We were singing this song at church the other morning and it immediately reminded me of this video – a video that stirs my heart and bring tears to my eyes every time I watch it. And whilst singing I looked around and saw students getting alongside each other and praying together.
This was just one reminder of how much I love working with students.
University is front line stuff. You’re thrown into an environment where everyone is away from home; many for the first time. And you’re living, working, eating, drinking, socialising together. You can’t escape each other’s lives and the influence that those lives might have on you.
Maybe this is why Christian students are so quick to get alongside each other. To support each other, encourage each other and build each other up. To have those crazy nights indoors or even out under the stars when others are out drinking, to have those people to share those really quiet campus moments with on a Sunday morning on the way to church and to be with when you just feel like a complete failure and need the reminder of the hope and grace in Jesus.
There’s no other time in life when you’re living like this, so close to many different people.
I know coming to uni, meeting so many new people and in that becoming good friends with a lot of Christians my age that were really serious about their faith was a brand new experience and I think a pretty unique one in life too.
It was amazing to have other people around to build me up and point me to Jesus. I loved the prayer and worship times we had together and the endless deep conversations of many questions late into the night. And you can probably guess who was asking all the questions! It was great to truly do life with these people, through the so many ups and downs that uni throws at you.
I’m also really grateful for the closeness I felt we had as a year on my degree. Day after day, class after class, needing the support from each other through the emotional, physical and mental drain that you feel in a dance degree.
University is never boring. I had friends I could go to whenever, so many houses I could just walk into. I was never stuck for something or someone to call on.
Everyone helped me in some way and I just want to emphasise the influence and impact that an environment as special as this, with people living so close and truly sharing lives together can have.
I want to encourage the Christian students I know (and those I don’t) to see this uni experience as such an exciting opportunity! To share your lives with those friends that know Jesus, but also to share them just as much with those that don’t. There’s something special about seeing the full life of someone, what they love, what they struggle with, what makes them tick, what keeps them going. Why do they live the way that they do?
Don’t underestimate the effect you can have on others around by living differently and inviting people into that. Support each other as followers of Jesus, but don’t retreat into a ‘Christian bubble’, fully share your lives with many others around. You’ll be surprised of the impact you can have and actually how open people are when you’re so open with them!