This weekend marks two years since I flew the nest and came to Uni. My middle sister is now following suit but headed for a different city and a different course. I've been reading over old journals again recently and feeling pretty nostalgic and I guess a little sad. Freshers is meant to be a time of trying out new activities, getting drunk making new friends and generally just "loving life". Now, don't get me wrong...I did do some of this;
|First night drinks|
|Myself and Beth (housemate)|
|Freebies at Freshers Fair|
|Amelia, Beth, myself, Laura|
Coming to Uni. was the hardest but the best thing that I ever did. Staying in Torquay was not an option, I needed my independence, I needed the opportunities that living in a city and being at Uni. gives me. Brighton is such a beautiful place and I'm grateful to have the chance to live here. University gives me a platform academically but also provides me with the chance to move away from home. Without university I doubt I would have had the guts to move half way across the country!
There are still some things I miss though. Particularly my church. UV youth was such a massive part of my teenage years, pretty much every social event in my calender was somehow linked. I made some great friends, got to know an amazing God and just generally grew as a person. I miss them so much and although I am a member of CCK, I do not feel that I belong, I do not feel wanted, loved and cared for like I did in my church back home. It's really difficult.
But life goes on, people move on and when I visit now I barely recognise anyone...it's been 3 years since I was a proper "youth". I was putting up photos on my wall today and came across my leaving card. It had the following verse in:
"I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back." - Philippians 3:12-14
I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. I constantly want to turn back, I constantly want to change the past, to turn from God because it would be easier. It would be easier to just give up. But for some unknown reason I don't. I heard the analogy that God's got you on a bungee...you can run as far as you like but eventually you'll ping back...and I guess that's true for me. I desperately want to avoid church, avoid all my church friends, I can't be bothered to read my Bible or to worship or pray yet when it comes down to it, I always go back.
I don't really know where this post is/was headed. It is late and I'm feeling nostalgic and emotional. So much has changed over the past two years, some good, some bad. Would I actually change any of it if I could? Probably not. Because it's all made me into the person I am today.
Ilona Burton wrote a great article around this time last year on University and Eating Disorders: a few tips for Freshers :
"I am aware that some of my regular readers are at this stage now. They’re saying their goodbyes and flying the nest for the first time. It’s a huge step and if you happen to have suffered in the past from an Eating Disorder, it is going to present challenges. But you know what they say – these things are sent to try us. And what I say? DON’T YOU DARE WASTE ANOTHER SECOND... for Christ’s sake, don’t waste a second. Don’t let worries hold you back. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t obsess. Don’t ever let worries about food or weight destroy the freedom that you’re using to fuel your self destruction. Use it for fun, for friends, for making memories that you’ll remember for all the right reasons."
University will always be a change, it will always have it's difficulties, it benefits, it's opportunities. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'll be thinking of my friends and all the other freshers moving around over the next few weeks. You're only a fresher once...make the most of it!