Going off to university can be the most exciting, scary, thrilling, daunting time of your life. Full of new places, opportunities and people. Leaving the comforts of home, where food, laundry and parents are always available, it's an opportunity to become an independent person just three years away from adulthood. As someone who’s just finished at Kingston University, I wanted to make this step just a bit easier, and offer some wisdom and advice that might make this time just a little bit easier.
Get involved in church
This is the most important one. Going off to university is a crucial point in a young Christian’s life, it can be really easy to get caught up in freshers events, making new friends and keep putting off going to church. Getting plugged in to a church from the start will set you up well for the rest of your time at university. Cornerstone Church is a great place to do that, and students are such an important part of our church family. A lot of us came as students and then stuck around and because of that, we know what it's like to be a student…
A lot of what we do as a church revolves around food. Before the lockdowns, we would have lunch most Sundays after church and we have just started doing it again!
During the week there are plentiful opportunities for fellowship. Our student group also meets on a Sunday after the evening service for a Bible study and pizza. A highlight of the student calendar at Cornerstone is the weekend away. A time of getting stuck into the ible, endless amounts of food, competitive games, and a long, muddy walk.
Get involved in the Christian Union
Kingston University’s Christian Union is a great place to meet other christian students. It's a smaller CU, but an important place, with the purpose of evangelising to the students of Kingston University. The CU meets every week to look at the Bible together and allow that to encourage each other in evangelism, with bigger outreach events throughout the year, like movie nights, quiz nights, and acoustic evenings. It's a core part of the student experience and teaches you how to share the gospel with people around you.
Get to know Kingston
The town has a lot of things to offer, in order to keep you busy. My top five things to do in Kingston include; taking walks down the river, a picturesque scene of boats and trees, various pubs and restaurants lining the riverside. Similarly, Richmond Park is local and a great place to explore, especially with different cafes scattered throughout, and the wild deer that roam freely. The town centre is host to a range of shops and the market place is a lovely place to wander around with the fresh produce and food from places around the world.
For coffee lovers like myself, you’ll never run out of places to try, from the staples, like Cafe Nero, Costa and Starbucks to the more ‘hipster’ joints like Beanberry Coffee Company and Local Hero. Finally, just over the bridge is Hampton Court Palace, the home of Henry VIII, a great place for history lovers to explore, with beautiful gardens to wander around in and every winter they build an ice rink for a skate with a view of the palace to make you feel all warm and in the Christmas spirit.
We hope you enjoy your time at university and please use this advice. It's so important for you to get involved in things, especially church when you come to university!
By Abby Dryden, a recent graduate from Kingston University and member of Cornerstone Church