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A Letter to College-Bound Students

Written by Bill Dinsmore on

Dear College-Bound Student,

Heading off to college for me was the biggest transition of my life, even bigger than when I got married. There was no other time where my identity seemed up for grabs. Even though I was a Christian, I was so immature that I did not yet fully comprehend that my sole identity was in Christ.

Up until that point, my heart was wrapped up in pursuing a possible career in baseball and being in a relationship with my girlfriend of three years. Upon entering college, all of that was changing. Having been evaluated by the Pittsburgh Pirates, I realized that going pro was not an option. This created a major change in my thinking about the future. In addition, my girlfriend was heading off to another school, so I was forced to find new friends when I arrived at Grove City College.

Going into college, I was confused, disappointed, lonely, insecure, and spiritually immature. I do not think I made the best decisions. As I look back, I realize there are many things that I would do differently.

When arriving on campus, I wish that:

1. I would have pursued a Bible Study

I wish I’d connected with men from a solid local church so that I had spiritual accountability outside of other students on campus. What I know now that I didn’t know then is that I needed to have mature people speaking into my life, thus helping me to make wise decisions.

2. I would have been intentional to form friendships with other Christian students

Instead of pursuing unhealthy friendships for fun and social implications, I wish I’d been more purposeful in pursuing Christian friendships that would have helped me grow more in my faith.

3. I would have belonged to a group such as InterVarsity or Cru

I wish I would have taken advantage of the Christian organizations on campus like InterVarsity or Cru. Those types of groups would have provided fellowship, but also would have helped me be intentional about sharing the gospel with nonbelievers.

4. I would have been much more intentional about starting my day with Bible study and prayer

I realize today the importance of daily devotions but back then, I was not disciplined enough to start my day in the Bible.  On the baseball team, I would have sought out being a chaplain for the team. I would have focused on bringing players together for prayer.

5. I would have embraced my role as a servant

If I could return to college, I would have lived as a servant to my classmates, trying to selflessly help them and serve them as much as I could.

6. I would have sought help

If I were to go back, I would have surrounded myself with more community and sought out help for my anxiety and discouragement instead of just trying to handle them myself.

7. I would have taken my studies more seriously

Finally, I would have considered my studies more so as a gift and calling from God—something that I should steward well. Instead, I saw my studies only as a vehicle to get a job out of college.

A Letter to College-Bound Students

These are seven things that I wish I would have done differently or approached with a different perspective. Thus, they serve as my recommendations to you as you enter the college ranks.

So, college-bound students, the next several years of your life offer you the opportunity to focus on spiritual and academic growth without many of life’s distractions. So, take advantage of this time! Use it to develop a healthy Christian worldview and learn to live out your Christian calling before you leave college and enter the workforce.  

In Christ,

Bill Dinsmore

Bill Dinsmore

Bill joined the staff of College Park Church in 2011 as the Executive Pastor of Ministry. In this role, he served alongside the Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor of Operations to implement the vision and direction of the Elders and Leadership Team. Bill, who retired in 2021, still serves as an elder, overseeing the Small Groups Ministry. 

Bill is passionate about seeing people grow in their understanding of who the God of the Bible really is, and then live their lives fully devoted to him. He enjoys spending time with his wife, his two daughters and their husbands, and his six grandchildren.

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