All day long today I kept thinking, what else? Did I forget to tell you something? To teach you something? You know not to wash the lights with the darks. You know how I feel about binging on Netflix and Ps3. You know my speech about being a producer and not a consumer. But what about the rest? What else should I be telling you? So it's after midnight and I thought I would just jot a few things down...you know, some more stuff that I really want you to know.
1. Go go class.
I know you know this already, but what I am trying to say is don't just fill a seat. GO to class. Show up expecting to learn, trying to learn. You will have crappy professors. You will have amazing professors. There is the potential to learn in every single class. It is your responsibility to fulfill that potential. Study! And don't wait until the last minute!
2. This may seem like odd advice, but just in case--Do not ever drink anything made in or served out of a trash can or large plastic bin. Believe me, the opportunity will arise.
3. Take care of Maddie Moo. Years ago your sister headed to school and as you know, she learned so much she even took the time to write down some of her thoughts just for you. Josh, college awaits
This year, she will be watching out for you, but I want you to remember that even though you are her little brother, sometimes she is going to need you to ask her to get a coke, or she will need you to give her a hug. Senior year is stressful. God is putting the two of you together at Murray this year for a reason.
4. In college you are the fridge fairy.
I am not sure you know this Josh, but I am the one who has been cleaning our refrigerator all these years. It is not a magical refrigerator fairy that shows up and does this. Therefore, now that you have a fridge of your own and especially because you are sharing that refrigerator with a roommate, you need to know that now YOU are the fridge fairy. Clean the fridge once a week. (You are also the microwave fairy).
5. Leave your door open.
Sometimes,you will need to shut your door and study like crazy. Please do that. But sometimes, you will need to open your door and make some new friends. It's a lot easier to do that with the door open. Don't be afraid to make small talk. As long as you ask people questions, they will keep talking. Listen. You are about to make some of the best friends of your life.
6. Speaking of studying and friends...create some study groups. Find the funny, nerdy, brilliant, opinionated kids in your classes. Find the ones who have notebooks full of notes. People like this:
Say to those people "hey, want to get together and study this semester?"
You think I'm joking. If you do this, and have study groups that meet regularly your grades will be better. You will make some new friends. You will create a community in every class you walk into and this is such a good thing.
7. Find the line between critical thinker and cynic and choose to not be a cynic.
This is something I always worry about. I have watched you as you have grown wrestle with your faith in God and in humanity and like me, you can get paralyzed by your cynicism. Research, observe, study your guts out and then sometimes, don't be afraid to take a leap of faith. Expect people to be good. They usually are.
8. A wise young man once gave me some great advice...Embrace the Awkward...
Seriously, if our family has not taught you anything, it is to embrace the awkward. And we do it so well.
9. Call your mother.
Remember, son, that while you are at college experiencing new things and learning and growing that you have left a giant space back at home. It's not just me that will feel this space, it's your dad and your brothers. We will each miss you in different ways. When you aren't around, things just aren't as fun. (calmer, probably, but not fun and calm is really overrated.).
There is more advice, stuff about time management and money and girls and teachers and roommates. I am leaving out so much. Before I finish this, though, I need you to know something:
I am not going to pray that your days at Murray are easy. I am not going to pray that each day you are happy. I am going to pray that you get stronger and braver and compassionate and that you learn to feel comfortable way outside your box. I know that in order to do each of these things there are going to be hard lessons ahead and days you want to hide in your room because you are sad, overwhelmed or pissed off and I am going to pray that the strength, bravery and compassion that are maturing in you each day is what leads you out the door.
I love you son. I cannot wait to watch this next chapter in your life. I still hate the packed bags, the stupid shower caddy and the thought that tomorrow you will drive from this home to a new home (hate even calling it that). Go to class, clean your fridge, love your sister, make new friends and call often. Just know that that this Creekside drive home is more than a place to do your laundry, or grab some food, it's the place where we all will be waiting on you to walk through the door and make us laugh. No one does it like you.