Written by Jess Stinton
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of St Nic’s.
22nd September 2019 – the adventure begins. Regardless of your background, academic grades, extro- or introvertedness, the start of university is a nerve-wracking time for anyone. Despite feeling far older and wiser from my #gapyah, I was most certainly a little anxious; what would university life hold for me? What would my flatmates be like? What would happen if I didn’t enjoy the course?
Now, as the Christmas holidays arrive, the end of first term is upon us. Although I’m only actually three months older, I feel that these past three months have grown me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined before starting, and I know things about myself that I didn’t before the start of term. So, in three handily-organised points (like all good blog posts) let me explain my reflections on this last term, and the things I need to remind myself of as come back to uni in January.
1 // HOW DO I WORK + HOW DO I REST?
Having had a genuinely life-changing gap year working at a social enterprise bakery in East London, it’s safe to say that I hadn’t had to write an essay or revise for an exam for a long time. So understandably, re-learning how to learn took a little bit of time at the beginning of term. Something else that I didn’t realise I’d struggle with is the fact that university life IS life, and it’s intense! This term has taught me how to pace myself, knowing when to stop, and when to work.
Note to self: Be kind to yourself! Know when you just need to call it a day, sit in a blanket with a tub of ice cream, and have an early night!
2 // CHURCH SEARCH
Having spent time away from home before, I thought I knew how to church search, or rather, what I was looking for in a church. Being in Nottingham is a massive blessing, because there are so many great churches to choose from! Some of the wisest advice given to me about churches is that no church is perfect; what matters is that you choose a church where you feel welcomed, meet with God, and grow in your relationship with Him. What really helped me this time around was knowing what I wanted from a church, planning which churches to visit and when, and the date by which I wanted to have decided where to settle.
Note to self: As always, God is good, and He knows exactly where He wants you – let Him lead you!
3 // AUTHENTICITY
Moving to a new place brings new friendships, opportunities and fresh starts, which makes it easy to be someone other than you! Something I’ve found really helpful this term is to pray for the people God has for me – the life-giving friends. This really takes the pressure off being someone you’re not (which is exhausting!), in order to make friends.
Note to self: Don’t feel like you have to do, say, or be something or someone you’re not comfortable with, just to ‘fit in’. God uses our beautiful uniqueness to further His Kingdom wherever you go – be encouraged by that.
In three months a lot has changed. It’s taken a great deal of patience, emotion, and courage. Looking back, I can see God’s faithfulness over the last season – in the conversations, friendships and journeys He’s blessed me with.