Life is full of transitions. For a lot of people, change is hard. Anyone who knows me knows that my family is a big part of my life and whenever someone gets married or moves away there are always lots of tears, both happy and sad ones. I love watching my family grow, but I also miss being together all the time. These are bittersweet moments. It was hard moving fourteen hours away from my family, but I was excited to make new friendships and grow in my understanding of God`s Word. The Bible education and the friendships that I`ve had the privilege to build at Ethnos360 Bible Institute are priceless. I`ve learned and seen that apart from Christ I can do nothing and that, as believers, we need each other.
Moving into a college dorm with new people, from different backgrounds, can be a little intimidating, but having the right perspective is important when going into any new environment or stage of life. Philippians 4:11 says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” As a believer, true joy comes from the Lord, not our circumstances. We can be sure of the promises that He has made to us no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in.
Managing a new class schedule, new friendships, and maybe working a job is challenging. The Bible gives us lots of advice on how we should relate to those around us. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” First John 3:18 says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” God has given believers each other for encouragement and fellowship, so go into each semester excited about what the Lord is going to teach you through the study of His word. Abiding in Jesus, is vital in every stage of life and in building relationships with those around us.
The word Abide is used one hundred and twenty times in the New Testament. “Other English terms used to translate this word are equally significant— ‘remain, dwell, continue, tarry, endure’ (Matt. 10:11; Luke 19:5; Acts 9:43; 27:31; I Cor. 13:13; 2 Tim. 2:13) (Lewis Sperry Chafer, p. 3).” True joy and happiness are found in walking with Jesus. Your relationship with Him will affect how you relate to those around you. It`s important to study God`s word so that we can grow in our relationship with Him. In the context of this passage, “Abiding in Christ is not a matter of maintaining union with Christ, but of maintaining communion with Him (Chafer, p. 4).”
In John 15:4-5 Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Advice From EBI Students
I asked former EBI students some questions about how they managed their social life, school schedules, and job schedules during their time at EBI. Grace is currently an intern at EBI and I asked her, “What do you do to help manage the social aspect of college life with class schedules and job schedules?” She said, “I’ve found that I manage the social aspect with my other schedules by combining them. I prioritize tasks or schedules and find which ones I can do while hanging out with people, and which ones result in higher consequences if I don’t complete them (ex: work). For me, this also looked like spending more time with people one day, and more on homework the next day. I’m not perfect at it by any means, but when I realize I’ve been unbalanced, I give myself space for grace and I put a plan in place to change the trajectory of my daily choices regarding time management.” I also asked her “What advice would you give an upcoming freshman about managing relationships, class schedules, homework, and job schedules?” She said, “I would advise upcoming freshmen to monopolize times of social interaction such as meals, breaks between classes, and even brushing your teeth with your roomies. There are often many small chunks of free time that, if recognized, can become the most beneficial or best part of your day!”
I asked Michael what he does to balance classes, work, and friendships and he said, “I usually designate specific times throughout the day to work on assignments. For me I usually work on assignments between 2pm-4pm and 7-10pm on homework. Regarding the social aspects of college, I try to hang out with friends or teachers during times I don’t have scheduled times for homework. However, if I don’t have a lot of homework, I usually use that time for working out, reading, or socializing.” The advice Michael said he would give is, “I came here to know God better, thus studying the Bible is paramount. That doesn’t mean I neglect hanging out with friends. Making a schedule is a good start to juggle friends, homework, work, and CM’s. Sometimes when friends want to hangout, a hard decision needs to be made, am I being faithful to why I came here to know God better or spend time playing games. It takes time figuring out the college life, so don’t stress if it takes a few weeks to get used to everything. “
I asked Bree the same questions regarding life at EBI and she responded to the first question by saying, “Figuring out my priorities was super helpful. Once I knew my priorities, setting aside time to make sure those things got done lessened the stress and allowed me to enjoy the time I had with other people.” The advice she would give to incoming EBI students is, “Try to make a schedule. This will help you make sure you are blocking out time for what needs to get done while also making sure to leave time for spontaneous moments. Plan ahead by looking at the syllabus so that the big projects don’t sneak up on you.” As you step into this new phase of life, remember to prioritize studying the Bible and being intentional in building relationships that will last.
At Ethnos 360 Bible Institute, we desire to be a part of God`s plan to bring the Gospel to all people. The first step in training with Ethnos360 is two years of chronological Bible teaching. At EBI, we value having a firm foundation in understanding the Bible and building solid relationships with those around us.