Exam season is looming - many students, whether first years or finalists, are starting to hollow out their hibernating spot amongst the clothes, laptops, books and pot noodle debris from which they’ll not emerge until exam season ends.
This can be a frustrating time. As a student worker you’ve built great relationships and seen great stuff happen and now comes the anti-climax. Committed students disappear into baggy-eyed, haribo-munching library creatures who barely see the light of day. Others succumb to massive amounts of pressure and fear and need intense support through a time that can raise foundational questions of identity and value. All the conversations you’ve had about life balance, identity not being in your grades and loving their uni can seem to disappear. Yet at the same time you know that this is a unique and odd time of life with great pressures and a need to be diligent in studying well.
Its easy to feel like there’s nothing to be done as your numbers dwindle. However, can I encourage you to instead ask yourself this question and allow the answer to shape how you best serve your students in the coming weeks and months.
‘What’s the most important thing for these students in this season?'
Here are some ideas which come to mind for me:
The most important thing in this season is that my students stay connected to God amidst the exam pressure.
Therefore… I will encourage my students to set daily alarms for midday so that irrespective of their study patterns they can take a moment to stop, pray and bring their situation before God. I will also visit them in the library and pray for them.
The most important thing in this season is that my graduates are ready for life after uni.
Therefore… I will find one evening before the end of term (maybe instead of another gathering) where we can talk about finding a church when they leave uni, introduce those who are staying to other non-students, talk over the life-changing shift coming up and pray for them for what comes next. Check out The Graduate Alphabet for help with that/a good leaving gift for graduates.
The most important thing in this season is that our students take this last opportunity to tell their friends about Jesus.
Therefore…I will ask each one which friend they don’t want to leave uni having not told about Jesus. I will pray for them every week and support them as they find a way to share the gospel that will best connect with their friend.
They may not be able to commit to as many meetings, cell groups, socials and services as before but how can you meet your students where they’re at and help them best navigate this challenging but still hugely potential-full time. See here for another story of a student worker blessing her students during exams.
I'd love to hear your answers and actions.
Photo Credit: Feans