Lifestyle

What it’s like to: be a Christian at uni

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As part of our ‘What it’s like to be’ series, we’re asking our contributors to talk about their different life experiences. Abby is a third year Psychology student at Sheffield University, and she’s also a Christian. Here’s her account of how she juggles her faith and student life.

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I considered writing a little ‘day in the life’ narrative to give you a feel for the busy student life but you don’t need that; you already know how stressful it can be. Deadlines seem to appear just days before the hand-in and ‘must-attend’ tutorials seem to only be scheduled during hectic weeks. Add in a slightly irritating housemate, a difficult relationship or a family dispute and the relaxing weekend can start to feel like a fantasy.

All these are things you can’t really get out of. So why on earth would I voluntarily give up one day and most evenings each week to something I don’t have to go to?

I’m a Christian. I spend a lot of my time doing ‘God’ stuff. Going to Christ Church Walkley, reading my bible, going to Christian Union meetings, planning events for the Christian Union, writing articles for the Christian blog ‘MorePrecious’, meeting up with other Christians to discuss Christian stuff (phew, that was a lot of religion in one sentence!). But let me tell you something surprising: the more of that stuff I do, the more rested I feel.

When the week starts to get on top of me and I find myself more irritable than usual, it is pretty much always because I haven’t spent time focusing on my faith lately. Waking up early to read my bible or pray to God genuinely makes me feel like I’ve had more sleep.

Now before you start searching through your room for that Good News Gospel someone handed you on the street that time, I should tell you that it’s not the behaviour itself that keeps me rested.

Let me explain this another way: have you ever started to feel grumpy and homesick before realising it’s because you haven’t phoned home in weeks? Have you noticed yourself feeling lonely and bored before realising you haven’t spoken to your closest friend in a while?

To me, making time for God is like phoning my parents for advice or a catch up. It’s like chatting through my worries with the closest friend I have. If I don’t do it, my resting bitch-face is likely to become highly active.

I don’t want to say that being a Christian gives me a wider perspective when things get stressful because I don’t want to imply that you have a narrow view of the world! But let me just say that having a God who loves me and cares about the intricacies of my life, enables me to take a step back and turn to him before I let my immediate situation take over. I transferred into Sheffield University at the start of second year. It was a terrifying decision and I didn’t know a single person but each day I tried to take a step back and trust that God knew what he was doing with me. And each day, I felt my fears retreat and my faith carry me.

I hope I’m not the first person to tell you that it’s not all that easy to be a Christian. For the Sheffield student who gets teased by his course-mates or the North Korean widow imprisoned in a labour camp because of her faith.

We turn to the same God for rest. We read the same bible to find comfort. When anxiety looms, there’s only one person I want to focus on and he has promised that “He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62v2)

If you’d like to know more about the Christian life, find Sheffield University Christian Union on Facebook and get in touch or come along to our meetings! You can also have a look at More Precious for some testimonies and articles written by girls across the country all about becoming and being a Christian.

 

Words by Abby Midgley

Aminah Khan is your Editor-in-Chief

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