Reflecting upon my first year of university I am immensely grateful for the people God has placed in my life and for the constant guidance and reassurance He has given me through their wisdom, support and encouragement. When I first arrived in York I felt very unprepared and intimidated by the idea of meeting new people. I felt that the only way that I could find my place in York was to find a group of friends that could be a family away from home. Over the summer this was something I really hoped and prayed for.
At home Iíd mainly had non-Christian friends and was definitely a Sunday Christian so the concept of finding supportive Christian friends was not my main concern. I wanted to focus on finding friends with similar tastes rather than similar lifestyles.
At home being a Christian and going to church was part of my daily routine and when faced with the question of whether I would choose God for myself I was unsure. At the time I didnít realise that my attitude towards coming to university was that I could live a double life, doing God stuff while at home and living my way at university. So when I arrived in York this kind of stuff was still going around my head, which way is better? How can I cope with university and be a Christian? How will I make friends and be honest about what I believe? After a few days of being in York I started to realize how crazy Iíd been, of course I couldnít live with out God by my side all day, every day. I felt guilty that I hadnít had God and fellowship with other Christians in my mind from the outset.
And from this realization onwards God has held my hand through everything. I went along to CU events where we were encouraged to church-hop to find the church for us. This was a really interesting experience as I had never really chosen a church and thought about what makes a church good for me personally, as Iíd been in the same church my whole life. I am so pleased I got connected with Christians in York and found Elim church as I have met so many genuine people who I am now more close to than some of my friends I have known for years back home. It is amazing just knowing that there is someone you can count on to be there for you when it gets difficult and being there for them too. Praying together and being accountable to each other is the coolest and most reassuring thing ever.
I think that my best advice to anyone starting university in York is to remember that everyone is in the exact same situation, everyone is nervous and that having God with you through it all is the best possible comfort. Everyone wants to make as many friends and meet as many people as possible and getting plugged into a church is just another way to do that. Not to mention the sheer amount of Christians in York so you will definitely find lovely people to get along with.
I am really looking forward to my second year in York. I now know truly and completely that I cannot live my life without God standing by my side and I pray that God continues to bless me with friends both in and outside of church. I hope that relationships started this year will deepen and through this I hope that God will continue to work within us, continuing to show us all how absolutely amazing he is and how empty we would feel if we didnít know him.