If you could sit with your inexperienced first year self and have a frank conversation, what would you say?
What advice would you give to first year self? Were you doing a good job navigating life during first year, or not so much?
Invoke some time travel and return to those first few moments on campus:
What were you thinking?
What choices do you wish you would have made?
What choices do you wish you didn’t make?
How would you encourage your younger self?
Challenge: Start a #dearfirstyearme conversation
The objective of this challenge is to spark a spiritual conversation around hopes and dreams. Use the #dearfirstyearme concept to share some unsolicited advice (to yourself) on social media and ask your friends what advice they would give to their younger selves.
Here’s how to start a #dearfirstyearme conversation:
1. Watch one (or all) of our #dearfirstyearme videos (There is one below.)
2. Compose your advice: #dearfirstyearme …
3. Post your advice on social media and ask your friends to comment with their own #dearfirstyearme advice. Include a link to your favourite #dearfirstyearme video. Use the hashtag #dearfirstyearme
4. Engage your friends as they respond. Ask questions and seek to understand the why behind their responses. Share your story and why you wrote the advice you did.
Dear First Year Me “Barriers”
Click to watch.
Following is a transcription of #dearfirstyearme “Barriers”
Dear first year me…
Dear first year me…
Dear first year me…
Dear first year me, it’s great to see ya.
You look pretty good as a young twenty year old. You’re not going to look that good as a forty-eight year old.
Dear first year me, right now you are studying computer science.
That’s not going to work out too well for you.
…you’re going to be a cop in a few years.
And if there is one piece of advice I could give you, it’s if you are gonna taser someone, don’t taser yourself first. Kind of defeats the purpose.
Dear first year me, you need to really spend some quality time with God…
to make sure you have that deep relationship with him, so that you can handle the things that are coming in the future.
Dear first year me, you’re going to find out that prayer is much more important…
and much more effective than you think it is right now, over the course of your ministry. So start taking it a lot more seriously.
…I want you to understand that you will reap what you sow.
So what you reap [sow] for the next several years of your life is going to compound and have a profound impact, whether for the negative or for the good in the 25, 30, 50 years. So make good choices now. Establish good habits now, so that you can be used by God, 25, 30 years from now.
…right now you think that your identity is what your friends…
and what others think of you, but I want you to know that your true identity is what Christ thinks of you.
In fact, you’re scared. You’re scared of what the future holds, and you’re scared of failing and not making everyone happy. Don’t be. It really doesn’t matter in the end, and God has huge plans for you.
Dear first year me, first of all, you are not as smart as you think you are and you are not as lame as you think you are.
On the smart side, we can all learn from other people, so do everything you can to learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Everyone has gifts that God has given them, and you can learn from that.
But secondly, you are not as lame as you think you are. Don’t get caught up in the comparison game. Don’t get caught up thinking: I’m not as good as this person or I can’t do that. Focus on the fact that God has created you with gifts designed uniquely for you by him.
…don’t click that link.
One thing you need to know in your first year is how destructive porn really is to your walk with Christ.
I want you to look here. Here are some things that are going to be an absolute train wrecks. Alright?
Alcohol. It’s not the answer for everything. You need to do a whole lot less of that. And pornography, I know you think that’s the cool thing to be into, but it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. Get that outta your life. I mean seriously: Get that outta of your life.
Dear first year me, you should go get some counselling right now.
Everybody can benefit from counselling. The sooner you get it the better it is for you.
Dear first year me, living the Christian life in the university or college context is challenging enough as it is…
don’t make the mistake of going it alone. Get connected to some good friends who will kick your butt if you are going astray.
…right now you live bound by quite a lot of fear and you don’t even realize it…
but God will surround you with people who love you. The years ahead won’t be comfortable, but God has already begun to do something beautiful with your life.
Dear first year me, we have a great job.
We get to work with very interesting, very smart people on very challenging projects, but it’s hard to talk to them about Jesus. There’s not a lot of opportunities. Take steps now to get better at that. And learn how to talk to people, how to show people your faith because it only gets harder later on.
…now’s the time to learn how to communicate Christ’s love to your classmates…
to the people that you’re involved with in your dorms. But as well, those same principles will be transferable when you are in your career and when you’re at a job where you’re going to have interactions with other employees.
and through girls, and through finding happiness in all the wrong areas. Now I can tell you the pursuit of satisfaction really comes from a life that is centred around Christ. That’s centred around forgiveness. That’s centred around your family; your children and your wife.
…chin up you poor dear frightened little rabbit!
You fear that you will be exposed and vulnerable and humiliated and publicly rejected and expelled from the Christian community. If you take courage in your hands and allow yourself to be vulnerable, and let people in, and behind the facadé, amazingly you’ll actually find the opposite. You will find love, acceptance, and people who are wise enough to help you get back on your feet again.