Student Culture, Trends & Issues

The #1 Thing on the College Freshman Mind

You may already know the top issues for your incoming freshman, but Dr. Tim Clydesdale has actually asked them. And in a workshop at this year’s National Collegiate Summit he shared seven common themes uncovered by his interviews with college-bound high school grads.

The #1 theme? Navigating relationships (making friends, finding a boy/girlfriend, getting along with roommates) and managing gratifications (particularly sex and partying, hence connecting gratifications to relationships).

So in celebration of relationship navigation and gratification management, I present the TOP 10 Signs You’re on a Bad First Date. As you read (and laugh – and cry?), understand I didn’t make any of these up. They were submitted by real life college students and singles. (Their first names are listed in parentheses. Hopefully you weren’t their date.)

#10 – Your date’s opening line is either:
“OK, let’s get this over with.” (Matt)
“Are you a parking ticket cuz you got fine written all over you!” (Candi)

#9 – After picking you up, your date stops by their mom’s place for cash to pay for dinner. (Claudia)

#8 – Your date takes a call from their ex, and after cussing them out right in front of you, hangs up and says sweetly, “I’m sorry, where were we?” (Matt)

#7 – Once seated at the restaurant you find out your date’s ex works there, and you “just so happen” to be sitting in their section. (Jerri)

#6 – Your date keeps “whispering” inappropriate comments like “Do you think those guys are gay?” loud enough for the people at other tables to hear… including the gay guys in question. (Jonathan)

#5 – Your date spends the evening seeking your counsel on how to get over their ex. (Sara)

#4 – Your date keeps texting friends about plans for later that night after they’re done with you. (Jerri)

#3 – Your date admits to cheating on their ex multiple times… but only because their ex did it first!!! (Jennifer)

#2 – During dinner, your date and your server continue to eye one another and when you leave your date drops a $20 tip… and a personal note. (Jerri)

#1 – In the midst of trying to show off how well their vehicle handles wet roads, your date winds up running off the road and into the woods hitting two trees, one which busts your side window. Then as you’re recovering, still covered in glass, they ask you to get out and push. (Lindsey)

Whew! Kinda makes you wish you had a first date this weekend, doesn’t it?

OK, probably not.

From BFF to FWB to GLBTQ, what are you planning this Fall to help your students navigate relationships and manage gratifications? If this is actually the #1 thing on our students’ minds, we want to present key relational guidance upon their arrival and then continue to address these issues intentionally throughout the year.

Of course we want to draw student’s attention to their most important relationship, with Jesus Christ, but do our students understand how that relationship should impact each of their earthly relationships, from their parents to their future spouse? Notice, I didn’t ask if they understand that their relationship with Christ should be impacting their other relationships. A lot of our students know that should be happening, but honestly don’t know how it’s supposed to work.

That’s why God has placed us here! Maybe you just endured your most recent first date horror story last week. Or perhaps you have long-buried your First-Date-FAILS file in a cabinet with your old tax returns. Regardless, let the above Top 10 inspire you to share your own experiences. It’s good to get the laugh, but don’t leave it there. Let your students see what you’ve learned from your past. Your healthy vulnerability may be the key to unlocking theirs.

Before you get personal, you might start off with the Top 10 Signs You’re on a Bad First Date, and lead a discussion around what you can discover from each of those first date FAILS. I’ve actually been having a blast doing just that for the last several weeks on my Date Night Advice blog. (I can even send you a PowerPoint presentation listing just the TOP 10.)

So how do you address your students’ #1 concern? Do you have a relationship emphasis week like Sex & the Soul at Belmont? Do you talk about sex and dating on a regular basis? Most importantly, what do you do right off the bat, to get your students on the right track?

Please share what’s working! And if I can help, look me up.