I write this awaiting the results of my MA in Theology and Religious Studies and preparing for what comes next. So I can appreciate how hard results day can be! Perhaps you have worked flat out or think you haven’t worked as hard as you should have done. It’s easy to place so much pressure on ourselves that we end up thinking we are never good enough.
During this time of stress, I have taken so much inspiration from the story of Mary and Martha. We often have so much pressure – with so much to do and so little time to do it, we forget to sit and relax. It was not that Martha was a bad person for wanting to do the work, but that Mary’s path was both spiritually and emotionally healthy.
Sometimes we need to just sit and relax rather than worry. That is easier said than done for some of us, and suffering from an anxiety disorder I find this difficult. So I have taken some practical steps that may help you after results day, and as you prepare to come to university.
- Try to relax. Whatever will happen will happen and if you haven’t got into your first choice of university you can still have an amazing experience wherever you go, even if it wasn’t what you had originally planned.
- Let yourself celebrate and just have fun before making plans for university. Like waiting on your results, moving can also be stressful, so make sure you treat yourself for all your hard work!
- Spend plenty of time with friends before you go – you will want to make sure you have seen them all before the excitement of making new friends.
- Find activities that you enjoy before you go so you know what you should do. Maybe go to the student gym (one of the first places I went to) or find a society you want to join so you have something to look forward to.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things when you get to university. It is one of the best times of your life for doing what you like. Activities I took part in at university helped me land my new job!
- Try to find a church when you move to university (sign up to use SCM Connect to get started). Belonging to a community of faith can really help you settle in to a new place and begin to feel a sense of belonging. Although don’t feel pressured to join a ‘student church’ if you don’t want to. It may seem all students go to a particular church, and if that works for you then that’s great. But it’s also important to find a place that feels right for you. I wanted to go to a traditional Methodist Chapel and joined a church where I was the only student who attended every week! That worked well for me because I was more settled in the community.
- Be part of the university chaplaincy. If you don’t want to join a ‘student church’ this can be a great way of connecting with students who are of a similar mind to you and help you to feel connected to a Christian community. Also, chaplains can be a great source of support if you encounter any problems.
- Most of all enjoy the experience. As you prepare for university and make new friends, it is certainly worth it!
James is a member of SCM Leeds, where he’s currently finishing his MA in Theology and Religious Studies. He will be taking up a post as a Messy Church, Schools and Community worker in the Leicester North Methodist Circuit in the autumn. During his undergraduate and Masters James worked in the Education Outreach department at the University of Leeds, working with 11-18 year old students who were exploring options for their future.
For more tips and advice on A Level results day, check out these resources from the Student Room, including tips for going through Clearing, as well as this from Which?. You can also find churches and student Christian groups using SCM Connect.