Diversity is one of the best things about the University experience as you are able, even within the first few weeks, to meet people who you can connect with on many different topics. However, due to this wonderful variety you are also liable to meet those who oppose your particular way of thinking. This can be extremely hard when you happen to be religious, as no conversation is more apt at division amongst peers than this. However, never fear freshers as you will certainly not be alone in your plight.
Speaking from experience, I began my university journey as a Christian who was timid in my mind-set; cautious of those who would condemn my faith and belittle my point of view for fear of unpopularity. Having this approach hindered me, as I’ve learnt that there’s nothing an atheist (a drunk one at that) loves more than having a sharp riposte with you when you ‘admit’ that you are in some way religious.
You may suddenly find yourself having to defend your beliefs whilst simultaneously holding one hand up in the air (7/Heaven) and ‘consuming’ your beverage of cider, tonic water, warm vodka & coke during a fierce ‘Ring of Fire’ session. This confrontation from the dangerously intrigued can be a little bemusing, but eventually you may want to avoid the religious exchange all together.
However, I certainly would not encourage the denial of your religion, as I suspect it is something that you may hold very dear to you and may had even had friends amongst your faith before you intrepidly stepped onto the Loughborough campus. So please do not let this incessant and irksome LAD culture which can sometimes engulf those in halls surround you to the point where you hide away something which means so much, simply to make friends due to the fact that they are next door. You have all this opportunity to seek those who are like-minded, so do so, whether it is on the sensitive subject of religion or on a light-hearted one such as sport.
The diversity found in Loughborough is one of its many appeals so I urge you dear fresher, not to settle with those who impede upon your beliefs as you hide yourself away, wanting to voice your opinion in conversations but too afraid to go against the current. But rather, you have the wonderful choice of meeting those who are exactly like you, and you should let yourself find solace in that fact. If you find yourself unhappy with those who you are forcibly settled with (for whatever reason), that is not the end of Uni life as you know it, far from it.
Simply put; at the end of the day there are so many opportunities at your University and I implore you to go out seeking them, challenging and furthering yourself. I would hate to see religious people becoming reluctant to open up and meet new just people because some drunkard you live next to and have befriended has, at an FND, wandered into Club Mission and stepped on toes and social formalities, leaving you too uncomfortable to come out as having faith of any kind.
The Loughborough Christian Union is one of the biggest in the country, and then of course there is the Hindu, Islamic and Sikh societies which are full of people who will, if not already have, experienced what you might go through.
So go out, speak out, have your views listened to, challenged, challenge others, meet like-minded people or those with foreign ideals, for you have got the greatest experience ahead of you. Be yourself (whoever that may be) and do not hide away. University is full of wonderful diversity, rejoice in that fact and don’t settle for anything (or anyone) you are not content with.
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