It, in many ways, will be the best summer of your life.
You’ve wrapped up A-Levels, and now you’ve got three months stretching out ahead of you before you head to university in September. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking “It’s so far away, it’s basically not happening”. I remember feeling like we were indestructible traveling around Europe with my friends during the summer after I finished school, and it seemed all the thrills and excitement the world had to offer lay before us.
The gravity of the situation that I was soon to be a student only really struck me when I went on holiday with my family at the end of August. I then realised that when I returned, I would only have a week before I moved away to Norwich! In that week, I started to try and prepare myself. This took two distinct forms:
1) Myself and my Mum bought about half of the stock in the Nottingham IKEA. 2) I started to pray.
And by pray, what I actually mean is start panicking and exasperatedly asking God to provide a church, strong friends, and anything else that I’d need to be happy in Norwich. I knew that God had something lying in wait for me in Norwich, but in the week before I moved I must admit that nerves set in and I lost sight of those divine purposes.
Fusion’s Preparation for Uni is something I really wish I’d done before I went to uni. I recently sat down with the youth leader of my church here in Reading where I’m the student worker, and four young people who are all off to university this September. The range of courses, universities, and cities were diverse amongst the four, but as we sat down over our milkshakes to discuss the challenges ahead, it was clear they were all thinking about the same things. How will I find a church? Am I going to be able to make friends? How am I going to respond to a culture of drinking? How am I going to respond to a culture of sex? It was an absolutely terrific time together, and my prayer is that they’ve all gone away from the session confident in themselves and their ability to confront the trials and tests that life at university can present you with.
Youth workers – get hold of a Student Linkup box for your university goers today! And university goers – annoy your youth worker until they buy you one.
My prayer for all of you who are going to university for the first time this summer is that you would find yourselves not in that last week panic that I found myself in, but you will have a good deal of time to properly think, pray, and process about everything that will land before in your time as a student.
I will finish with the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, who was a monk in the 12th Century. He writes about being an instrument of God's peace, something which may speak into your life as you prepare to head to university.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.