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Student to Student: A Guide to College Life

(Regal Books)

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Loaning My Sandals to Jesus

By Katleyn Pollet, Montreat College – Roommate conflicts, dating, all-nighters, loneliness, temptations, and time management … these are just a few of the issues common to college students as they encounter the world of adjustments campus life brings. As just about any college student would affirm, this four-year adventure of freedom, fun, and enlightenment doesn’t come without a myriad of ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks.

A new book, Student to Student by Paul Buchanan and Paula Miller, offers advice and encouragement to help students thrive during their college years. College students from a variety of Christian and secular schools write about their experiences and they have learned to navigate the challenges of college while growing stronger in their relationships with God. The following article is excerpted from the book.

Loaning My Sandals to Jesus:
Loving My Roommate as I Love Christ

Love your neighbor as yourself. - Matthew 22:39

When I was growing up, my sister and I avoided sharing our toys if we could. Our mentality was, “This is mine, so you can’t play with it.” When I moved into college my freshman year, the change was drastic. Adjusting was hard.

It was near the beginning of the year, and I had only known my roommate two months. One sunny day, I was in the cafeteria eating lunch. My day was going great until my roommate walked through the cafeteria doors. She was wearing my flip-flops, shirt, earrings and necklace. Usually it was not a big deal to me if she borrowed my clothes, but today was different! Some of the things she wore were brand-new, which I’m sure had something to do with my reaction. Whatever the reason, I was really ticked off.

I faced a crossroads in our relationship. I had two directions to choose from: I could do what came naturally and walk over to angrily tell her how I felt about her wearing my clothes, or I could cling to the Lord’s strength and love her as I love myself. Sitting in the cafeteria that day, I chose to seek the Lord’s path—but it was not easy. I was able to swallow my pride and wait till later to talk to her in the dorm. When the time was right, I told her what was on my heart and how I truly felt. I also explained how I was raised so that she could understand why I was so bothered.

She had no idea that what she did might be seen as rude. She had grown up much different from me. In her house, everyone shared everything. She did not claim what was hers as hers. She assumed, because we lived together, that we would share everything.

After that day, it was a struggle to constantly put my roommate before me, but I came to realize how much more important it is to love people than to let material things get in the way. I also learned how to love people through sharing what I have. I know that if Jesus wanted to wear my sandals, I would let Him without thinking twice. I would give Him everything I owned if He asked for it. God has slowly been teaching me that I should love other people the same way.

We are called to love and serve others the same way we love and serve Christ—the same way He loves and serves us. God used my roommate to humble me and to give me a glimpse of what it looks like to die to myself and to live for Christ.

Resolving Roommate Conflict

When two people live in close proximity, conflict will happen. When your roommate snaps at you for rearranging his graphic novel collection or when she cranks up her Dixie Chicks album for the fifth time that day, here are a few things to remember:

•  What you’re arguing about might just be a symptom. Sure, you forgot to give your roommate that phone message, but is that any reason to go ballistic? Maybe, maybe not. This incident might just be the tip of the iceberg. We all come to college with different histories and notions of what’s acceptable and where our boundaries are. Backing up a few steps from the present squabble and talking about our roots can prevent a lot of future conflicts.

•  Count on it: You drive your roommate crazy, too. You may have no idea what it is, but something you do makes your roommate want to scream. So when you complain to your roommate about his knuckle cracking or her overflowing laundry hamper, be willing to let the conversation turn to your own foibles and idiosyncrasies.

•  Look for a win-win solution. It’s usually healthier to negotiate than argue. In an argument, each person is trying to make the other lose. In a negotiation, each person is trying to find a solution in the best interest of both parties.

•  Conflict isn’t necessarily bad. Roommates are like two rocks in a sack—they grind a lot at first, but over time they smooth out each other’s rough edges and polish each other’s personalities. All this friction might actually be good for you in the long run.

Want more advice for the college years? Check out Student to Student: A Guide to College Life. It makes a great gift for recent high school grads!

From Student to Student: A Guide to College Life © 2008 by Paula Miller and Paul Buchanan. Published by Regal Books, Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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