What to Bring to College with You (& Maybe With Us Each Day too?)

White terry dish-cloths lie haphazardly across orange dish soap, green scratch pads, and his very first “sauce pan” to make pasta and eggs.

“Have I taught you how to boil noodles?” I ask.

We choose four white plates (“Wide enough to hold lots of food, Mom”), two large red-rimmed bowls deep enough to hold steaming Ramen soup packets, and then nestled silverware for four. In between calls to a roommate’s family to see about shower curtains, we choose a matching bath mat, and marvel at how cheap the cans of Comet bath scrubbing powder are. We deliberate glassware and finger pizza cutters, laughingly.

Most of all, though, as he leaves for college, I want him to carry with him– I want all my students to pack with them!– these truths:

1.) Your worth and identity in Christ is already built, and is forged in who you are in him. You are loved, chased, pursued, created with purpose and imbued with passions and skills. Your joy and fulfillment will blow you away when you are leaning into him, breathing him in. You have immeasurable value, not because of your grades or anything you have done. You can’t earn God by your actions, but he has paid everything to buy you life in him. He calls you dearly-loved, the apple of his eye, and he delights in you.

2.) And you know what? He says that about the people around you too. So often, they don’t know it. Walking blindly and silently, or blusteringly loud, they may not know their value and worth, nor the One who made them. Stop and really see them –look deep into their eyes and smile–knowing how God sees them. Hear them: their stories, their fears, their dreams, and love them with his clean, caring love.

 3.) True freedom spills past university doors. It’s so much more than the unbridled ease of bedtimes, mealtimes, class-times, free time, and the days being yours. True freedom splashes wild and big throughout your entire life. This freedom flows from knowing whose you are, and that all of life is an adventure of running full-tilt with your Maker. Throw your hands wide, grab each moment in strong hands, and live! 

How has your week gone? What do you wish you had known your first year of college, or in your first years after high school? 

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Photo credit #1 to
Photo credit #2 to DakDillon Photography.

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  1. Dontmissyoursunsetlady on August 21, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Great advice… I wish someone had told me that First truth in college. It would have saved me much hurt. He will do great.

  2. Floyd on August 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Awesome post! What a gift of wisdom from God to your family. I wish I would have had such sound advice for the first two, I do now for the last… Thanks. I think we can adapt your list for all of our lives.

  3. Jayne on August 22, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Great things to send our children off to college with! Great things to continue to pray for them while their are there. I also pray for protection and discernment from the lies they may/will hear from professors and other students and to stand firm and strong in the truth of God. I pray too that they meet godly friends who will help them in their walk with God while at college, and to get involved in a Christian group on campus and to find a church they can attend. God has answered these with my first 2 and I know He will continue to do so with my baby!

  4. Cheryl Barker on August 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Great truths to pass along to all those bound for college for the first time. And I can use the reminder myself to stop and really see people as Jesus sees them. God's blessings on your son as he heads to college — and to you as you, Jennifer, as you let him go!

  5. Jennifer Dougan on August 24, 2013 at 2:34 am


    Oh, you're right. Knowing that first truth of where our worth comes from took me sooo long too. Aiye.

    Thanks for stopping in.


  6. Jennifer Dougan on August 24, 2013 at 2:36 am

    Thanks, Floyd,


  7. Jennifer Dougan on August 24, 2013 at 2:37 am


    You're right. These are good things to pray for them now too, huh? Thanks. Asking God for them to have discernment, resolve, godly friends too…. yes, let's pray for our kids that way too.

    Praying with you,

  8. Jennifer Dougan on August 24, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Thanks, Cheryl. You've walked this road of sending kids away to school already huh? 🙂

    Nice to talk with you,

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