Fearing first year?

The transition from high school to university is tough. No doubt about it. There are countless things that you will adjust to and figure out. You’ll ask yourself: What classes should I take? How am I going to pay for everything? Are my relationships from back home going to change? Will my faith survive this new chapter of my life?

We don’t want you to feel alone in this. We actually want to help you prepare for this big life transition you’re about to walk through!

One thing that can help: get connected

That’s why the Transition 101 event exists! Christian ministries and church denominations have partnered together for a one-day event exclusively for grade 12 students to come and meet other Christian students. These groups, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), The Navigators, Ambassadors for Christ (AFC), Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and Power to Change – Students (P2C), desire that you transition well to university and have a thriving faith in your college or university years.

At Transition 101, incoming first year students had the opportunity to meet current students who are already plugged into faith communities on their campus, attend workshops related to university life, and have their questions answered from a panel of students.

Looney at Campus Time

“I liked making connections with other students my age. It’s comforting to know that I’ll have a spiritual community that will share this life journey with me.” – Hannah Kruizinga, going to Queen’s University

“I went to the first ever Transition 101 event and it really showed me that it’s not if there would be Christian communities on my campus, but it was a question of whether I will go to a Christian community on my campus. And I’m very glad that I did. They helped me out a ton… getting rooted on campus and in my faith.” – Looney Mo, 2nd year University of Ottawa

What will university really be like?

The workshops this year covered a range of topics to help students know what they can expect in university and how to tackle it all. Each of the speakers were experts in their field, including a mental health nurse, an apologist, and a PhD graduate.

Students learned about stress, anxiety, and self-care; how to have conversations about faith on a secular, non-Christian campus; the importance of establishing spiritual disciplines or rhythms to grow more like Jesus; university life hacks and pro-tips to navigate student life and academics; and how to discern God’s call and purpose for your life.

“Be faithful with where God has placed you. Let God lead you and order your steps. He will let you know where to go and where not to go.” – Dr. Eugenia Duodo, workshop speaker

In the campus times and during the panel discussion, current students shared some solid advice and important life lessons. From practical to spiritual, these students are the experts: they have gone through this transition themselves, they learned some things the hard way, and they had some helpful and inspiring things to share with us all.

Some shared about how they scheduled all their classes and assignments and activities, and what apps they would use often. Others talked about the biggest differences between high school and university life, and how relationships with friends and family changed for them. They also addressed things like finding a church, making their faith their own, and understanding the gospel on a deeper, more personal level.

“You’re coming to campus and it’s time to take a little bit of courage and step out in faith to say hi to some new people and get involved in a Christian community, if it’s on campus and/or in church. It is really important and vital, because [for me] it changed my complete direction in my life.” – Alexis Goleski, student at OUIT

Panel Q+A at the conference

Youth leaders care, beyond graduation

Some parents and youth pastors also attended Transition 101, bringing along the soon-to-be first years. These are the people who have been walking with these high school students through their teen years, and will soon be sending them off to post-secondary. They also want to see students get connected to faith communities on campus, and Transition 101 is one way that this can happen.

“I understand the importance of transitioning well into first year of college or university, because during that transition students can get lost without a support network. My heart breaks when students think that when they graduate [from high school], they graduate out of faith too.” – Andrew Melo, youth pastor at Grandview Baptist Church

“I really believe in what’s happening [through campus ministries] and I’m super fired up about the kingdom of God when I hear about things that are happening on campuses. If we can get as many kids plugged into it as possible, that would be amazing.” – Josh Hunter, Spiritual Life Department at Great Lakes Christian High School

Are you going into first year this fall? Or do you know anyone that’s graduating high school this year? We would love to help connect graduating grade 12 students to someone from P2C-Students on their campus! Visit p2c.sh/next for more information on our NEXT initiative, and visit p2c.sh/nextonline to get connected.


Photos by Martin Tin and Priscilla Yuen



Maddie studied Communications in university (Undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier University, Master’s at Carleton University) and now works with Power to Change – Students on the Creative Communications team. She loves sharing her stories and experiences as a Christian young adult to help others going through the same thing. Her hobbies include thrift shopping, gluten-free baking, and cat loving.


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