Dear First Year Me,

People have probably told you that university is one of the greatest times of your life. (People will also tell you that having young children is also the greatest time of your life, or being a grandparent is the “greatest thing ever.” So maybe the secret is that they’re all great and you will come to learn to appreciate every stage for what it is.)

Now that you’ve arrived at university, you’re looking around and trying to take in every experience while still maintaining your GPA.

Choose What You Do With Care. You’ll Be Glad You Did.

Allow me to let you in on a secret: Your time here will be one of the greatest periods of growth in your life.

The friends you choose to spend time with, the conferences you decide to attend, the ways you spend your summers… these will all contribute to the entirety of your experience. Have fun, don’t stress too much—but a little stress will probably put the fire under your butt that you need to get your assignments done on time.

Later, you will look back on this time and think, “Wow, I actually spent a lot of time in prayer, in my Bible, and listening to sermons. I’m so glad I did that!”

Fear Isn’t Really A Good Reason

But don’t neglect evangelism.

Photo by Benjamin Ng

I know it can seem overwhelming when all of your classmates hate missionaries and think Christians have ruined the world. I know that you’re gripped by fear that you will look stupid to all of your super smart peers. I know you feel the burden to not misrepresent Christ or the Bible.

“You need to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you in conversations—he is God and you are not.”

Jess V

It is not the end of the world if you look a little dumb. It is okay if you come off as a little weird, because the reality is Christians believe things that the world sees as very weird and even “backwards.”

Photo by Benjamin Ng

Be Weird, All The Time—It Takes Practice

Don’t avoid being your whole self to your classmates.

This could lead to your greatest regret from university. Letting fear overtake you is a terrible pattern to embrace. It can and will lead you into many compromising situations, not just related to evangelism.

Learn to “lean in” to these frightening circumstances, trusting God to establish your steps and the Holy Spirit to guide you. The worst thing that you could imagine is still nothing compared to what Christ endured on the cross, and the glory you will encounter in heaven.

Truly, practice helps.

“The more you share your faith, the easier it becomes if you can learn to trust God with your fear.”

Jess V

There will come a time when you find these evangelistic conversations so easy because it has become natural to you. It is because you have learned to lay down your pride and your fear and embrace the unknown, knowing that Jesus will sustain you.

I wish I had learned that so much sooner, and at a much lower cost.

Dear first year me, it’s going to be an amazing four years.

Photo by Benjamin Ng
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About the Author

Jess Versteeg

Jess has worked for over a decade in Montreal in various roles on and off-campuses in both French and English. She’s currently a mentor and writer.

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