A letter to my former student self
A letter to my former student self

Three university graduates have written letters to their former fresher selves. Have a read below to learn from their advice on how best to honour God in your attitudes, habits, sport and studies at uni.

Simon Poole

Simon was at the University of Leicester from 2011-2014.

Dear Simon…

As you start university here is my advice:

  • Be front footed

    Don’t end up making decisions because you feel pressured by other people or things. Pray through and resolve to honour God in the things that matter and be proactive in choosing churches, groups, relationships, boundaries etc.

    i.e. Don’t necessarily go to the church all the students go to, make an informed decision on which church will help you grow.

  • Be disciplined with the things God has given you

    Make God’s Word and spending time with Him a priority! Be disciplined with your studies, your training, keeping up with friends and all the other things God has given you at university to enjoy and work hard at for Him.

    i.e. Don’t let your coursework slip completely - it doesn’t honour God and it will come back to bite!

  • Be genuine with your teammates

    Just be honest with your teammates about your faith. They might not always understand exactly, but they’ll respect you for it, and get a clearer glimpse of the gospel. Don’t go with the ‘kop out’ answer or the easy explanation.

    i.e. Don’t say you can’t get drunk, or you’re not allowed because you’re a Christian. Instead say you don’t want to because you really want to honour God.

  • Find great people to learn from

    Be intentional about meeting with a church leader and an older student who you look up to, and in time find a younger student to invest in.

    i.e. Ask early at church to meet the pastor/student worker one to one.

  • Get good people around you

    Get a few good Christian mates who get what you’re about, who you don’t need to spend all your time with but that will still be real with you and pick you up and encourage you.

    i.e. Get a couple of friends and meet with them, be honest with them, get them on a group message and get praying for each other when you’re out with your teammates.

University will throw lots of opportunities at you, choose a few, choose wisely and commit fully!

Hear this from 1 Peter 2:11-12:

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Go well,


Kate Randle

Kate was at the College of St Paul and St Mary (now Uni of Gloucestershire), 1981-1985

Dear Kate,

So, you’re about to start this next chapter of your life. I expect you feel a combination of excitement and nerves. In years to come, you’ll remember the friends you made and the experiences you enjoyed, but there could be things you’ll regret, so let me give you my four top tips to help you navigate the next 3 years!

Be Vulnerable

You won’t be the only one feeling anxious at heading into a new environment, so do look out for others in the same situation. It would also be worth finding a mature Christian either back at home or in your new church, who could walk alongside you and who could ask you the tough questions when things don’t go as you would want.

Be Teachable

Establish good patterns to enable you to grow as a Christian. Get stuck into a local church where God’s Word is clearly explained. Be diligent in reading the Bible regularly and taking time to pray for yourself too.

Be Humble

Don’t expect to get everything right. You’ll make some poor judgements and have some unhelpful relationships but be willing to admit this and be prepared to ask for God’s help (and others too), so these experiences make you a better not a bitter person!

Be Outward looking

As you get stuck into your course and as you play your hockey, look for opportunities to point others to Christ, both by the words you say (and how you say them) and by your actions. This doesn’t mean being perfect - you won’t manage that! In fact, it will do much for people’s understanding of the Christian message, if you can show that it is ok to get things wrong, that you’re accepted by Christ, not on the basis of your performance but on the basis of what he has done for you in dying on the cross.

As you pack your bags, I want to echo Paul’s words to the Philippians in 1:9-11:

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.

Have fun!


Sophie Cassidy

Sophie was at Leeds University from 2008-2011.

Dear Sophie,

Get perspective on your three years at university. Don’t be consumed by the now and think it will last forever, because it won’t. It’s such a unique time and you will make friends for life, and learn vital lessons.

Don’t think of your sporting life as separate from your Christian life, or less important. Be careful not to end up in a Christian bubble, being so busy with church and CU that you have no time for sport. See this as your mission field at university. It’s such a fantastic way of building great friendships with non-believers. Invest in these relationships.

It’s never easy to ask people to read the Bible with you, but at university friends have more time and are often open to new things. Use Uncover, or another great resource to read the Bible with a teammate. It will be feel slightly uncomfortable to ask, but think of the good news you’re sharing with them. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

Do invest in strong Christian friendships at uni too though. It’s so much easier to be a strong witness when you can be encouraged and pray with others. Plug into a prayer group, whether that’s the Christians in Sport group on Wednesday mornings, or a CU or church group. They are a great way of getting others to pray for your teammates.

Remember this idea in your sports team from John 17:14-15: Be in the world but not of the world.

Be there, right in the mix of training and socials, but be different. It can be such a powerful witness when people see you having a good time, without being fuelled by alcohol!

Make it your goal to glorify God in your work, sport, and friendships at university!



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