5 worst tips for freshers
Heading off to Uni? Whatever you do, don’t…
1. Hide your faith
Going off to uni is often seen as your chance to renew your identity and start afresh. It can be tempting to downplay your faith or hide it completely. After all, who wants to be known as the slightly outdated or deluded person, or carry any of the labels our secular society puts on Christians?
However, being a Christian means you have been set free: free from sin, free from guilt, free from a life seeking to please others or be affirmed by them. In Christ, you have a sure foundation on which to base your identity, and anything else you might try to build on – sporting success, academic achievement, beauty or popularity – is only going to let you down in the end.
The life which Jesus has won for you on the cross – the life of freedom and salvation, knowing you are loved and accepted by God – is not one to keep hidden, but to be shared. Be honest with those around you about being a Christian and point them to Him who set you free!
2. Go it alone
So you’re convinced that you need to live your faith out loud – great! If you try to do this on your own, however, you will quickly become discouraged and lose motivation if your friends are uninterested or even hostile towards Christianity. Instead, seek out and join your local Christian Union.
Together as a united, student-led community of Christians on campus, you can spur each other on in making Jesus known in your uni. By meeting together to pray and study the Bible you can encourage each other to be motivated by God’s grace.
You can be trained and supported by your UCCF Staff Worker. By using shared time, ideas, resources and gifts, you can be more effective – giving the whole university a chance to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus, as well as just those you know personally.
3. Stop going to church
Prayer – check. Bible – check. Outreach – check. Church – ?
CU is not church. The CU is a missionary arm of the church, reaching out to students in relevant and engaging ways, but it is not the whole body and simply cannot replace being part of a church.
Church is the main place where you will receive teaching to be spiritually nourished and to grow and mature as a disciple of Christ, to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength. So don’t think you can leave church our because you go to CU.
4. Fill your week with Christian activities
Once you are part of both CU and a church, you’ll find that you could easily fill every evening of the week with a Christian activity of some form or another. Prayer meetings, CU Bible studies, church small groups, CU outreach events, social justice initiatives and community outreach are all excellent things and all have their place.
But you need to think carefully about what meetings you’ll commit to regularly. The plethora of societies available at uni is probably the largest you’ll ever encounter in your life – and you can use your God-given passions, talents, abilities and interests to make the most of it! Whether its sport, music, dance, drama, food, games or films – whatever your passion, join a society that you love.
You may well come into contact with people who might otherwise never have met a Christian. And wherever God places you, you can be sure He will use you to introduce people to Jesus.
5. Forget about your friends
Uni life can be a real whirlwind. There’s so much studying, so much to do and, with CU and church added in, it may feel like you’ll never be able to squeeze in time for just hanging out with the new people you meet and getting to know them better.
However, university friendships are so valuable and so worth investing in. Never again will you live life so intensely and so close by to your immediate friendship circle. Sharing kitchens, common rooms and corridors provides great opportunities to share your life with others.
Make time to go for coffee, grab a pint, watch films, play games, cook dinner together and look out for each other. Jesus invested a lot of time with His closest friends and stopped to care for people’s needs. Let’s pray that we will love as Jesus did.