About to start Uni this September? Getting ready to take on your Final Year? Here's a blog from Rachel on her experiences studying Primary Teaching in Bristol.
My name is Rachel, I have just finished a primary education degree at UWE, Bristol and am starting my first teaching job in September! To sum up my University experience in just one word is tricky, the past three years have been three of the most incredible years of my life. I have learnt so much about myself and God.
I remember leaving for Uni and everyone telling me just how much fun I’ll have and how excited I should be, but all I felt was dread. Dread that I wouldn’t make friends, I wouldn’t find a church and most of all missing my Mum. I won’t lie to you, the first few weeks and months were hard, but it soon began to settle down and I began making friends and happy memories.
In the first few weeks of Uni I clung to God like I never had before. I’ve always grown up in a Christian household and knew God was there but the relationship I’ve built with him over the last three years has saved and changed my life. It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you to not worry; God will be with you, enjoy yourself because it goes quickly, but Uni can be daunting. You may be just like me and feel homesick for the first term, or you may be the complete opposite and can’t wait to get out of home. Regardless, try to enjoy every moment, make the most of lie-ins and binge watching on Netflix!
There have been some challenging times over the 3 years for me, most of them not related to Uni work. Some of these included family life, sorting out accommodation, and living with others. I love people, but living with people you don’t know, or haven’t known for long can be difficult. I spent most of my time in first year cleaning up after my housemates. If you’re the person cleaning up, keep going and may God bless you. If you’re not cleaning up, stop making mess! When it comes to living with people, try to have friendships outside of your housemates so when things get difficult you have somewhere else to get away from it.
But one thing that I will hold onto is my relationship with God. I went to Ebe Church on my first Sunday at Uni and have been going ever since, I simply felt at home. FIND A CHURCH IT’LL MAKE EVERYTHING ELSE EASIER! I remember on one of my first Sundays we talked about the grace of God and what he did for us. In that moment I had a revelation of God’s love and grace and after that night, I spent hours on my own with the Bible and some music listening and praying, crying and laughing. I went through a very tricky year where everything in my family changed, but God held me. Sometimes all I wanted was a “Mum hug”, but that wasn’t possible, so I turned to God and in those moments I realised that He was all I needed and he held me when things were too much. God challenged me a lot over the years about forgiveness and loving those who are hard to love. Sometimes I was up for the challenge and other days not so much. But something I realised was that none of us are worthy of the love of God which is why it is so incredible, so who am I to not love someone? After a long 2/3 years God has transformed my heart and has made it possible for me to love others.
Final year students – make a timetable to make effective use of your time (preferably colour coordinated), make sure you give a significant portion of that time allocated to God remain involved in church and take breaks to enjoy your final year of student life.
Now that Uni is over, I’m excited. I finally get to do what I’ve always wanted to do and can’t wait to see how God is going to continue to use me and grow in me.