University freshmen had the opportunity to gain insights into university life during Kickstart 2016.University freshmen had the opportunity to gain insights into university life during Kickstart 2016.

The Office for Young People (OYP) organised two events for freshmen and current students. Kickstart 2016, held from June 10-11, aimed to help university freshmen prepare for life in university.

The School of Christian leadership (SOCL) camp, held from May 27 to June 4, saw its largest turnout of university students learning about Christian leadership. (see story "Learning about purity and being a Christian leader")

Both events were held at the Office for Young People at 2 Lorong Low Koon.

In its third annual gathering for incoming freshmen, Kickstart 2016 saw 51 of them from seven universities and 21 parishes connecting with the various university campus communities and gaining insights on what to expect in university

They and about 40 current university students were also introduced to each other through games and fellowship.

During the event, Singapore Management University (SMU) alumnus Nicholas Goh, 26, shared his experience of how being plugged into the life of the Church helped him in his university life and how being a member of Fides, a Catholic community in SMU, helped him to live a more integrated life.

OYP youth chaplain Fr Jude David told freshmen that “the Church, [their] mother, is walking with [them] on this journey” of university life that can be challenging at times.

New to the programme this year was an overnight recollection, which more than half of the attendees opted to participate in.

It provided an opportunity for the freshmen to hear more from current university students about their experiences and to have a deeper encounter with the Lord.

Mr Jeffery Espehana, a National University of Singapore (NUS) Catholic Students’ Society member, shared some of his experience on their vocation as a student at this point of time, while Ms Joanna Oey, an SMU Fides member, shared how even choosing whom to study with and which friends to spend time with had an impact on her morale, grades and life as a whole.

Kickstart 2016 ended with a time of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament as participants were encouraged to “chill out with Jesus” and to start making this a habit in their lives.

After the event, some shared their thoughts.

Natasha Lowe, 19, who will be starting university at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said: “I was really worried about starting university because I barely knew anyone who would be going to NTU, and all these new things that I had to do seemed so overwhelming. But going for Kickstart and getting to know the seniors already in NTU and other people that would be enrolling with me was really comforting because it assured me that I would always find safety in God and in the Catholic community there.”

Mr Daniel Lim, 21, said that “it was great to get to know friends that share the same faith even before school started. I feel more prepared for school now as seniors shared with us tips on how to ‘survive’ the rigorous curriculum and knowing that I have this group of friends I can trust and depend on throughout my studies. I can’t wait to embark on this journey with them!”

By Dominic Nalpon

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