When I went through basic training, my group and I were wiped out after the first day of drills and training. At the end of the day, our gunnery sergeant scolded us. “Shame on you for coming to basic training knowing what it would be like, and you still came here lazy and fat.” Looking back on that memory, I’ve realized those words apply to much more than just military training. That sentiment can also apply to those who come to Armstrong College. Some students apply for college, knowing what it would be like, and then are unprepared when they arrive. Most of the time, they can adjust, but their first semester or year can be rough. On the other hand, some come very prepared and have a much easier time of it. If you reading this want to come to AC, read the rest of this article to find out how to make yourself ready for it.
The first law of success is to fix the right goal. But the second law is equally important. Without that second law, achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams is much more difficult. If you pay attention to your education, then you’re much more likely to fulfill your goal, whatever it is. Those two laws are mutually dependent on one another.
I’ll be talking about God’s college in this article, but you should still fix the goal of attaining a quality education, whether at AC or not. Mr. Armstrong used to say that salvation is education. Your education is of paramount importance—it will impact everything you do from this point forward. Going to AC is a great way to further your education. I really encourage as many as possible to make coming to AC your goal. There are reasons not everyone can come—family situations, legal situations, health, etc. God understands those reasons. If you’re not able to come to AC, of course you can be successful, pursue education, find a great job, be prepared for marriage and family, and support God’s Work. But for those of you who are able, I hope you will choose to come to AC. I strongly believe God wants you here.
Let’s be practical here. God is the ultimate decision-maker over who comes to His college, but how do you do your part so that God can bring you here?
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” Don’t think this goal is unattainable. With that mindset, you are quitting before you ever begin! On the other hand, you can wish for things, but that alone won’t make it happen. “I wish I could go to AC. I wish I could be fitter or smarter.” Those are fine goals, but you have to take action at some point. What do you need to do to put yourself in the position where God can bring you to His college? The answer is found in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Fight Satan, Self and Society
The number one way to prepare for AC is to learn to fight with all your might.
If you set the goal, then go for it with all you have! Fight for it! If you look at Bible history and prophecy, the ones that don’t succeed are the ones that let that fire burn out. They may start on fire, but then they never take the steps to keep the fire going. They aren’t feeding it with the fuel it needs to keep burning.
The difference between something being a goal or merely a thought is how fired up you are about it. If something is truly a goal of yours, then you can conquer every obstacle Satan uses to try to put out the fire! You’ll be willing to fight against any force that wants to keep you from reaching your goal, whether it’s money or peer pressure or anything else Satan throws at you.
There are a few areas of your character you must address before you can pursue education at AC, or any other venture in life. There are requirements to come to AC that you must start preparing for now. If you struggle in the following areas, start fighting to overcome now.
The number two way to prepare for AC is to pray about it.
That is the most important point. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget. Now is the time to start enhancing a friendship with God—more than just a casual relationship.
Your Friend promises to help you do all things (Philippians 4:13). “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). God is always ready to help us, but in order to receive His help, our friendship with the Father must be sincere. It can’t just be sleepy words. And as is true with every friend, you must be consistent. If you’re around someone all the time, but only talk once a month, are they really a friend? You have to fight for it and place a great value on it for it to be a strong friendship.
There are multiple times a day, before any and every activity, when we need that help, and that will certainly be true if you go to Armstrong College. There’s great power in this promise. Get into the habit of communicating with Him all day long—“pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God and Christ love to hear from us all day long. The only way you’ll thrive at AC or in life is to bring God into every detail of your daily life.
Your health should be strong when you come to college.You need to be fit. You need to have proper eating habits established. It’s easy to be lazy or eat junk food. This is another area where you have to fight in order to be healthy and strong. Learn to exercise. Push yourself so that you’re tired by the end of the day, and that will help you if you struggle to sleep. If you’re not strong and healthy, college is far more difficult. If you can’t participate in activities because of poor health, you will miss out on a large part of the AC education.
Here’s a few of the things that you’ll have to do at AC: complete 20 hours of work every school-week, attend three 55-minute Physical Education classes each week, write several term papers, give speeches, do dorm duties, attend all your classes and finish homework on time, and attend special college formal events. You’ll have to be in good health to make sure all those things get done—not to mention the “strongly encouraged” activities like sports, dating, work parties, outreaches, etc. You know what to expect at college—if you come with bad eating habits and laziness, and not exercising, that lack of preparations reveals to God how much you care about being here! Address these character issues now. That way you can come here and focus on the spiritual without having to overcome the physical hurdle first.
Armstrong College students are expected to be good students academically. One of AC’s educational objectives is “To develop a sound mind, thinking sensibly, clearly, and independently, and ultimately being led by the Spirit of God.” You can begin that process now by applying yourself in your studies, which will give God something to work with when you arrive. You should be good at all the subjects. It’s easy to say, “I don’t like math,” or, “I’ve never been good at memorizing.” Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, obviously, but fight to improve in the areas you struggle with. Take it to God and learn to work your way through any subject! God expects us to drive ourselves. He expects you to come here ready. Try to take a godly level of pride in your intelligence. Never brag about or accept a poor level of intelligence!
There will be a lot of assigned reading at AC. You will need to be able to perform at least simple mathematics. You will need to be able to write papers. You will need to be able to remember facts and scriptures. It’s hard work, but hard work is expected at God’s college—and anywhere you go after.
God wants dynamic students at His college. Encyclopedia.com defines dynamic as, “A process characterized by constant change; activity or progress; (of a person) positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.” Those who are dynamic—those who are positive and full of energy and new ideas—are the ones that do the best at AC. If you want to be challenged, this is the college for you!
Other Areas to Consider
Other ways you can prepare for AC are developing your talents and broadening your interests. Perhaps you have a talent for art, foreign languages, singing, or computers. God can find special ways to help you use those talents in His Work.
Prepare for the social life of classmates and roommates. A great way to do this is by strengthening your conversation skills at services and with your family. Think about your work ethic in your chores or at your job. Develop your artistic abilities, whether in dance, music, photography, graphic design, etc. Whatever those talents and blessings are, God needs them in His Work—that’s why He gave them to you! God expects us to develop those talents and interests. We’re not all able to play musical instruments. We don’t all dance. But God doesn’t want us all to be the same. Whatever talent you have, do it with your might!
“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:18). Are we serving God? Are we becoming more dynamic? God is coming to take account and reward accordingly. God wants everybody to help serve the Work. He wants you.
Remember Ecclesiastes 9:10. We all know what it says there. If Armstrong College is your goal, act on it with all your might. That’s how you prepare for God’s college! God loves hard work, no matter what we’re working on: our prayer life, diet, extracurricular activities. Whatever it is, work hard at it.
Be on fire. Be dynamic. Fight. Work to come to God’s college. Ask God to work miracles in your life. Come to college with a dynamic mindset, because as S.E.P. and the college students prove, AC is absolutely dynamic. If you want to attend Armstrong College, whether in a few months or in a few years, prepare now to make it the best two or four years possible. Start today!