Going off to or returning to university can be quite a stressful and daunting experience, especially in the current climate. So, having a network of people that will support you is always a nice thing. Many universities have Christian unions that help and encourage students with their faith, as well as just being a great source of friendships. But what do you do if you do not have a Christian Union (CU)? Here are some tips I have used during my time at university:
1. Reach out in your local community.
Within the local community surrounding your university, there will be several churches that will love to have new people join them. It’s likely that these churches will have some home groups or young adult events that you’ll be able to get involved with. By going along to these, you’ll start to create a support network of friends outside of university. Yes, they may not fully relate to student life, but they will help to support you and give you a wider perspective on life than the uni bubble!
2. Don’t just talk to Christians
Talking to friends about your faith can be a positive thing. Some feel that talking to non-Christians about faith could go wrong, so would rather not do it. However, this can actually be great, and having open conversations can help both you and your friends understand each other’s beliefs more. Also, reaching out to strangers at university can be a great witness of our faith. Evangelism is not always about inviting others along to church, but more importantly it’s about showing others that God’s love is powerful and for everyone no matter who they are. By talking to others about your faith, it can help you feel stronger in your relationship with God and how to approach life at university.
3. Pray and read your Bible regularly
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s an important reminder. It may feel hard and stressful to not have a support network at university with people that understand you and your faith, but regularly talking to God and reading his word can help ease this. Uni can be a stressful time, especially if you were wanting to have a network of Christian friends. But the word of God can help you get through tough times as well as enjoy all the positives about university.
My experience with not having a CU at university has both been positive and negative. It can be quite hard to go through the stressful times without a CU support network, but I managed to find some Christian friends through church, which has been so encouraging. I don’t have any Christian friends at uni, but through various other opportunities, I have found friends who help me every day. Not having a CU has made me appreciate my faith and relationship with God a lot more. It’s made me realise just how important personal communication with God is and how foundational that is for our faith.