The time is coming when you have to decide what the next step is in this game of life, and you may well be thinking about university. This new blog series, Choosing Your Uni, is here to help! We’ll point out some key things to consider in making this big decision, and pass on advice from current and previous students about their experience of choosing a uni. In this second blog, we’ll be looking at being guided by your heart.
Choosing your home for the next few years is a big step, and there’s lots to consider. Firstly, do you want to leave home and live on campus, or would you rather stay at home and commute in? The latter is an option that more and more people are taking, as it can definitely help to keep costs down. If you do decide you want to move away from home, the next question to consider is how far away do you want to go? Not moving too far away from your family may be an important factor for you, or you may not mind at all – it’s completely fine either way, but it’s worth having a think about your priorities. It’s also worth considering if you’d rather attend a campus uni (one that is situated on one site, with student accommodation, teaching and research facilities all together) or a city/town uni (where you will live in the city and travel to your uni’s facilities). Both have their merits and it’s not a bad idea to apply to a mix, unless you have strong aversion to either. It’s worth noting that in your second or third year at a campus university you’ll most likely move off campus and live in the city or town anyway.
At the end of the day the big question you should be asking yourself is, ‘Is this a place where I could see myself living happily for the next three or more years?’. It is not unusual for graduates to continue living in the cities where they studied after they graduate, so you should consider the long term, too!
Uni life is much more than just the studying! It’s also a great opportunity to try out new things or develop your existing hobbies, and a great way to meet other people. You might have a niche interest or a hobby that no one else has heard about, but that has a big scene at some universities! If you like walking, somewhere near the lake district would be great – if you really need a thriving nightlife, a big city will be better than a small coastal town. Have a good look into what societies there are and what extracurricular opportunities are on offer. Also make sure you look out for an SCM Group, or if you’re feeling brave get in touch with us about starting one yourself!
Finding a Church
Finding a ‘spiritual home’ while you’re away is key. It may be the first time you have had to find a church for yourself, but this is an opportunity to try out new church traditions and possibly start to wrestle with what you want out of church for the first time. It is not always easy finding a new church – it can be especially tricky to motivate yourself to visit multiple churches to find the right one. But there are things you can do to help this selection process along! First find out what churches are in the general proximity of your uni or accomodation. Then think about what you are looking for in a church. Consider what things are important to you; a family feel? Lively worship? An opportunity to serve? Next consider whether their theology is something you can align with. Are they affirming and inclusive? Do they put too much of an emphasis on an aspect of Christianity that you’re not on board with? How many people attend, and would you be more comfortable in a small setting where you’ll be more prominent, or one where you can observe for a while without having to get involved straight away? A lot of this can be found out from a church website and vision statement, it just takes a little googling! Next, get out and try them out. Do remember, though, that there is no such thing as the perfect church; finding a place where you’re comfortable, and where you feel God might be pointing you to is a great place to be! If you need to find inclusive, student friendly churches in your university area you can check out SCM Connect.
Having A Hunch
Our final tip is that somewhere might just “feel right”. It may not be the prettiest, the most prestigious, the one with the most monetary investment, but it seems to fit you like a glove. It could be the passion of a lecturer or the vibe of the city or a huge community for your niche interest, but don’t ignore those feelings! Don’t be afraid to follow through on a hunch, or a good feeling about somewhere.
This is part two in the Choosing Your Uni series. You can read part one, Choosing a Uni With Your Head, here.