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Three things I wish I'd known as a fresher

Thinking back to my freshers’ week, I’d do a lot differently.

I’d look up where the nearest shops were earlier so I wouldn’t have to live off toast for quite so long. And double-check my timetable to avoid arriving ridiculously early to a tutorial and sitting with my tutor for an awkward half-hour before everyone else arrived…

But above all, I would have loved starting uni more if I’d had a clearer view of who I am and who God is.

So, here are three things to remember during those first few weeks.

  1. You’re not in control, and that’s ok

Humanly, when you arrive in your new room laden with boxes, coat hangers and bedsheets fresh from IKEA, your life has been orchestrated by admissions officers, course leaders and accommodation administrators. Thankfully, we know that God has worked through each of these people to bring you to the exact place He wants you.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that ‘we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’.

God’s got this sorted; even if you don’t know why you are where you are, He does! Trust that – and enjoy discovering what He’s prepared for you. Get excited about meeting the people He has planned you’ll move in next door to, sit with in your lecture and chat to in the Domino’s queue.

  1. There’s freedom in surrendering

Truly knowing God’s authority over your life brings real liberation. If, through Jesus, God approves of me, I don’t need to strive for popularity or reinvent myself or change my interests to blend in. I can rest in the knowledge that I am loved by God and enjoy the place He has put me.

As a fresher I was always hoping an older, wiser Christian would tell me what was ‘okay’ to get involved in, and what to avoid. I wish I’d known then how to affirm what’s good and God-given, while gently challenging areas that weren’t. To be able to go to a party and enjoy God’s good gifts of friendship and music, while knowing I’m loved and approved of whether or not I’m ‘the fun one’ – that’s what it’s like to know the true freedom of the gospel.

  1. Bring others along for the ride

If you live your life this way, others will notice. If you’re the one who’s keen to get involved but has the stability that comes with knowing satisfaction is in Jesus alone, people will want to get in on that – because that’s how we’re designed to live! Why not plan how you can demonstrate this as soon as you arrive? Something as simple as cooking a meal for your flat during freshers’ week is such a clear way to show the welcome of the gospel; the same God who knows and loves you and has planned your every step (Psalm 121) is ready to welcome them home with open arms too.

Lizzie Fry is a CU Staff Worker based in Leeds, helping students to share their faith at university. She’s passionate about Jesus, creativity and dogs. 

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