9 things I wish I’d known before going to uni… 

So you're off to uni. It's exciting, everyone is asking how you're feeling and you already know you've got waaaaay too much to fit in the car. There are a lot of unknowns and things you're wondering about, so here are 9 things I wish I'd known before going to university!

1. You (probably) won’t find your best friends in your first few weeks of uni 

Sounds self-explanatory, but sometimes it hit me when I got in from a night out or had exciting news to share, that my best friends were miles away from me. True friendship begins after the honeymoon period of Freshers week wears off. It is built over the late nights and the gritty conversations that you don’t really want to have. It takes time and effort to grow, so give yourself (and others) grace as you work out who your people are. And you will work out who your people are. 

2. People are open to hearing about Jesus 

I believed the lie that as soon as I brought up the name ‘Jesus’, people would either run a mile or through rotten tomatoes at me on the street. Turns out, people are more open than I thought. There really is no reason to be scared to bring Jesus into a conversation, especially as many are wanting to learn about Him, regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds. It’s no longer a risk to bring Him up, but a risk not to. 

3. Your goal isn’t to convert people 

The motivation for telling people about Jesus cannot be conversion. Of course, we’d love to see our friends saved, but it’s never our responsibility to do the saving. We have one responsibility: to love. Love your friends well. Love them when they’re drunk and annoying on a night out, love them if they leave their work to last minute and need help, love them even when you don’t agree with their choice. Just love them. 

4. You can still share your faith even if you don’t like club mission

I have never been and probably never will be a fan of nightclubs. My idea of a good night is a movie and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s not my natural tendency to do mission in a nightclub. Does this mean I have less of an opportunity to share my faith? Absolutely not. Some of my best conversations with friends happened in coffee shops or walks between lectures. Learn your Mission Style and share your faith in a way that’s most natural to you. You can learn more about this here. 

5. Getting a doorstop really does make all the difference  

It’s true. Most doors in halls are fire doors, meaning they automatically close behind you. It seems small, but an open door is inviting. It says yes to conversation and connection. You don’t have to have it open all the time, but choosing to prop a door open makes a lot of difference. 

6. People will watch the way you live 

My friends used to know me as the ‘Christian friend’. To begin with, it was a laugh and quite sweet that they saw me like that. Until I got stressed, or angry, or confused. Every time I took my eyes off of Jesus, they would be the first ones to realise. They watched my choices, my responses and my actions, and it was my daily decision whether or not to represent Jesus to them. It's not about people pleasing, but about choosing to live a life that honours God, out of relationship with him. If people can see the effect Jesus makes in your life, why wouldn't they want to know more?

7. Rest (usually) doesn’t mean afternoon naps and Netflix 

My final year of uni was when I bought my Netflix subscription. Bad idea. I quickly learnt that watching shows did not help me to rest. It instead made me feel more lethargic and ready for a nap. What did help was asking friends to pray with me, cycling by the beach, connecting with my course mates and planning my time well. Give yourself grace in working out what helps you to feel rested.

8. You’ll never have a mission field just like it 

Seriously, your university years are the best time to share your faith. You literally have thousands of people on your doorstep from all the nations. Use your time well.

9. Connecting with a church at uni really is the best thing you can do. 

I always knew it was important, but I didn’t clock how crucial until I needed a family, and looked around and there it was. Your uni years will be the best time to invite others into the family, and that starts with finding your roots. Find a church, settle in and invite others. 

Victoria Seithel

Communications Developer

Viki loves raising up new leaders and is committed to sharing the hope-filled story of student mission with the churches she serves.

Partner with Victoria