After spending three days meeting with over 200+ college students and 50+ colleges, I collected a lot of next steps from students from all over the country. They wrote down their next steps and brought them to my booth. After reading them all, I took my favorite next steps and wrote down my thoughts and solutions for them. Let me know your thoughts. It was great meeting so many of you!
“Make More Time to Read”/“Stop Complaining”
Even though these were from two entirely different students from two different colleges, they are very connected. The more we grow, the less we think about ourselves. The more we are fixated on our next steps and personal growth, the less time we have to think about complaining and what’s going wrong. In other words, when we are too excited about where we are headed in our current mom
ent of life, we don’t even think about complaining. It’s not natural.
Possible Next Steps: Have a good conversation with a student to find out where their next step can be. Suggest a book based on that subject and follow up with them a week later. A 10 minute one-on-one conversation goes a long way and shows they are worth the time. How often do we feel like we are not worth another person’s time? Students often feel that way. They feel like they are a bother. Let’s show them they aren’t.
“Getting Rid of Social Media & Getting Out More”
There have been studies that show most of us, especially young adults, are addicted to our phones and social media. We all want to be connected, and this is how it’s done these days for students. We always need to be within arm-grabbing distance of our phones, even at night when we sleep. We can’t imagine having it in another room that we aren’t in ourselves. I’m guilty of this. But often, if we want to take next steps, we need to create space to do so. Our to-do lists are full, and our time feels like it’s getting shorter during the day. Adding more seems more exhausting than freeing. Often, our next step is removing something, not adding something. Saying “Yes!” to freedom and purpose often means saying “No” to something that is dragging us down. What about you and your students?
Possible Next Steps: Delete the social media apps off our phones. Not our accounts. But just off our mobile devices. We can still check in on our other devices like laptops, tablets, computers etc. This will stop the urge to always be on. This will make us more present in the moment.
“Love Myself More”
I want to start off by saying there is nothing wrong with wanting love, in case someone needed to hear that. My only question is this: are we looking for it in the wrong places? Are we looking for it in how many social media likes we receive? Or are we looking for it in an unhealthy relationship? Or the wrong crowd of people that we feel accepted in? I can write a book on this concept, but I want to keep this short. I also believe a next step to loving our self is allowing ourselves to be imperfect and loving ourselves for it. To simplify it: We can’t give what we don’t have or feel. If we don’t feel loved, we can’t give it to others without expecting something in return, and that’s not love. It’s manipulation. Real love is given freely without expectations.
Possible Next Steps: Ask students to answer this question on a piece of paper or one-on-one; “Do you feel like you are worthy of being loved? ” The answers might be shocking. Let’s pour into others and give without expectations. Let’s love ourselves first so we can love others. And when we feel empty, let’s refill ourselves first so we don’t burn out.
“Get a New Roommate That’s Not Vegan!”
Okay, well, that’s for me, I guess. My two roommates from the conference cracked some jokes since I brought a cooler full of fruits and vegetables with me in the room. I went vegan a month ago because I learned how healthy it is. Sometimes, people are going to have some fun in our expense. I loved my roommates, and we laughed the whole conference. Dave Kelly sneaking in this next step at my booth was downright hilarious.
Possible Next Steps: Cover Dave Kelly in fruits and vegetables while he is sleeping.
“Spending Daily Time Reading the Word of God to Understand Who He is & Who I am in Him/Letting God Take Control & Worrying Less”
I loved these next steps written by your students. Often, we are afraid to share our faith in a world where there are so many opinions. Standing up for what we believe in is important while respecting others. I am a Christian and I’ve found out personally that everything I have to offer this world is what I have been given first. Because I have been already forgiven, forever loved, and empowered by grace, I can freely and constantly give that to others. I want to say that I fail often, but I am working from victory, not for it. Therefore, I am constantly refilled and empowered to take my next steps. Some of your students are realizing this powerful truth on their own and are now sharing it with me. In short, the more next steps we take WITH God, the more we are shown who we are
and what we were created to do, and in return, we are empowered to keep taking more since we know we aren’t doing them alone. This isn’t just about salvation someday. It’s about walking in freedom, purpose, and passion today.
Possible Next Steps: Our daily actions tell others what we put our identity in. Wha
t we put our hope, faith, and future in. What do you and your students’ actions telling others?
“Change My Environment”/“Cut Toxic People Out of My Life”
I think we should love people where they are but not at the expense of our futures or having a healthy heart. People affect us more than we can let on. The way think, talk, treat people, or how they view things shape us more than we know. Sometimes, a complete environment shift is needed even when others may criticize us for it. I did this when I was 24 years old. I cut out 98% of my friends because where they were going wasn’t where I wanted to go. I’m talking about goals, drugs, and how they viewed everything. In other words, they were going left, and I wanted to go right. And if I stayed, eventually I was going to drift left with them.
Possible Next Steps: Ask our students to write down their closest friends (The ones they spend the most time with). Now, ask them to rate them from a 1-10 in qualities that you think are important, like Goal-oriented, Character, How they treat others, etc. Ask them if they think they need to make any changes, including how they should react with others.