You start university with your timetable empty.

But slowly, with every fair you go to – faculty events fairs, CCA fairs, sports fairs, et cetera – your schedule starts filling up, first the weeknights, then the Saturdays and Sundays, then the slots where you don’t have lectures, until you don’t have a second to breathe.

Generally speaking, studies, social life, and (for some) sleep get prioritised. But those of us who are Christians know in the back of our minds that when we come to college, we seek first not only to pull ourselves through, but also to bring Christ to those around us. (Some of us have this conviction deeper than others.)

I started out Year 1 with the vision for myself that I would enjoy everything I do and do it all to the glory of God. For Him, not for myself. But this changed as I found that other things took over the top of the priority list. My next social gathering beckoned while church events and quiet time took a backseat.

At first my conscience was slightly disturbed, but I suppressed the thought, telling myself I would get my priorities in order when it was possible – but now was not the time. This repeated itself all semester and by the end of Semester 1, I was burnt out and tired. Happy, but superficially so.

I thought through this in Semester 2 and as I entered my second academic year I realised what a failure I’d been because I’d put God in as part of my to-do list. It was not that I did not prioritise Him, but He was just another thing to tick off the list.

So since it wasn’t a task I could finish, I found I could always push it to the next day, or the day after.

But by His grace I came to my senses in Year 2. These are some lessons I learnt in the process.


1. God should not be part of your priority list – He should stand above it

God should rule your to-do list. How I arrange what I need to do for the day, week and month should be regulated by my attitude towards God. This means that I should allocate the firstfruits of my time to seek Him – whether it’s quiet time in the morning or night – and not do it only when it is convenient for me to do so. If He really comes first, other things can wait.

2. We are often stressed that we cannot finish everything we have to do.

I face this problem all the time, and still do. But I figured somewhere along the way that the reason I face this problem is because I never truly and fully believed that God is the God of the impossible.

If I said He is Who He is then I should believe it – and that means to trust that if I go for that prayer meeting instead of allocating that 2-hour slot to finish another 500 words of my essay, He will help me to complete it.

I say this not meaning that we should leave our work to the last minute and expect Him to complete it for us. But when we are conflicted over whether to go for a church meeting over doing a piece of school work instead, try to put Him first, try having faith in Him: He promised He will be faithful and never fail us. This applies in school, too.

3. Do things not half-heartedly, but with all that we have – not for ourselves, but for Him.

God tells us He wants us to do everything we do with our whole heart. Whether it be relationships with people or academics, or any other task we sign up to do, we should not do it with a nonchalant attitude.

We are living testimonies for Christ and for the Christian values that we claim to uphold. So the way we carry ourselves in our posture towards schoolwork is also a way to share the Gospel.  The Bible says we should do everything as unto God, and not to men.

4. Our standard should not be that of men, but of God.

In a society where your GPA, CAP, or any other form of academic grading seems to be so important – determining our futures – it is hard to look at anything outside that box. It is essential to always remind ourselves that we belong to Christ, and that God is the only one whose opinion matters.

We serve a God who controls all the world, do we believe that our grades and our lives are in His hand too?

Ultimately, once we’ve done our best, we can leave the result to God. At the same time, should we experience failure in school, maybe there are lessons God wants us to learn.

So when we feel we have not been able to live up to the expectations of the world, family, ourselves, or anyone else, remember that it is God’s expectations and His favour and love toward us that count.