rebelling against low expectations

Are You Making Progress This Semester?


Leaves are changing, coffee shops smell of pumpkin, and midterms are coming.  It’s my first semester living on campus at my university, and I’m taking advantage of Fall Break to rest and reset from the whirlwind.

Maybe you’re approaching the halfway point of your semester, too, and maybe it’s your first time living out of your parents’ immediate guidance.

If so, consider taking even half an hour to think about the habits and routines you’re forming. Even if it’s just another year of school, a time of reflection is a useful way to re-center on your goals and priorities.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. –Eph. 5:15-17

Find a quiet spot with a pen and paper, and let the questions below guide your reflection. Take time to get an accurate assessment of your basic habits, not the occasional exceptions.

Once you have a clear picture, you can start evaluating what’s going well and where you want to adjust.


Focus verse: Colossians 1:9-10

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

If you’re a believer, are you growing? What does this look like in your life?

Do you know Christ more than this time last year? Do you spend regular time with Him? What does that look like?

Do you have accountability in your life, people who see you regularly? Are you confronting and turning from sin?

Do you have a church home where you are? Are you fellowshipping with believers of different ages? Are you serving?

Are you speaking Christ to those around you?


Focus verse: Proverbs 13:20

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.


Do you have a wide range of friendly acquaintances, a circle of frequent friends, a smaller group of close friends?

Are they following Jesus? Do you avoid gossip? Do certain people tend to lead you into unwholesome talk? Do certain people encourage you towards Christ?

Are you spending a reasonable amount of time with them? Do you tend towards isolation or distraction?


Are you taking time to stay in touch? How can you love them from far away? Is your relationship with family members strong or does it need healing?

What do they need from you in this time? What do you need from them?

If you’re at home, are you serving them? Are you spending time with them? Are you obedient to your parents and loving to your siblings?


Focus Verse: Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

This area has the clearest metric: how are your grades?

Where do your grades need to be to reach your academic and career goals?

How are your study habits? Where can you and can’t you focus? What type of homework requires your full attention, and what can you do while with friends?

What do you tend to procrastinate on? Are you consistently on top of projects, or consistently surprised by deadlines?

How are your stress levels, and what are the main factors? Are you tackling big projects first, or saving them for last minute?

How do your studies fit into your future goals? How will your major and each class help you?

Do you study with this in mind?


Focus Verse: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

How’s your diet? When do you normally eat? Are you keeping up your energy? When do you eat the most junk food?

What are your sleeping habits? How much sleep do you need? When do you hit snooze? Does that cause stress, or are you relaxed in the mornings?

When and why do you stay up late? Do you take naps? Are they strategic or unplanned?

Are you getting any exercise? When do you work out, if ever? What makes you feel the best? Are there ways to include exercise in your daily life? Are you healthy overall?

Now what?

Focus Verse: Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

How are you doing? Are you making progress towards goals? Are you building good habits?

What’s working well, and what’s not working?

What are some clear action steps to improve? What patterns do you want to set?

More importantly, is the attitude of your heart in balance about these things? Are your motivations centered on Christ?

Take a breath. God has given you all you need for life and godliness, so let these reflections guide you as you tackle the rest of your semester for the glory of God.


Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

There are currently __ Comment(s)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Esther Johnson

is a writer, editor, and strategic communications major, passionate about connecting nonprofits with their supporters through social media storytelling. She likes lemon bars, morning runs, and Scottish accents. She has interned with Piercing Word Ministries performing and developing scripts, and you can find her writing regularly for Top Christian Books and on her blog.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Ironically, I go to a Christian school and I feel like I’m always rushing and don’t have a lot of time to read the Bible. Unfortunate, I know, but I found that kind of odd.

    • Yes, Joyce! I am actually going to a bible school and often feel like I am slacking in daily spending time with God. I completely relate. I love Esther’s piece here because it so beautifully convicting. I don’t know about you, but I needed these reminders! 🙂

    • Hi Joye! I’m at a Christian university, too, and am required to take several Bible classes. Isn’t it funny how we can busy ourselves with good pursuits at cost of time just sitting with Jesus? And yet what a blessing to have good biblical teaching integrated into our education.
      Something I’ve found useful is reading in the spare moments of my day–sitting on the bus, waiting for class to start–and asking God to show himself even in those brief times. I certainly haven’t mastered it, but He is faithful!

  • Good stuff, Esther. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed recently–I don’t feel like I have time to even think about this stuff.

    • It can be hard to take a pause when you’re scrambling to keep up. You can use a couple of the questions to help you clarify priorities and pare down commitments–don’t let them add to your stress!!
      Otherwise, keep up the good work, friend! And as a reminder (mostly for myself!) God loves you the same even when you don’t do all the things 😉

  • hi esther, even i’m not in college, but i can i have your suggestions to be dicipline?, And i never selected to join a competition in my school. But I’m sure of my ability. I’ve been praying for this, bu i have not get the answer. i havs so many problems in my school,I fell like i’m shunned by my school friends. Actually, i really want to be friends with famous people, i think they are fun BUT THE REALITY, THEIR LIVE ARE SO CROPING FROM THE BIBLE.. what should i do??? thanks 🙂

By Esther Johnson
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →