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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 20/10/2017 

Reader, The Minster

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


I, along with many ‘freshers’, have just started university.  For some, they will have left home, maybe for the first time; others will still be living at home.  It is a time of transition: making new friends, ways of learning, and how to write academic essays.  For some there will also be the new challenges of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and managing study time along with meeting deadlines for essays. Part-time jobs will help ease the student debt so that it doesn’t overwhelm.  Many will leave with a degree and around £50,000 - £60,000 of debt

dove leftAll this can be daunting, even for a mature student living at home.  Making new friends who understand what you are going through will help smooth a frazzled brow. Seeking the support from the university staff when everything seems impossible is equally important.  Then there is the getting to grips with being responsible for our learning.  Oh, and don’t forget citations and referencing, and so much more

Of course we are not the only ones who are going through a time of transition.  The start of September was a new school year and parents may be getting used to being on their own for the first time.  Children are getting used to new teachers and the challenges of a new routine and learning

In times of transition, there is not only the taking up of new things but the releasing of the old.  We may have to give up free time, hobbies and activities to make time for study.  There can be a sense of loss, anger, and bereavement.  For some homesickness may seem overwhelming

Dove rightMany places of further and higher education have chaplains who will come alongside and listen to students.  The chaplain gives a student a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, and will pray for them

Did Jesus know of transition?  He changed from being a carpenter living at home to be a roving rabbi and miracle man with disciples and followers.  He took time to be with his disciples to teach and reassure them.  He sent them out to try out the things he had taught and listened to them when they returned

We may say God is unchanging, yet He is always part of our changing lives.  Nothing ever stays the same for ever and in those times of transition we can hold onto the fact that Jesus shows us how much God, the Father, does love us. Wherever you are today, whatever you are doing, however you are feeling you are loved by God, who wants the very best for you 

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