College Student: Be a Game-Changer & Beat the Need for “Adulting”

by Sally Matheny

College Student: Be a Game-Changer
When my children were preschoolers, they “beat” me in every game. I made sure they buzzed in answers before me, scored the most points, and reached the finish line first.

Why? Because I did not want them to be upset if they failed to win.

The same took place in other areas. Batches of backward letters were praised, rather, than reshaped. Misspoken words adored instead of corrected. Scored baskets enticed wild cheers at their first basketball games. We did not dare mention the refs overlooking some serious walking infractions.

Why? Because I, like many others, wanted my child to feel successful.

Eventually, we enforced playing games with integrity.  Corrections began to flow into all areas of my kids’ lives. Sometimes they did get upset. There were angry outbursts, tears, and “I quit” attitudes.

For the sake of peace, I almost wanted to slip back into letting them be right, even if they were wrong. Almost.

Which brings me to today’s topic. Have you heard of "adulting"? 

I recently read an article by the Associated Press about an “adulting” counseling program initiating at East Carolina University. Based on their increase in student counseling sessions, the program’s design is to “help students deal with failure and other pitfalls of growing up.”

This article generated so many troubling thoughts I’ll have plenty to blog about in the future. However, today, I’ll focus on one statement reported in The Daily Reflector of Greenville. East Carolina’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Virginia Hardy said,

“Students don’t have an opportunity as much these days to manage failure; they don’t experience it in certain ways as much so they don’t know how to manage it when it happens.”      

Say what?

I’m flabbergasted. Totally. Flabbergasted.

First, I’m not a psychologist so I apologize if I do not fully understand the problem. No doubt, some of those “9,000” counseled at East Carolina had justifiable issues.

While I’d like to address the parents, and even the university, today I’ll just share a few thoughts for the college students.

First, I’m sincerely sorry you’ve not been given the opportunities to fail. You’ve been robbed.

Nothing equals the moment when past failures sweat out a success.

How many attempts did Thomas Edison make before developing light bulbs for the home?

1,000 times.

Nothing equals the moment when past
failures sweat out a success.

It, like most things in life, involved a process of learning from the mistakes of others as well as his.

Many days, Thomas Edison probably felt like pulling his hair out. Maybe he stepped away for a break, talked to a friend, or scrapped everything and started over.

Yet, he did not give up. He had a goal and he persevered.
No one wants disappointments. But what we learn from them can make us wiser and stronger.

Students, there may be benefits from the “relaxation techniques” and the school’s instruction on “changing unproductive negative thoughts and “self-talk.” Nevertheless, success boils down to one thing.


Cheating, drugs, and alcohol will not bring satisfying relief or success.

Hang out with the young adults who are working two or three jobs just to go to college. Ask them and the students you see studying more than going out on weekends, what drives them.

Observe the other student who is struggling in class, but isn’t caving in. What’s different about her? Is it her fortitude? Her faith? Perhaps her resilience comes from knowing God has a purpose for her life. She may not have a full understanding of what that is yet, but she knows she has to do her part in the training. She presses on, works hard to learn all she can, and asks for God’s help.

College students, no matter what your parents, coaches, or teachers have done, or not done for you, it’s your turn to roll. You are capable of success. Granted, if your life has been made easy up until now, the challenges may seem insurmountable.

I encourage you to persevere. Do hard things. Don’t broaden your comfort zone by just sticking out a big toe. Put your whole foot out there! Then, keep taking one step at a time.

Refuse an easy escort to the finish line. Be a game-changer. Beat the need for “adulting” and be the adult.

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