University is a new, exciting, and perhaps scary time for those just starting out – as I know from my own experience beginning at Aberystwyth University last year. Going away from home and your friends and family, and making new tracks is a big moment, so it’s good to know that all the students you meet are in the same boat! Perhaps you, as a Christian, are now having worries about how you will cope at living the Christian life in uni. How will I keep away from the drink culture? What about all the new temptations? I had all these thoughts niggling away in my mind before setting off. However, when I got there I found that the Lord really does provide for and keep his children wherever they go. ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’ – this promise from God only proves to be true.
When first arriving at university everybody is looking to get on with one another, since university is new to everyone, so making friends won’t be too big a problem. It is especially true that Christians will quickly befriend other Christians. When getting there, find out about your uni’s Christian Union and see what they’re doing (there are usually many events in the opening week). By being where other Christians are, you will quickly make good friendships that will help you in living for Christ at university.
A new family
When looking to live for Christ at university, it’s also very important to find and get settled at a good local church where you know you’ll hear the word of God taught each week. For me in my first week, I was provided with the preaching of Geoff Thomas at Alfred Place Baptist Church. I have found this to be an essential and wonderful help through my time at Aberystwyth and I’m reminded weekly of the loving and compassionate God who is giving us new strength every day. By finding a good church, you will find a spiritual refuge for your soul, and a family of brothers and sisters to care for you.
In all these things, it is comforting to remember that it is God who will provide all these good things to you. He tells us in the gospel of John, ‘I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you’ (John 14:18). As soon as you go, God will have long planned the way ahead of you and chosen your friends and your church – you’ll just come across them!
So, don’t panic! You will be looked after by your heavenly Father when you leave your parents back home and he provides us with good things. The way won’t always be easy (I know!) but you’ll receive all the help you need to remain devoted to Christ – just make sure you use it!