Dear Kate

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

Dear K-Mo,

That's have a nickname which has actually stuck and seems, for reasons unknown to you, to work in your favour! That's just one of the great things uni has done for you. There will be many, many formative moments across your 3 years at Bristol - walking through Stokes Croft after a night of dancing (late enough to hear the morning bird song), the moment you realised the old Anglican Church that you thought was only made up of tradition actually housed the Holy Spirit at a Carol service (which has now been your church for 7 years), and learning that you don't actually know much about anything at all (despite coming to uni knowing everything about everything). 

You'll have a big breakdown circa Easter of 1st year when life just feels bitter and it's hard to understand where God is and why people die. This will be a recurring question to you, which might be easier if it doesn't repeat itself just so much but a quote that your 2nd year friend shares with you helps a lot:

'The greatest reality in my life is that I'm deeply loved by Jesus'. (Brennan Manning). You'll go on to edit it though to 'the only reality' and use this as a lifeline time and time again to restore peace and just calm down. Not a bad reality at all.

Something that would be really good to work on is relaxing. Relaxing after stressful moments, relaxing around people who bother you, and relaxing into yourself. Don’t let a quest for selflessness turn into a season of just not looking after yourself. Pay for the heating in December and January (maybe even November and February too!). Be okay with not attending every CU meeting and even more okay with not being asked to be on the exec. Relax into what God wants you to be like. When you meet people you naturally click with, run with that and relax with them.

And once you get to third year, relax that you haven’t figured out the next steps. Enjoy the feeling of getting that far and get ready for the transition into the world of young professionalism. It’s a hard one that takes you by surprise. Less like a surprise birthday party with a unicorn piñata and more of the kind of surprise where you don’t know what to put on your C.V. and it turns out going for coffees all the time isn’t really a thing. But relax, knowing that God will continue to take you on this awesome adventure of life, joy, peace, and freedom. And when you meet the baddies of loss, despair, and hopelessness, He’ll still be there and it’ll be okay. The greatest reality in your life after university is that you are deeply loved by Jesus.


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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