University. Day one.

Intense feelings wash over me.

My parents drive away as I swallow the lump that is growing in my throat.

I grew up in a loving Christian home where the Bible was honoured and service in the Church was a priority. My close friends believed as I did that Jesus was not just another historical religious leader, but in fact the Son of God.

I wanted to live for him, but I also had my own plan for how life should go. I was excited about the freedom that comes from being on my own, but I was also nervous about what might happen to me and my faith.

I spent much of my first year studying in my basement apartment.
Alone and living defensively.

I was fearful that the world might change me. This was not living. I wanted to thrive not just survive.

This is not how Jesus intended me to live. Jesus came that we might have life, and life to the full.  Over the course of that first year, I would begin to thrive, and I hope some of the things I learned that first year might help you thrive in university or college. I would summarize them like this.

Jesus changes everything.

Jesus is real. He is not an idea to debate, but a person with whom to experience a relationship. He changes my life, and if you want to thrive in university as a Christian you must experience Jesus every day.

How has he met your cravings for unconditional love?

When you wake up in the morning how is Jesus filling your life with meaning and purpose?

Be a student of the Bible, and walk moment by moment in active surrender to the Holy Spirit.

Let Jesus change your life everyday, and use you to change your world.

This is thriving.

Relationships Matter.

Three young men hanging out.

Jesus has called us into a community. I learned I had to be proactive about finding a church and a community on campus. Alone I was surviving… barely. That changed as I got involved with some people on campus who could encourage me.

Be proactive. Make it a priority. Thrive together.

Get over yourself.

Someone visiting a Power to Change booth at a university.

My main goal those first few months of school was survival. It was all about me. As I began to let Jesus change me, in a community of like minded students, I was challenged to be a part of a cause much bigger than myself.

How could Jesus use me to change the world?

How could I help someone else find love, meaning and purpose in relationship with the living God?

As I began to exchange fear for engagement in Jesus’s great co-mission, something happened. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about Jesus and his mission to love people. I began to serve my fellow students in love, rather avoid them in fear. Finally, I had began to truly thrive.

Jesus has called us to live life to the full. And in his grace he provides all the resources to do just that.

Walk with him daily. 

Live life together.

Be part of a cause bigger than yourself.

You will thrive in university, college and beyond.

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About the Author

Sean Cullen

Sean was our previous National Director of Power to Change – Students. He lives in Edmonton with his wife Nancy, and five children.

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