossible to fall behind and catch up again.
—Paula Dixon
Associate Professor of Communication

Every school year is like a journey we all know where we are going or wanting to go. But just like every trip it’s boring without people to take along with you. Make friends and have fun but don’t forget why you are here to get to your destination. 
—Brian Little
Head Women’s Lacrosse coach

Plan your days with room for delays, distractions, and disturbances. Expect the unexpected. The Lord says to remember Him in the days of your youth and to trust the new thing He is doing in you is for your good and His glory. It is an invitation to a great adventure that will look and feel different than what has preceded it. Do not let the newly added responsibilities, syllabi, and interruptions in routine overshadow the Father’s desire to mold and shape you into whom He has called you to be.
—Preston Braswell
Head Women’s Golf Coach

My advice to every student as we begin this new Academic year is to take your learning seriously. We have so much to offer you here at EC, and all of your professors and coaches want you to develop a deep love for learning while you are here, so that you can become a lifelong learner. Being a lifelong learner sometimes requires effort, sometimes means struggle, but the benefits are amazing in terms of relationships, careers, and success. The choice is yours.
 —Bob Fulton
Associate Professor of History

Two things: make the most of your experience, which means making new friends, trying new experiences, engaging in new opportunities, and finding new ways to express who God created you to be. AND, fall in love with the person of Jesus Christ. He is all you will ever need and will be more than you ever expected.
—Kirk D. McConnell, Ed. D
Associate Athletic Director

I would strongly encourage Freshman students to apply the lessons learned in their EC Foundations class, especially getting a handle on managing their time. For all students, don’t procrastinate in getting assignments done, and start well. As the semester progresses and comes to a close, if you’ve managed your time well, the end will be a lot easier for you to be able to cross the finish line. And above all, learn to depend on the Lord for each and every day of the semester. As you make decisions with your time and the friends you have, ask Him what He would have you do each day.  He will never fail you when you learn to depend on Him. When you fall, get back up and keep striving to follow Him. Jesus is faithful!
—John Henzel
Professor of Business

Students: as you begin the new school year, my biggest piece of advice is to keep first things first—even as the circumstances change around you. New people, new buildings, new expectations, new freedoms, new restrictions—in the midst of it all, He is still Lord. He is still with you. He still wants you to abide in Him even as you abide in a new dorm.
—Kyle Garrett
Foundations Department Chair
Associate Professor of English
Emmanuel College

My advice to students starting a new academic year:
* Set goals and then take steps to reach those goals
* Do not hesitate to reach out for help. When you have questions or when you don’t know what to do, seek help from others.
* God is your best helper. Communicating with him frequently (sometimes called prayer) and reading his instruction manual (sometimes called the Holy Bible) is your best source of help and guidance.
* Don’t quit. Persisting is the only way to overcome challenges. When you quit, it’s over. As long as you persist, there is hope for a better outcome.
—Ron White, Ed.D.
Emmanuel College