King Solomon’s Advice for College Students
Entering college or university can be challenging and scary! Here are some principles from wise King Solomon that can help college freshmen.
Do a quick Google search and you will find thousands of resources for college students, giving tips on everything from how to manage your money to what to eat, from how often to relax to what to pack for dorm living.
There is a lot of helpful material—so much that it can be pretty overwhelming! But there is another source the new college student can, and should, go to for guidance.
King Solomon, who ruled over Israel in the tenth century B.C., was blessed by God with exceptional wisdom (1 Kings 10:23). The book of Proverbs is his expression of that wisdom, written in short, bite-sized chunks that contain profound truths. Think of Proverbs as ancient Tweets, except way better!
How to get the most out of college
The book of Proverbs contains many nuggets of wisdom that can help college students. Here are a few.
- Be diligent.
Workloads at college can be heavy, and many students unwittingly (or knowingly) waste time online or with friends, only to complain that they don’t have time to study. Go figure!
College is all about learning new things and expanding your view of the world, but sometimes there are so many voices telling you to see things their way that it’s easy to become more of a retainer of information than a sifter for knowledge. Critical thinking is an indispensable tool for any college student.Proverbs has a lot to say about procrastination and diligence: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest” (6:6-8). Like the ant, students should work hard and steadily, working on assignments ahead of time, so due dates don’t catch them off guard.
The best way to get a bad grade is to leave a big writing assignment unwritten until 10 p.m. the night before it’s due!
- Be circumspect.
College is all about learning new things and expanding your view of the world, but sometimes there are so many voices telling you to see things their way that it’s easy to become more of a retainer of information than a sifter for knowledge. Critical thinking is an indispensable tool for any college student.
But thinking critically doesn’t mean always dismissing other people’s ideas out of hand. Proverbs clarifies: “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps” (14:15). Being prudent—looking before you leap, weighing both sides of an argument, cautiously appraising new ideas—is the mark of a wise person and will set you above the crowd.
It is also important to keep your grounding in the Bible, because you will encounter many alternative philosophies. Stay grounded in why the Bible is true and authoritative!
- Be friendly—wisely.
When you think of college, you think of parties and spending time with friends, right? Sure, the social scene of college students is an important counterpart to the hours (hopefully) spent studying and completing assignments. But is there a downside to being social?
Even though Solomon says “there is safety in having many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14, New Living Translation), he also says to choose your companions wisely: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (12:26).
If your friends are pulling you from what you know is right or prudent, you may need a change in scene. Gravitate toward activities that are clean fun (bowling, cards and good movies) and away from the activities that can lead to trouble (parties, clubbing, etc.).
- Be responsible with money.
Money (or the lack thereof!) is one of the big issues almost every college student has to deal with. A select few get enough financial aid to cope, but many have to rely on third-party aid such as loans. What could Solomon, the richest man in ancient Israel, know about that?
How about this: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (22:7). While it seems like Solomon is saying not to take out loans, what he’s really after is responsibility and being careful about debt.
Loans, for many, are a requirement to pay for college tuition, but what about your other expenses? Should you stay in the nice dorm or save money by staying at home or in a less-expensive apartment? What do you use your credit cards for, and do you have a plan to pay them off? Do you have a budget?
If you have taken out loans, you are already in debt. Why add to it with careless or frivolous spending? College is a time of preparation for life, so it does require sacrifice and denying yourself luxuries that you really cannot afford.
How to get the most out of life
The book of Proverbs is packed with good wisdom for the college life, but God had a far bigger picture in mind when He inspired Solomon to put pen to paper. The wisdom described in the book of Proverbs comes from God Himself, and He is willing to give it in abundance if we sincerely ask Him for it (James 1:5-8).
Proverbs is a guide for righteous living, whether you’re in college or not!
To learn more about this book that is full of practical wisdom, read our article on Proverbs.