New faces. Lost faces. Confused faces. Bold faces.
Introductions – to people, places, courses, more people, more places, more modules, more tutors, more, more… more.
Meeting those people you know are gonna be your friends. Meeting those you know, probably, won’t be…
Partying. Hiding. Discovering. Sleeping.
Awkward conversation. Great conversation. The same conversation. Over and over and OVER again.
Just a few recollections of freshers for me. And some of them were definitely still familiar this year! What is about freshers that makes some want to chat to everyone? And makes some just want to curl up in a ball?
Luckily this year I was quite happy to chat to everyone. (Well, most people!) And I thoroughly enjoyed talking with a big mix of people that I probably wouldn’t normally talk to. Being a part of all the CU freshers events made this inevitable and the conversations I had were all pretty exciting.
Myself and one of the co-pres’ were delivering toasties to flats at our txt a toastie event one evening (where people txt a question about God/Christianity and we deliver a toastie with an [attempted] answer!). We had 4 events like this, even one with pancakes! And we would deliver A LOT of food, which obviously then results in A LOT of conversation. One flat was a most prominent highlight in my mind, we were invited in for a cup of tea and all 7 of them living there were sat around the table, all with their own questions! Can science and faith work together? What is the trinity about? Can you believe in God but not in the bible? What is a Christian’s view on contraception? Why do we have natural disasters? These were just a few of the questions, and how good it was to have people genuinelty interested and listening and talking about it as a flat! And being able to sit down to talk to them! We may not have answered every question but when we left they felt like some of their views had been challenged and they needed to re think.
I talked to many at our question for a cookie events. We were using Solarium cards (check them out here if you’re not sure what they are http://mysoularium.com/ ) and asking people 3 questions.
1 Which photos best represented their life right now?
2 Which photos best represented how they would like their life to be?
3 Which photos best represented their view/perception of God?
You can imagine that arty students are pretty drawn to a table of photos and cookies so we had many stop by. There was one guy I was able to talk to for about half an hour. It was pretty awesome when his questions that he first asked me were directly related to the study I had been doing just that week and even that day! He was currently reading the quran and was clearly searching and since he has just studied philosophy and ethics, he was a pretty deep thinker! Normally I would feel a bit out of my depth, as I’m certainly not a massive deep thinker, but we had a good two way conversation where I could ask him what he meant by certain things and not feel stupid in doing this! And we in turn chatted about pre destination, free will, the trinity, homosexuality, women in the bible… the lot really. And he downloaded the bible on his phone there and then!
Tea and Toast. My favourite event! Crazy conversations happen at the best times i.e between 11 and 2 on a student union event night! One night I even went just went to watch a film with a group of international students who had come to us for film snacks! We even stood holding hands in a circle praying together while waiting for toast to be ready… as they said to me ‘we’re just praying to Jesus, do you want to come and join?’ They thought this would get them toast and hot drinks since they weren’t drunk!
The freshers fayre. This is a time where the uni turns into a bit of what I would imagine a market place looked like in the bible. So much free stuff for students to get there hands on and where sports clubs and societies try to get people to sign up! We gave out 500 tins of beans with the details of the CU meetings and free meals on and how to get in contact. We also had 68 people sign up, which was certainly a good number! Great conversations also happened and we had one guy come up to us and say
I don’t want beans and I’m not a Christian, but I just want to say you guys are my favourite guys on campus, I love what you’re doing.
And this was after only a week of freshers events. So we must be having a positive impact!
So in the midst of cream teas, free meals, toasties, pancakes, cookies, bbqs, quizzes, films soo many people must have asked questions, been asked questions, been challenged, encouraged, unsure, hopeful, excited and most of all heard about the character of the amazing God that I know and that loves us.
I wonder what the rest of the year holds?