I arrived at university feeling very nervous but little did I know it would be the best thing that ever happened to me!
This September, thousands of students in the UK are heading off to university for the first time. As they look forward to a new city, new friends and new challenges, they’re bound to be excited, but starting this next stage in life can be pretty daunting too.
Evie arrived as a fresher at the University of Chester feeling very nervous about the years ahead, but ended up going along to a few events run by the Christian Unions during freshers’ week. There she received a warm welcome and immediately felt at home. She also heard something that would change her life forever and give her hope for the future. She says:
‘Following a long period of troubled times and despite not getting the grades needed, I somehow got a place to study Events Management at Chester and little did I know it would be the best thing that ever happened to me! I arrived feeling very nervous but felt at home immediately upon meeting my new house mates.
During freshers’ week, my two new housemates, Jill and Laura, took me to several CU events – including cuppa, where the CU hand out hot drinks outside a nightclub. I remember someone asking me why I was handing out cups of tea at 2am and I couldn’t give them an answer – Why WAS I handing out hot drinks and not out partying like others? During my first year I continued to witness Jill and Laura going to church and CU events and I also met other Christians that came around to the house.
I remember a key moment sitting in Jill’s room and asking her how to pray. During the course of first year we had to sign for houses and I was torn between Jill and Laura or course friends. However I knew it was the right decision to live with Jill and Laura, despite it meaning I would be the only non-Christian in a five person house.
As it came into my second year I was nervous about living in the new house, but soon settled in with Laura, Jill, Dani and Lizzie. From this point on I witnessed Christianity more and more. I saw the girls going to CU every week, going to church, having house prayer every Friday and holding a weekly small group. I went to multiple CU events and thought about Christianity more often than I realised. At one point I would sit on the stairs and listen in secret whilst small group happened.
At the very start of 2014, I unfortunately lost my Grandad and despite my initial sadness, I knew that he was okay. I attended a local church the next day with the girls and prayed, wanting to talk to my Grandad. I was filled with such love that day, a love that I cannot describe or ever forget!
The following month it was just Jill and I at home and we went to church together. The girls were at Forum and little did I know that they were praying for me! After a lovely family service I knew I needed to say something and before I knew it was in floods of tears and gave my life to Christ. Telling the girls at Forum made them all cry hysterically!
From then on, I continued to be encouraged by my house, CU and attending church weekly. The biggest moment was the CU weekend away towards the end of 2014 – there I truly realised how powerful God was and how strong His love was. His Grace is amazing and being a Christian isn’t about following a religion, it’s about having a relationship with God.
I know that God placed me in Chester for this reason and I am so grateful to everyone that has encouraged me on this journey and I am so excited for what is in store during the next chapter of my life. PRAISE THE LORD!’
Pray for students like Evie! Download our list of university freshers' weeks and pray for them as they happen.