It’s that time again. Classes and assignments and schedules. Studying and studying and studying. But let’s not miss the wonder and beauty of learning.

How can we make the most of a new year of classes? Here are a few thoughts from some of my friends:

I would advise students as they enter the new school year to be PRESENT. You will get overwhelmed with assignments, due dates and extracurricular activities but remember to take time out of your day to be present and have quiet time with God. He will put your mind at ease and help you focus on what is truly important.

  • Ashley Westbrook: Director of Public Relations, Emmanuel College

Become today who you intend to be tomorrow. Pay it forward. You almost never see a person fall who is continually on their face before God. When leaders fail to serve others they tend to serve themselves. The larger the outward privilege, the larger the inward character must be. Leaders merely manage what God controls.

  • C. Tracy Reynolds: VP for Student Development, Emmanuel College

Half of being successful in college or at any job is just SHOWING UP!”  So, just the mere act of showing up to class every single time will ensure success.

The converse is also true:  Not showing up to classes, no matter how smart you are, will ensure failure.

  • Beverly J. Oxley, Ph.D.: Licensed Psychologist #2528, Registered Play Therapist & Supervisor, Owner & Director, Wellsprings Psychological Resources

Don’t allow yourself to do anything only halfway or half-heartedly, but put your whole self into whatever you do and do it for the glory of God! Whether you are studying, going to class, getting up to pray, in your relationships, playing sports, worshipping, or meditating on God’s Word:

“…whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17 ESV

  • Trés Ward: Director of Outreach | Assistant to the President, Emmanuel College

Advice for students: Never miss an opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s day.  Whether it be something as simple as a smile, a hug, a kind word or something more grand like buying groceries for someone or giving them a ride to Walmart when you know they don’t have a car…small gifts of your time can go a long way to lift up others.

  • Joann Harper: Director of Human Resources, Emmanuel College

Start living the intellectual’s life.  Every time you find yourself wondering, “Why is that?”, start a conversation with a friend.  Find a book about it. Ask a professor what practitioners are thinking about it. This school year is a gift from Heaven to you: college gives you the license to dig into any kind of question that occurs to you, and the more you do that, the more intellectual you become. If you really grab hold of this gift, really receive it with gratitude, by the time you graduate you might just be living a more interesting life.

  • Dr. Nathan P. Gilmour: Associate Professor of English, Emmanuel College

The joy of the Lord is your strength and laughter is good medicine. Intentionally pursue His joy, along with His righteousness and peace, and there will be no end to how the Lord will move through you, open doors, give you the desires of your heart, and establish you in your identity and destiny.

  • Cindy Gaultney MA LPC

It is easy for us to lose ourselves when we leave home, begin to navigate a new environment, meet new people, and feel new pressures. We can forget who we are and what we are about. I challenge you this year to stay true to your identity in Jesus. If you don’t know Him, I invite you to get to know Him! And, if you lose your way or don’t know how to find out more about Jesus, talk to someone – a professor, a staff member, or a friend. You won’t regret it!!

  • Sean Williamson: Adjunct Instructor, Emmanuel College

Welcome, Emmanuel College Students!  I pray that this school year will exceed your expectations. Pray daily, stay focused, study diligently, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

  • Dr. Sherry Story: Natural Sciences Chair, Emmanuel College

Make the most of your opportunity.  This is a community designed to foster your calling and passion.  Find what you love to do and find someone to invest their knowledge into your life!  We are here to serve you!!

  • Kirk McConnell

Put everything you can on your calendar and budget your time wisely. Do what you need to do first and what you want to do later. (This applies to me, too.)

  • Paula Dixon: Communications Professor, Emmanuel College