‘Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for you in the field; and after that build your house.’
– Proverbs 24:27
Good preparation for university will lay a solid foundation to build up your proverbial house, filling it with knowledge and experiences, and will allow you to be able to face occasional challenges too. In this blog entry, I’ll be exploring how you can prepare for university, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Before you start packing, there are a few things to consider. What will you need in the upcoming year? Of these things, what do you already own, and what will you need to buy?
You’ll have different requirements depending on if you are a fresher or a returner, self-catered or catered. Don’t pack too excessively or too expensively (things may get broken or lost), but don’t restrict yourself too much either (taking just one bowl and one spoon will be rather limiting.) Packing a few things to make your white-walled, grey-carpeted space feel a little more homely will do wonders for you. Any of these three Ps: photos, posters or plants are good ideas.
And, of course, don’t pack more than you can carry!
Think about what you want to achieve over the coming year, what you want to experience (societies you might enjoy or places you might want to visit), and the things you might be feeling anxious about (meeting new people or cooking for yourself). Perhaps make a list of these things, and how you will achieve the positive aspects or deal with the possible challenges. To be in the position of approaching university means that you have already achieved a lot, so it is important to remind yourself of what you are capable of! Hopefully by contextualising your outlook for the year ahead, you will be able to remove some of the uncertainty.
There are many ways that you might prepare spiritually for university. Think about the possible sources of spiritual support once you arrive at university: chaplaincies, churches, SCM societies, your university location may even have a cathedral. Why not check out SCM Connect to find a church near where you’ll be? Strategies to prepare could also involve Bible reading or prayer. Perhaps the words of certain hymns about seeking assurance while venturing out into a new place may be appropriate. Two which I rather like are O God, Our Help In Ages Past, where we seek ‘hope for years to come’, and Will Your Anchor Hold in The Storms Of Life, knowing that there is support as we sail out into a new stage of life.
I wish you the best for your upcoming year at university, whether you are a fresher or a returning student!
Written by Matthew Smith, former president of Warwick Christian Focus and SCM Member.