I have just spent the week helping the CU run events in freshers week. It made me think back to my freshers week and how glad I am that I am not a fresher anymore. I really hate that new feeling you have, where you are driving up to the Uni and all you are thinking about is whether you are going to like this experience, whether anyone will like you or will you like anyone. What happens if it’s a disaster and you end up with no friends? That was probably my biggest fear. Even though looking back now it seemed rather a silly fear! The other thing you think about is who you are and who you are going to be. In that first week you could be anyone you wanted to be, you could make up a mask of a new identity and no one would know that’s not the real you. (Even though they may eventually find out). Those are the two biggest fears I had when arriving at Uni – Will I make any friends and Who am I going to be and will anyone like me?
I guess those two fears are all about how I relate to people and how they relate back to me. I was on the edge of Christianity, ready to leave God behind and pursue the University Experience. I had only become a Christian a few months back and those first few months were like a storm ready to swallow me up and I had enough of this God. So who was I going to be? A Christian? A social butterfly that never has an empty glass? A hermit striving for good grades? I think I tried all of those things in freshers week – I went to parties, stayed up till 4am, drank a bit too much and then confessed I was a Christian but I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I made friends with people who knew how to party well and I hung out with them. I hang out with the computer scientists that could programme anything in seconds (where I would stare blankly at the screen and tried to figure out what all those brackets meant)… The fear of not having any friends subsided, I could make friends with people that wasnt the issue anymore. But this identity thing and the constant question of Who am I? was bothering me. It wasn’t until I was taken to the CU meeting that I met some Christians who loved Jesus and I heard the Gospel that the penny dropped. I was looking for my identity in the wrong places and it was making me miserable. Over the weeks I understood the Gospel more and what it meant to be a Christian and I saw that my identity is in Christ. Which gives a sigh of relief. It also gave me such great freedom to still hang out with my mates that liked to party hard and those that like to sit in front of the PC creating programmes for NASA… (maybe not NASA?)… But soon my fears of friendship and identity soon faded and I found my place. There were times I forgot my identity, but at some point I was reminded who I was and that I was loved.
All these freshers I see are probably thinking and doing the same. They have fears and expectations and are striving to fit in and find their identity. I hope at some point they meet a Christian and hear about Jesus, so that like me they may find their identity can be in Christ whom gives great freedom to us. For the CU that’s what this week was about – sharing Jesus with Freshers who are lost, confused and sure of themselves. Do pray with us that these freshers meet Jesus.