This is a blog which explores Katie Piper’s experience of her religion and studying at university. When you are applying to universities have a look at their websites for information about the support available to students and societies you can join.
What did you study at university and why?
I studied Fine Art at a university in the East Midlands from 2013 to 2016. As I am sitting here five years later in my office at Complete Graphics, a vehicle wrapping company, I often ask myself why I chose to study Fine Art. My aim at some point is to have a studio where I can pick up my paint brushes and easel again and begin painting again. However, a one-bedroom flat does not provide much scope for creativity especially with the amount of mess that I make with all the paints and canvases. For now, my creativity is restricted to the art of vehicle wrapping which is extremely challenging but also very satisfying. Feel free to check out our YouTube channel for some videos of our wrapping process. There is a link on our website which is: www.complete-graphics.co.uk
What are your religious beliefs? How does these shape your values?
My faith is Christianity. I am often asked what type of Christian I am (I think people like to put people in boxes to help them understand their viewpoint a little better) but I’m not affiliated with any of the denominations. My faith is a personal trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, a man that lived a perfect life and died on a cruel Roman cross 2000 years ago to die for my sin. He was placed in a grave and rose from the dead three days later and is now in Heaven. I am able to have a daily relationship with Him as my Saviour through prayer and reading the Bible. My values are shaped by the Bible which is God’s message to humanity and holds within its pages the keys to life’s biggest questions. The perfect, sinless life of the Lord Jesus Christ is my greatest inspiration and the moral standard by which I live my life.
How did your religion affect your experience of university?
My experience of university was different to most on my course as I was commuting from home each day, my commute was 40 minutes and allowed me time each day to think and process the events of the day. Commuting to university allowed me to continue to meet with my home church each Sunday and throughout the week. This helped me remain grounded and became a safe haven for me where I had the support of good friends to help me and pray for me through the ups and downs of university life.
Did you join any student groups whilst studying at university? Faith based or otherwise.
The university I attended is well known for sports. It was my intention to join at least one sports group in the three years I was there. However, I let myself down and did not attend even one class! I was part of the Christian Union on campus and enjoyed meeting new people that shared my faith and who became a great help to me throughout my life at university. We took part in various events throughout the year such as Text a Toastie where we delivered toasties throughout campus in response to a faith based question from students which we then answered as we handed them their toastie. We also had a weekly prayer group within each faculty and the people in the arts prayer group became very good friends of mine. Due to commuting to university each day I was not affiliated with any of the halls but I was welcomed in to one of the hall groups that was run by the CU. The CU were very interested in outreach which involved sharing the faith of the Bible with the other students on campus. I am still in touch with some of the group now and I remain inspired by their vision and innovative use of technology and social media to spread the good news of God’s salvation.
Were there facilities on campus for you to practice your faith?
On campus there was a chaplaincy building where the Christian Union was able to meet and worship together. I found this to be a comforting place and although I only made use of it for the Christian Union meetings, there would have been help and advice for me there should I have needed it.
Did your university experience shape your personal life?
My experience of university made me firmer in my conviction in my beliefs. It helped me to develop as an individual and my self-confidence has grown. Through being exposed to a more diverse group of people and dealing with a wide range of issues within my friendship group at university, I have learnt that my body language and the way I support people in their times of need are important. It is important to listen to other people and seek to learn more about them in order to provide the necessary guidance and support. I do believe that when people are struggling, Christ is always the answer no matter what your background is because ultimately, The Lord Jesus came to die for each and every person and my desire is to introduce people to Him. He alone has the answers to our struggles. He said in the Bible to “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”, this shows that it is the desire of Christ to take away our burden of sin, to give us peace with God and rest for eternity. The use of “all” emphasises the inclusivity of the message and the scope of salvation which can reach to anyone who will humble themselves to acknowledge their own sin and recognise The Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, the One who died for their sin on the cross.
If you could speak to your 18-year-old self and give her any advice, what would it be?
If I could speak to my 18 year old self then I would remind her of the best advice I can give which is to not listen to your own doubts and fears, but as the Bible says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6.
If anyone has read this far through my scattered thoughts then I congratulate you. Speaking about my faith is my favourite thing to do because it means I can introduce people to my Saviour. I really would recommend that you seek to learn more about Him, about His perfect life, His death on the cross, and what that means for you in 2021. The first four books of the New Testament are a great place to start, written by eyewitnesses to the life of the Lord Jesus and give us an insight into His life here on earth as He walked the dusty streets of Israel all those years ago.