Dear Billy

If you could write a letter to yourself as you started uni, what would you say?

Dear Billy,

As you stand on the threshold of arguably the most important 4 years of your life, where friendships will be formed, directions chosen and mistakes made, there are a few things that I’d like to leave with you for your consideration and perhaps even your implementation.

You are only 19. Please don’t take that as criticism or even condescension but you are only 19! You are allowed to make mistakes for a few years before people expect you to really grow up. So use this time to try stuff where it doesn’t really matter what the outcome is, as long as you learn from it. I know that you are a committed Christian so be careful that you don’t do stuff that will come back to haunt you later in life and make it difficult for you to ‘feel worthy’. But even if you do fall morally or spiritually, learn to confess and accept forgiveness. There is nothing worse than a Christian who once ran well but has chosen to side-line themselves because of perceived unforgiveable sins. So just get over yourself and get back to serving God… even when you’ve blown it.

Be polite, be on time and do what you say you’ll do. These are basic courtesies but they are so seldom practiced that you will stand out from the crowd if you do them.

Set goals, write them down and have a plan as to how you will achieve them. No-one has ever achieved anything of note without having goals. Less than 1% of the population has any concrete idea what they’d like to achieve in life so this is one simple way to give yourself an incredible advantage when it comes to carving out a life that is rich and full and rewarding.

Don’t be afraid to ‘divorce’ a friend! You’ll discover that you occasionally take up with a friend because you feel sorry for them or because you feel vulnerable yourself but, years later, their constant negativity leaves you depressed whenever you see them. So, hard as it may feel… divorce them lovingly! Choose your friends wisely.

Finally, honour your father and your mother. They do love you, they do want the very best for you and they will always stand by you regardless. Honour them right through to their old age… even when they begin to smell a bit!

I could say a lot more but as you grow older you’ll discover you have a tendency to ramble on a bit too much and too often. I know, because I am that man!

Love and blessings,


Miriam Swanson

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church for student mission internationally. She's based in the USA and hungry to see young adults follow Jesus with all of who they are. 

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