The Freshman Survival Guide

With a group of freshman as your primary student group, you’ve got a difficult task at hand.  You’ve got yourself a bunch of student who have been dropped off at school and are just trying to get their feet under them.  It’s nothing new, in fact it happens every single year, but with a new campus ministry start up, it’s the primary culture of the community.  They are the 99% of this campus ministry.  So, I found a book I thought would be useful just for them.

Every year, I’ve always wanted to do a group just for freshman, but of course it’s hard because they are just hitting the ground running and trying to get them involved at the beginning is a real challenge.  But somehow, this year we have.  And so, for about 6-7 weeks, we went through this book some of you may have heard of called the freshman survival guide.  We talked about sexuality, about relationships in general, homework, eating healthy, roommate problems, homesickness, and lots of other things.

I’ve realized something from this book.  There is a guide for Freshman post orientation week that really really works.  Now the book was just the gateway, but if you haven’t found this book The Freshman Survival Guide, I really really recommend it.  I have plans to use it again next year, inviting a new group of freshman to experience it along with perhaps a few upper classman who can provide some leadership.  Students asked for a panel discussion near the end, and I hopped around a lot with the book, but it really was phenomenal.

No matter what you use, I recommend you work with freshman for a while individually, giving them space to get their feet wet and helping them to be exposed to the leadership of the campus ministry slowly.  It takes extra time and effort, and sometimes you have to be careful to preserve the time you give to those who are older, but I can’t think of a better way to welcome students to a community than by uniting them to talk about the real stuff that happens in college.  It’s been my gateway.

What do you use to open to the door to freshman?  How might a book study work for your campus ministry?  Your thoughts are greatly welcomed.

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