For young people finishing school, the thought of university provokes so much wonder. Ahead of them lies a new and exciting opportunity to further their knowledge alongside a world of fellow learners.
University gives them the opportunity to acquire not just academic knowledge, but knowledge about life, about yourself, and about the big wide world.
This, however, can be very daunting.
For many young people, just three short years separate them from stepping out into the ‘real world’, where they feel the pressure of having to decide what they want from life. This, combined with leaving the comfort of home, where food, warmth and laundry are available any time, can feel really scary!
Student life can, however, also be one of the best times of life. It is a time of new-found independence in choosing what to study, where to go and how to spend their time; and this is all very exciting. There is the prospect of meeting so many new and interesting people; to make friends that will see them into adulthood. Friends who can work out this ‘growing up’ business alongside them.
For Christian students, there is the added complication of working out how to live their student-life for Christ.
One key element of the university experience that many Christians look forward to is getting involved in their university’s Christian Union (CU). Christian Unions exist all over the country as a group for Christian students to meet up, study the Bible and, most importantly, have the opportunity to share the gospel with everyone on campus.
Caitlin, one of the members at Cornerstone, shares, “God has called us to proclaim the truth of who He is and what He’s done. Students witnessing to students has been the most effective way to do this on a university campus. We are able to come alongside our peers and live out Godly lives next to them and to have conversations about who God is with them.”
Many Christian students can struggle to work out how to study for their degree, spend social time with their friends, and live for Christ, all at the same time. It is a challenge that can test their faith. But, it is a challenge that the Christian Union can help with.
“One of the big challenges is trying to balance honouring God in our degrees but also glorifying God in being a witness to others. CU is great, as it provides a structured opportunity to specifically focus on the different ways we can be sharing God with our friends.”
Members of the CU regularly organise evangelistic activities and events around campuses, giving them the means and encouragement to keep speaking about Jesus. “It’s encouraging to organise, plan and pray for events, then put them on and have amazing conversations with non-Christians about the gospel. It’s especially encouraging to see your friends at CU become more bold and confident in sharing their faith with their friends.”
As they navigate through this scary and exciting time of life together, the struggle results in growth of character and boldness.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
By Abigail Dryden
Abigail is studying midwifery at Kingston University and enjoys writing when she has the time.