As you start university you will be confronted with a whole new way of living. There are some key parts of university culture that are helpful to think about before you get to campus - drinking and drugs, relationships and sex, mental health and money.
DRINKING & DRUGS
Alcohol is cheap, easy to get and there is a deeply embedded culture of drinking/drugs at uni, especially in Freshers’ week. So why be counter cultural?
To be sober doesn’t mean to avoid socials - it means you get to represent Jesus in those very places. Instead of judging or withdrawing, be present and love your friends well. You can be the friend that holds back hair when your friend is being sick, you can be the one to make sure your mates get home safely or stay up until 2am talking to your friends who are now ready to talk about the meaning of life. Be open to great conversations at inconvenient times and be ready to show the love of Jesus to your friends in every situation.
RELATIONSHIPS & SEX
A lot of students go to university hoping or expecting that they will get into a relationship or even find their future husband/wife. That isn’t a bad thing, but if God isn’t your number one priority then a relationship will never complete or fulfil you. Instead of trying to find the right partner, we should focus on becoming a good partner, and that starts in singleness. We never know how long our season of singleness will be and we don’t know if it will end in marriage, but being intentional in singleness can help you become the best spouse you can be in the future or help you to live a single life in contentment and wholeness.
Singleness is a great time to:
1. Deepen your security and identity in God
2. Work through and heal from past hurts
3. Grow up and develop emotional and spiritual maturity
4. To discover and fulfil your calling and purpose
Why don’t Christians have sex before marriage? How does that question make you feel? Are you ready to share your values and views with confidence? These are great questions to ask before you start uni, and we want to share some thoughts to help you prepare and think through your convictions ahead of time. GK Chesterton said “right is right even when nobody is doing it and wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it”. God knew what He was doing when He gave the good gift of sex to be a blessing in marriage.
MENTAL HEALTH & MONEY
According to stats, 1 in 3 students struggle with mental health whilst at university, 1 in 3 say they are often or always lonely and 1 in 5 have a diagnosed mental health condition.  University is difficult at times and we can’t predict how we will find being away from home, the pressure of achieving or anxiety of meeting new people. Here are some ways you can prioritise your wellbeing.
1. Make time to spend with God regularly to seek His peace and know how He sees you.
2. Retreat once a month or term to get some God perspective on what is going on, and let God refresh you in mind, body and spirit.
3. Ask for help! Find out what support is available through the university, GP, local church or check out online counselling resources. Your wellbeing (mental and physical) matters to God, so be kind to yourself and let people help.
Now...money. Whatever your background, whether you feel wealthy or struggling to make ends meet, it is helpful and healthy to talk about finances! We are called to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. So here are some good questions to ask yourself and some tips!
Questions to ask yourself:
How much money do I have/will I have each month? What do I need? (tuition fees, rent, food, etc) What have I already committed to spending? (society memberships, church and charity regular giving, travel home etc) What would I like?
Top student money tips!
1. Make a budget - don’t be too tight, but having a budget helps make sure you always have enough to last you!
2. Be your own person - you don’t have to follow the crowd and go wild with spending, stick to your own convictions and spend your money intentionally.
3. Live like a student - make the most of your student discounts and deals to help make your money go a bit further!
4. Use cash/set aside money - when you go out with friends only take the amount you can afford to spend with you, whether that’s taking cash or putting some money on a card (like monzo) so you can only spend what is in there.
5. Be generous - our choices at uni lay foundations for the rest of our lives. Jesus values our heart more than the amount we can give, and He calls us to be generous with what we have even when it isn’t much (Mark 12:44). Consider giving 10% of your spending money (what you’d spend on brunch/takeaways or new clothes etc) to church or charity.
Check out CAP money student course for more budgeting tips and help with managing finances here.
For more information and help preparing for university, grab a Student Linkup box with free shipping here!