Freshers’ week can be tough for anyone: meeting new people, adjusting to new-found freedom, and settling in can be a very stressful experience. So stressful, in fact, that some people can be put off the idea of university entirely before they’ve even taken a single class.
For Christians, it can be even more challenging. University lifestyle has become more and more hedonistic as the years have rolled by, and people are looking to indulge themselves in any and every way they can. It would be a misstep to tar everyone with the same brush, and there are a lot of people who just want to get their heads down and work and get the best grade they can.
Whatever kind of Christian you are – whether super-charismatic, or extra-conservative – you won’t find a handy survival pack like the one above, but this set of 10 tips will serve you well as you find your footing at university:
- Learn to cook. Investing in a student cookbook will be money well spent, and you can use your new-found skills to cook for your flatmates and friends and use this time to bond.
- Don’t stay cooped up in your room all day. Some people find living with strangers daunting and so hide themselves away, but university is about meeting new people and making new friends (and getting a degree), so put yourself out there and reap the rewards.
- Get to know the area. If you’ve moved away from home, use this chance to become more independent and find out more about the new, exciting world around you.
- Buy earplugs. Even if you go to bed, the chances are nobody else has. Parties will rage long into the night with earsplitting music penetrating even the thickest walls. Earplugs will thus protect your sanity.
- Budget well. Your first term will be very expensive, as you’ll be joining clubs and societies, and splashing out on nice new things, but your loan will only go so far. Plan ahead, or your money will run out long before Christmas.
- Get stuck into a church as soon as possible. This will get you not just through Freshers’ Week, but through the rest of your time at university.
- Read your bible and pray. The first week can be tough and you’ll need God’s help to get you through. (The book of Daniel is a great example of living away from home).
- Make your feelings and beliefs known early, i.e. if you don’t feel happy drinking to excess or going out every night, let that be known so you aren’t made to feel uncomfortable. If these people are going to be real friends, they’ll accept that.
- Hang in there. Everything will have died down after a couple of weeks. Yes there will still be parties, but they will be fewer and (for the most part) less raucous. Freshers’ week is not representative of the rest of university.
- Just go for it! Throw yourself into uni life, join sports clubs/societies, particularly the Christian Union, where you will have an immediate support network, but remember not to neglect your other friends too.
If you want to read more on this topic, check out my companion feature: Why I Hated Freshers’ Week.
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