If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re a new student coming to university in London this year. I remember being in your shoes this time last year. And as someone who has survived first year, I’d love you give you some pieces of advice. But first, let me just set the record straight for those of you that may be nervous about this big transition – first year is not actually something you have to just survive, it’s also a time when you can thrive.
Here are three things that I learnt in my first year that I’d like to pass on to you:
First piece of advice: Enjoy living in halls.
Its 6.55 am and I hear the bass drop in my kitchen.
Today is my day off… Why am I awake at 6.55? And why can I hear that loud music, laughter and strangers’ voices in my flat at this time?! No one should be laughing this early in the morning.
Half consciously, I roll out of bed and make my way into the kitchen to find four large, bearded, pierced men, covered in tattoos.
One of my flat mates turns round and screams, “Annnnaaaaaa! These are our new friends from last night! Come, sit down, have a glass of wine!”
If you are living in halls for your first year, stuff like this will probably happen all the time – try not to get too angry! I ended up having a highly amusing morning watching them all, and a free fry up that they made me in apology for the early wake up!
Your flat mates will be a big part of your new life and your experience at University. You will be living amongst these guys pretty much 24/7. So this is a great opportunity to be an example of Jesus.
They will see you when you are happy, sad, when you look your worst, your best, the times when you feel close to God and the times when He feels further away. And likewise, you will be with them throughout it all as well. It’s a big change for all of you. Be open, honest, and love them no matter what time of the morning they wake you up! Show them in the everyday things what it means to know Jesus and His amazing grace.
Second piece of advice: Make the most of it! You’ll only do this once.
University has been one of the most fun, exciting, challenging experiences of my life so far.
You get ridiculous student discounts – so go out and do things, join a gym, take up a new hobby. Seeing as you’ve chosen to live in London for University, you have no excuse not to be out and about doing things. Joining societies or sports teams is a great way to make new friends. In a big, busy city like London it’s easy to get lost in the crowd and feel lonely. For me, I found I had to be really active about doing things and getting involved with university, sports, societies and church, in order to make friends.
Third piece of advice: Find a good church.
I know from experience that it can be hard being a Christian at University, so the people you surround yourself with are really important.
Find a good church that makes you excited to attend each Sunday. At ChristChurch London we have Student Connect Groups – make some Christian friends, along with your University friends. Introduce them to one another! Get involved with your church – everyone has something to offer!
Coming from a very Christian upbringing, University was a huge transition for me. Well, I have survived the first year and have learnt more than I ever thought possible. God has strengthened, loved and surprised me, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings!
I hope some of this advice has been useful for you and I pray all the best for you as you begin this new exciting season of your life.
Image: Good Advice by Jen Collins, used under CC