How To Thrive at University

Blog by Tim Simmonds

How To Thrive at University


You’ve left home.

You’ve left your home church.

You’re surrounded by strangers.

You may be wondering how you’re going to get through this.

Let’s stop there. You are asking the wrong question. 

You are going to thrive at University. I know we haven’t met. I am just a bloke writing a blog and you are just a blog reader but I believe that you will thrive at University.


Simple really. I have seen many a Christian go to University and have a fantastic experience. So instead of thinking, “how will I survive?” why not think “how can I thrive?”. I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Cook for people

Uni halls can be a little intimidating. There will be some big personalities in there and some crazy behaviour! It often takes people a while to find their feet and to settle down. What most people are looking for is friendship and a sense of community.

In order to get friendships and community going why not cook a meal for your flat in that first week? Let’s be honest it may be the only vegetables some of them get in that whole term  – I once knew a guy who lived off smash and tinned meatballs for months. He did not look healthy!

At Christ Church Manchester we are giving every fresher a shoe box filled with all the ingredients for Spaghetti Bolognese. There will be enough to feed 8 people! It will come with cooking instructions!

  1. Find a church

Of course, I am going to say that I am a pastor! But hear me out.

You need to find a church because the churches in your town need you. They need you because you’re young, and enthusiastic. They don’t need you on the rotas (although that’s helpful), and they don’t need your money (because you’re skint) but they do need your perspective. 

Millennials aren’t really going to church much but the church needs them. You could make a huge difference by committing to a church in your new town and helping them to see how they can reach out to young people.

At CCM we have students and 20s leading worship, running meetings, preaching, running Alpha, doing social action and a billion other things. They form how we do church. In other words, we need you!

  1. Invite yourself round

When you join a church hang around with some old people (anyone over 23 who looks like they have a job!) and invite yourself round for dinner!

Making friends outside of the student bubble can be a brilliant way of settling into a city and putting some roots down. Also, they can probably cook and will mostly likely give you lots of free food if you occasionally babys

  1. Make yourself at home

Get to know your city. Don’t just stay on campus or in the student bubble. Pretend you’re a tourist in your new city. I am always telling our students to get into the NQ, or to visit the Peoples History Museum, or to get out into the Peak District for some actual oxygen.

A friend of mine would get on his bike every Saturday morning and go to explore a new part of his city. He quickly fell in love with his new home.

  1. No shame

Sometimes those first few weeks and months of University life can be a whirlwind. For many it is their first taste of “freedom” after having left home. Mistakes often get made. Those that do best don’t beat themselves up for any errors of judgement but they see them for what they are, errors!

Mistakes are to be learnt from. So in those first few weeks have fun, look after yourself, love God and love the people around you.


If you’re a student coming to Manchester, please get in touch with us. We would love to help you settle in, find some friends and plug into church (we will also feed you – winner).

We meet in Fallowfield (Luther King House, Brighton Grove, M14 5JP) at 10:30am and 6pm every Sunday.

Tim Simmonds

Tim Simmonds

CCM Deputy Leader & Site Leader - CCM:Kingsway

Tim is the deputy leader of Christ Church Manchester, and he also heads up the CCM:Kingsway site of the church, meeting in Burnage every Sunday at 10am.