Sean Cullen is the national director of Power to Change Students. In this blog Sean gives some advice on how to not just survive but thrive in college and university. Their website is – There you can learn about what universities and colleges have groups that meet, mission trip information, and young adult training events.

Question – How can a Christian student THRIVE in university or college and not just survive?

I still remember the intense feelings that gripped my heart as I watched my family drive away. I stood in the parking lot at the University of Guelph that first day of school and swallowed the lump that was growing in my throat. I had grown up in a loving Christian home where the Bible was honoured and service in the Church was a priority. Although I had gone to a secular high school, most of my close friends believed as I did that Jesus was not just another historical religious leader, but in fact the Son of God. I wanted to live for Him, but I also had my own plan for how life should go. I was excited about growing up and the freedom that comes from being on my own, but I was also nervous about what might happen to me and my faith in this new chapter of life.

I spent much of my first year studying in my basement apartment. Alone and living defensively. I was fearful that the world might change me. But this is not how Jesus intends us to live. He came that we might have life, and life to the full. This was not living. I wanted to thrive not just survive. Over the course of that first year, I would begin to thrive, and I hope some of the things I learned that first year might be helpful to you seek to thrive in the University or College context. I would summarize them like this.

1. Jesus changes everything. Jesus is real. He is not an idea to debate, but a person with whom to experience a relationship. He changes my life, and if you want to thrive in University as a Christian you must experience Jesus every day. How has He met your cravings for unconditional love? When you wake up in the morning how is Jesus filling your life with meaning and purpose? Be a student of the Bible, and walk moment by moment in active surrender to the Holy Spirit. Let Jesus change your life everyday, and use you to change your world. This is thriving.

2. Relationships Matter. Jesus has called us into a community. I learned I had to be proactive about finding a church. Alone I was surviving…barely. That changed as I got involved with some people on campus who could encourage me. Be proactive. Make it a priority. Thrive together.

3. Get over yourself. My main goal the first few months of school was survival. It was all about me. As I began to let Jesus change me, in a community of like minded students, I was challenged to be a part of a cause much bigger than myself. How could Jesus use me to change the world? How could I help someone else find love, meaning and purpose in relationship with the Living God? As I began to exchange fear for engagement in Jesus’s great co-mission, something happened. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about Jesus and His mission to love people. I began to serve my fellow students in love, rather avoid them in fear. Finally, I had began to truly thrive.

Jesus has called us to live life to the full. And in His grace He provides all the resources to do just that. Walk with Him daily. Live it together. Be part of a cause bigger than yourself. You will thrive in University, College and beyond. Praying for you!

by Sean Cullen, National Director of Power to Change – Students

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