Off to University

So next Sunday I’ll be leaving off to University! A new path and a fresh start but with the same kind of Ben and his humour as before. I don’t doubt that Uni won’t come without its problems, perks and quirks along the way, but that said, I’m sure it’ll be a great opportunity to grow mentally and spiritually in my journey and make the next few steps in my life.

As I continue on my Journey, I’ll be keeping you updated with how Uni is treating me and how I’m surviving in this foreign territory.

For those still clueless as to where I’m going, I shall be embarking on Mathematics at the University of Southampton in October and shall be moving to my Halls accommodation this Sunday. As I’m sure you’re all aware, I – as like everyone else – am very nervous about going, and leaving behind so much, but I think this year, on looking forward to the future, I won’t turn my back on the past and shall be back occasionally to see my Family and my Church who won’t be moving anytime soon! Going to a completely unknown place and culture and being surrounded by some scary stuff can be really tough but one verse that brought me through and helped me to cope with whatever comes my way is this in 4 Philippians, especially verses 6-7 – “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.”

I think, for me, this is has definitely been a crossroad in my journey, looking ahead into the future, there have been so many options for me to pursue: University, Gap Year or even Discipleship Years, but now it’s been decided, and here I am now, soon to be heading off to Uni, unknown to the future ahead of me. Many people say that, on-going to university you get drawn into the life surrounding the university and the culture that comes along with it, and I think in some ways this is very true. So many people nowadays give into the pressures within the university bubble to fit in with this culture and act differently. In order to survive at university, I think one of the most important things we can try and do is define ourselves and our identity as who we would like to be in not conforming to the ways of this University culture. We are called to be witnesses, and I think it is important to realise that yes, we are meant to be part of the university and enjoy ourselves, but the struggle in our lives is then to also have a boundary, a line in which we can say enough is enough and lay it out straight, that If you believe in God then you are that person and that should define our identity first above anything else.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ~ By Ben GristOver the summer I’ve been up to quite a lot, and among other things I’ve attended many Christian camps for Families (New Wine), Youth (Soul Survivor) and Over 18s (Momentum). It was really great at Momentum meeting similar aged people many of whom were going to university and some who were going to be going to the University of Southampton. On getting to know them it appeared that we all shared the common beliefs and that we are all connected through university linkup schemes with the Christian Unions and Churches in the area through organisations such as Student Linkup – Fusion, and UCCF Linkup.

I don’t know what lies ahead on my journey through life. Though these next few years may be mapped out for me, I don’t doubt that there’ll be plenty of hurdles along the way!

Encouraging Quotes and Verses for Uni Students

If any of you are starting Uni this year as well, or shall be continuing your studies, I wish you all the best with your journey and hope that you’re able to make the most of your time there! Here are a few encouraging Bible Verses that I hope will help you feel more confident about heading off and knowing that God will be with you every step of the way!

“I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 CEV

“May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centred and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors.” 1 Kings 8:57 MSG

“My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 CEV

“Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 20 and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” Matthew 28:19-20 CEV

And if you’re stuck with what Christianity is all about, or what to do, then it is summarised beautifully in the Bible, whoever you are and whatever your situation “He’s already made it plain how to live and what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple:

Do what is fair and just to your neighbour

Be compassionate and loyal in your love

And humbly obey your God.”

Micah 6:8 MSG & CEV