This coming week you will start college. How surreal is that?
Everybody always says it and I hate that it’s true but … where has the time gone?
It seems like just last month you were this little guy that I could literally hold with one arm.
I swear it was just a couple weeks ago that we were in our apartment in Macon and we were wrestling and tackling each other while playing football in our living room. “Look how close you are to that touchdown.” All you wanted to do was to see the replays.
I feel like it was just last week that you were getting into superheroes and Star Wars and we were having light saber battles and you would call that same dumb play in the college football video game and freaking score every time.
It was pretty much just yesterday in my mind that you were in your first play at CLT where you fell in love with acting. It was the catalyst that leads you to where you are today.
This is not just a letter of reminiscing, although I suppose you’ll forgive me for doing a little bit of that. This is a time to call you forward. This is another step in your journey to manhood. Further up and further in.
This is your next giant to slay. Your next lion to kill.
College is a time for you to really dig into who (and whose) you are and to figure out all the things life has to offer. It is a time for you to make decisions for yourself. For the most part, this is the time in your life where you will take the foundation that we’ve laid for you and start to build on it. When our ceiling becomes your floor. That doesn’t mean that you have to go out on your own or figure it all out by yourself. We’re still here for you and will, for as long as we can, continue to help you understand your world.
Let me start here.
I want you to know that I truly believe in you and what you’re doing. I know that you are called to do this. You are meant to be at this school, doing what you’re doing. Right here, right now. You’re meant to be an actor. I’ve seen God do too many things and work this out in too many ways for me to think it’s all just an accident. This is what you are meant to do and I am excited to see what you do with it.
All that being said, here are some things that I want to leave you with as you move forward into this next stage of your life. Hopefully you’ll find wisdom in some of these words.
Jesus first, Jesus always
First and foremost always rely on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Always, always, always.
This is a time of great exploration for you. That’s how it should be. But … don’t forget your foundation.
God created you, Jesus died for you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you to guide and direct you. You will know the right thing to do because God knows the right thing for you to do.
If you listen to Jesus and do what He says, you’re gonna be okay.
Take part in all the things
Avoid the “man I wish I would have’s”.
There are so many things going on in college. Maybe they will look a little different in this COVID-19 world, but I know your school is doing all it can to make your first year as “normal” as possible.
Know your limits, for sure. Realize when you need to pull back and re-energize. But also, lean in and participate in as much as you can. Go to the events, the ceremonies, and the get-togethers. You most likely won’t ever get the chance to do college like this ever again. You don’t want to look back later and wish you had done more.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
You know this eternal truth already.
You have the opportunity to get to know some pretty awesome people who want to get to know you. Your professors, others in the departments you’re a part of, and people that you meet in organizations around campus. These are people who want to help you and are willing to work with you. Take advantage of that.
Be there when the doors open and leave when they close. Go to your professors office hours and get to know them personally. Get as much information as you can from as many people as you can.
This will only help you in the future.
Ask questions. Better yet … ask hard questions. Be inquisitive. Learn all you can about the subjects you’re learning about … especially as it relates to acting. Even in the subjects that don’t relate directly to acting find a way to make them relate. That will help keep you interested and motivated to learn.
Take the time to learn how to learn and then learn all you can.
Take it seriously.
This whole college thing is a really big deal.
You’re paying for this education. This education is supposed to prepare you for your future. This isn’t a game.
Work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Give this your utmost attention and effort. You won’t ever regret the things that you work hard for.
This will not be easy but it’s completely worth it. Give it everything you’ve got.
Because it can’t be all work all the time, right?
You’re in that wonderful time where you’re like half adult-ing and half kid-ing. You have responsibilities that you have to own, but you don’t really have that many responsibilities.
Enjoy your time. Make new friends and explore your world. College might be a lot of hard work but you can have fun while working hard. Find that balance.
I love you, son.
I hope that me saying that isn’t embarrassing for you.
I love you and I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the man you are becoming.
College will test you. It’s supposed to. Like I said, it’s a lion for you to slay. Remember, gold is purified in the fire.
You’re a smart dude and you’ll figure this all out. I want you to know that I’m here for when you have questions (and you will have questions). Just because you’re going to college doesn’t mean that I’m done being your dad.
I love you champ,
To anyone else reading this, here’s my shameless plug: If you’re hiring actors, give my son a call. He’s the guy you want.