Here’s some excellent hints for you and your Year 12 students to help them transition from school and survive university as a Christian. Often we find year 12 students have subtly put study first and come to uni fairly weak in their faith.
Maybe it would be great if you walked through these hints below with your Year 12’s.
1. I can’t help but say this….but find a Christian group on campus. They specialize with students of your age going through similar things.
2. Hopefully there you will find a great group of friends who love Jesus and love learning!
3. Basically every idea you have will be challenged at Uni! Christianity is often mocked at Uni and you need to listen well before you defend your beliefs. There’s nothing worse than a naive Christian taking on an academic and consequently being shot down!
4. At the same time, if you’ve read the Bible and been a Christian for a while, you are more of an expert on Christianity than most people! So don’t be ashamed about what you believe.
5. Deepen your faith. You need it to not be a Sunday school faith or your parents faith but your own mature faith that rests wholeheartedly in Jesus. I often find students have a crisis of faith at uni mainly because the premise of what they believe is shaken. That’s ok! Start again rebuilding your faith on solid foundations so that when you rebuild it’s built on something strong!
6. Get a mentor. There’s so much to talk about at this age and you want someone who keeps pointing you to Jesus.
6. Let your faith go from black and white to making the main thing the main thing and let Christ be the stand out, where grace is strong.
7. Love non-christians. They don’t know Jesus and aren’t living for him. Don’t be shocked by things then that they do! And have clear boundaries for yourself and know where you will be weak and avoid those situations.
8. Raise the bar of engagement with non- christians. Your faith should affect every part of your life and so your actions and words should match up and think hard about how Jesus affects every area.
9. You may have questions about your faith or the way you’ve seen your parents model their faith. Make sure you are able to discern what the real issues are because sometimes you may have just started loving something more and so Jesus gets squashed out of your heart.
10. Belief blockers are important for you to think through well. You get hammered with them at high school and at uni.
11. The great thing at Uni is that you don’t have to fit into a mould. No-one cares what you dress like, whether you’re in certain groups. Just be you….living flat out for Jesus!!
12. If you want to find a Christian Union group at your uni, check out this website or there’s other groups like Student Life, Students for Christ etc etc!! This is a great step into Uni!!
13. Students groups are not like church and they’re interdenominational. It’s funny for me every year hearing the 1st years saying what they like and don’t like about the group which is really what’s different to their church. Keep persevering! The relationships are key!!!
Advice for those working with Young Adults
At Uni we see students grow massively in their faith. They need to be discipled well (it takes time) and they want to get serious about the Bible and living it out wholeheartedly. They need avenues to serve and lead and make a difference, and they need to be engaging with those who aren’t Christians so that it sharpens their faith but they need help with this. They need to be trained in leading bible studies, talking about their faith, how to write talks, how to mentor others, how to read the bible with someone, how to welcome, how to love and serve others well. Can I please reiterate. It takes your time to train them well!!! But they are totally worth the investment and you will end up loving them soooo much!! Then they break your heart and leave ??????? oh stop whinging Julie-anne and love the next group of first years!!
Julie-anne Laird, Senior staff worker – Christian Union, Melbourne University
Thanks Julie-anne Laird for this excellent article. If you have thoughts or comments we would love to hear from you.