Our mate Tasha has put together her top tips for anyone starting uni this autumn. It can be a pretty daunting few months, and for many of us it can be the first time we venture away from our home churches and family lives to explore new friendships and expressions of Christianity. There’s lots of news questions, opinions and experiences thrown at us, so here’s some tips on not just surviving, but thriving!
Firstly, go to uni full of the confidence that God adores you and sent you to this uni at this time. Whether you see yourself as the outgoing loud kid or the one who prefers a bit of quiet, God sent you to that flat, that course and those people. Just as God sends Christians all over the world and to all different environments, He gives them what they need and in turn He gives you what you need. Here are a few principles that Christians across the world live by when God sends them to a new place…
1. Check your priorities
What is important to you? Don’t just get swept along, make active decisions about how you use your time and money. If something is important to you, protect it. It might take a few weeks to work out where to make a stand or draw the line but it is helpful to decide some principles before hand and stick to them. These could be around drinking, relationships or other key areas in your life.
2. Find other Christians
Churches are a great place for this. Sometimes it is really tough living with people who don’t understand or completely disagree with the way you choose to live or what you believe in. Sometimes the way others live can make you question things you have always thought too; Churches are a great place to meet other Christian students and older Christians who are great at supporting you and encouraging you in your adventure with Jesus.
Spend time with people you wouldn’t naturally be drawn to: they are often the most interesting ones!
3. Do what you are sent to do well
Work hard, play hard: true even at university. Study hard and stay on top of your work, throw yourself into societies and be an active member of whatever you choose to be a part of. You will have great experiences, meet great people and have a laugh. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” You will get out what you put into uni – sometimes you will have to say no to going out to make sure you’re studies go well, but it is worth it. Go for it and have a blast.
4. Get to know people
People are fascinating and at university you’ll meet all sorts of brilliant and different people. What an incredible opportunity to brush alongside all sorts of people? You will have hall mates, course mates, people from societies and random people you meet. Pray that God will guide you to certain people and be interested in others’ lives and opinions. Spend time with people you wouldn’t naturally be drawn to: they are often the most interesting ones!
5. Be yourself
Have a laugh and enjoy your time. Do what you love doing and love people well. As you spend time with people throughout your years at uni, people will see Jesus. Whether it is planting seeds for the future or leading people to Christ, if you let him, God will shine out of you. It’s easier if you tell people of your faith straight off rather than waiting until the end of the year, but remember that God is with you.
Christians across the world are being themselves and living for Jesus. God has sent you to university to do the same. You will face challenges and breakthroughs, joys and disappointments but through it all, the Lord is faithful.