There are days I dream about not having to face work or the stresses of life. You may well ask how a Chaplain can feel stress and anxiety but I can assure you that we can! Our work is a huge privilege but there are still things that need doing that we don’t particularly enjoy and things that happen that we wished didn’t.
Many of you are in a season of anxiety and stress as you face assessments and exams. There is a lot of great wellbeing advice out there. Look after yourself, plan well, get some fresh air and exercise, seek help, study in groups, find the many services that are available onsite at UC designed to help you pass. People are genuinely here to help you.
I wanted to encourage you all as you study and face this stress and anxiety that you can get through this period.
As Chaplains, John and I can meet with you to help you see a different perspective – that although life feels so pressured at the moment – this time will pass. Every single day, being an adult is simply putting one foot in front of the other and learning to cope with the challenges and wonderful moments that cross our paths. Each day does bring something new and although there are times of facing hard stuff there will always be times of good too. We can chat with you, pray with you, supply you with coffee if it helps.
Part of living with stress is learning to build our resilience. Resilience isn’t something we naturally have and master – it’s a skill that we learn, adapt and practice. One small part of resilience is to keep a sense of humour – watch something funny, laugh and see how humour can put things in perspective and relieve your tension. Another hint is to have a hopeful outlook. Finding a sense of purpose and meaning. As someone of faith my hope may be different to yours but hope is always there. Finally reward yourself – do something you enjoy once this season is done. You quite literally deserve it!
Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Jane tōku ingoa. I am one of the Chaplains at UC. I’m guessing some of you may be unsure what a chaplain actually is! Chaplains are someone who provides spiritual care in a non-religious environment compared to working in a church setting. Chaplains are onsite at UC in a role that offers pastoral and practical support regardless of anyone’s background or belief system. We recognise that there are many parts that make each of us function – our physical bodies, intellect, the relationships we have around us, support structures and for many of us a spiritual or faith aspect.
John is the Senior Chaplain onsite. He’s a previous UC grad and an ordained Anglican minister amongst many other things. John has an academic background, has a great listening ear and attends many meetings plus does the official civic stuff around UC when needed. He has a great sense of humour and is always up for a chat.
I am another Chaplain who is very thankful to be here. I have done some part time theological study, I’m a trained teacher and Christian mentor. I spent many years tutoring at Lincoln Uni and then working for our local church. I’m also a UC graduate from a thousand years ago. I love meeting new people and helping and supporting where I can.
There are also some volunteer Chaplains around as well as various faith groups.
People come and see John and I for all different reasons. Sometimes people just need someone to listen. This is totally fine and very welcome. John and I are not employed by UC so are independent and confidential but happy to support you as we can and support your journey at UC. Sometimes people have faith questions or simply want an independent and safe space to ask questions. Sometimes people need a place to vent, or simply a coffee. There’s not really anything that’s out of bounds in terms of what we have heard or come across! At other times people would love prayer and spiritual support. John and I can also point you in the direction of faith clubs and churches around UC.
We’re really thankful you are here at UC and look forward to catching up if or when you need us. You can get in touch with us here:
It’s always slightly hard going somewhere for the first time. I remember as a kid the first day of a new school or a sports lesson that my parents signed me up for. That horrible gut ache feeling and slight hope that there would be at least one person who you could connect with and talk to and not feel like a complete outsider.
At uni there are multiple places to feel this – especially if it’s your first year here. I know this because I started in this role as one of the Chaplains at UC last year and here’s a couple of tips from my perspective so far.
Firstly, and its going to sound weird, but just put on a smile and enjoy everything you can. I know this is hard to hear for introverts and the like, but if you kind of act like you know what you’re doing and just give it a shot, somehow things seem to fall into place or at least vaguely become the new normal. The older I get , he more I see this playing out – a lot of the time we can feel alone and like we’re bluffing through life – but its ok – pretty much everyone feels like that to some extent. Feeling like this doesn’t define you!
Secondly, nearly everyone I have met so far has been welcoming and helpful. There are plenty of people out there who can help you get life sorted. When I went to uni fifty million years ago we had one café, a health centre with maybe a couple of doctors in it and loads of events. Now there is support options galore – full of super talented people here to make your life easier and help in any way they can.
Thirdly be brave. Join a club. I’m biased in this area but there are some really good faith-based clubs on campus who do great work. If you have come from a faith/church background this is an excellent place to start for friendship and a faith community. Just do a search for faith groups on the UC website and you’ll find the different groups and local church options. If you don’t come from a faith background, every one of these clubs will still be glad to hear from you!
Finally, one of the areas both John (other Chaplain onsite) and I excel in is listening and being some company. Both of us studied at UC and semi vaguely know our way around. We’re always up for a chat or a coffee or can at the very least make you feel welcome and connected at UC.
Visit the Kāhui Wairua | UC Chaplaincy page here or email John or Jane.