Firstly, if you are graduating this year: well done!
Secondly, you’re probably thinking about what life will be like. Leaving university or college can feel both exciting and scary with the balance fluctuating wildly between the two, especially if you’re enjoyed your university experience.
Life post-university is often very different. It can be hard to find your feet in a new job or place and build up friendships. Finding a job can be a challenge, and not being surrounded by fellow students, following timetables and meeting essay deadlines is also a huge change. And then there are the expectations of your own and/or your family. Freedom can feel too big, or it might not feel like freedom at all!
I write this as a mature student who recently spent an evening with a friend from my undergraduate years in Liverpool, where we ran a hall of residence small group together. We talked over our lives since then – the ups and downs we could never have imagined, the people we’ve met and how we’ve changed, hopefully for the better! A few themes emerged that might be useful to those graduating this year:
- God is faithful
We will go wrong; we will be forgiven; God won’t leave us. (Romans 8:38-39)
- Churches are imperfect
They have all of us in them! Despite, or perhaps because of that, they are important as we journey on. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Someone else might feel lonely (too)
Don’t assume that just because you’re new that other people are regulars, settled or don’t need a friendly word. Why not say hello to the person next to you at work or church and go for a coffee? (Hebrews 13:1-2)
- Leaving university or college doesn’t mean that you stop learning
Hooray! Or maybe you think not*, but learning is unavoidable, even when it’s not formal learning. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
- Be honest with friends that you trust and have your interests at heart
We all have difficult times; sometimes you’ll need to ask for or offer help. (Proverbs 27:9)
But my top tip – keep going!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3
If you are saying goodbyes, you might find this blog helpful.