Abide | How Not To Waste Your University Years
This is a great post to read if you are thinking about making the most of a new term at university, or perhaps starting for the first time. In a time of new beginnings, it's so important to keep prioritising your relationship with God. Keep Him first! Lucy x
It's a new chapter. It's an exciting time! Perhaps you're about to embark on your first move away from home. A new season awaits and you just can't wait to throw yourself into university life. It's a season which will shape and mould you in ways you never experienced before.
But with this new season and all its incredible opportunities also lies the possibility of not living these years productively. In a new season with new educational and cultural demands, possible financial constraints, and copious opportunities for peer pressures: there is a big tendency to waste these valuable years.
I don't like living life with regrets, or looking back and wishing I could change or alter the past in some way. But if I could turn back the hands on the clock and give my 18-year-old self some pointers before I started this new chapter, I would. I don't claim to have all the answers but I hope that these five pointers will shed some light on making the most of your university years.
1) FEAST ON HIS WORD.
Make reading your bible an absolute priority every day. Set your alarm and spend quality time with Jesus. These are years in which you can really fall in love with Jesus, meditate on His word and really seek His direction and will in your life. Stay deeply rooted and grounded in Him by ensuring that God remains your focus and priority. If you prefer a guide, you can use our study guides or try these companies:
2) MAKE A STAND FROM DAY ONE.
When I began university, I spent my first semester living primarily for myself and my own desires and I didn't really shine for Jesus during this time. Don't be afraid to let people know you're a Christian. You will be surprised by the opportunities which will stem from such a step of obedience.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
3) GET INVOLVED.
Beginning university can be overwhelming at times with plenty of new coursework demands, meeting a bunch of new people and just trying to find your way. I would urge you not to wait until you have "settled in" before you go church searching (I'm guilty here!). Visit different churches and then find one to commit to - put your roots down, visit the Christian Union or attend CU events in fresher’s week. These are great ways to get to know other Christians which will be an invaluable community for your time at university.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 24
4) GO ON A MISSION TRIP.
I know after a stressful year of study and the busyness of university life, that you perhaps are inclined to relax by a beach and take a good break. I know I felt like that! But I would challenge you to consider the possibility of joining a short term trip mission trip during your university summer. For however long you choose to go for, to wherever you go, these trips can be life changing. I know the short term mission trips I have been that way for me and were a springboard in shaping my future plans beyond university. Have a look at these mission organisations for ideas:
5) ENJOY THESE YEARS - THEY ARE OVER BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!
These can be years for incredible growth academically, personally, and spiritually. God can and will use you in these years to do amazing things for Him if you are open and seeking Him. I know personally these years have enabled me to experience true Christian friendships for the first time and enabled personal growth in my walk with Jesus.
“And who knows but that you have come to your [student] position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
So when term comes around again, embrace this new chapter! But in amongst all the excitement and new experiences and opportunities, don't lose sight of Jesus. Keep Him always at the centre of your life.
Remember God has put you where you are to be salt and light to those around you.
These years will definitely not be wasted if you live them fully open and surrendered to Jesus. He alone is sovereign and promises to go before you throughout your university years and beyond.
Amy graduated from the University of Edinburgh last summer. After an amazing 4 years at university, she now works as a primary school teacher. She loves travelling, running, and hanging with friends. She is passionate about living her life completely surrendered to Jesus and making His name known.