How I helped my faith thrive in first year

“If it’s not in your schedule, it’s not in your life.”


Someone gave me that advice before I started first year university. I came out of high school committed to following Jesus at university. My mentor said, “If you value your time with Jesus, prove it by showing me your calendar.”

I took that advice to heart. Before my first day of new student orientation at UOttawa, I went to my calendar and plugged in all of my classes. Once I did this I got my highlighters out and got ready to time block my priorities into my freshly printed schedule.


Time blocking is a method of managing your life that has served many students really well. You look at your schedule and start blocking off things that are important. Sleep is a good one. Meals, exercise… all your class times of course.


It’s tempting to plug in your classes, intramural sports, and other events that have a defined commitment and regular time, and leave other things to chance. The problem is, there are a million things to do in a week. If it’s not in your schedule, there’s a good chance it won’t happen.


That’s why I added a daily time with Jesus. It felt a little weird to plug that into my calendar – after all, isn’t it supposed to be a relationship? Is it okay to make it structured like it’s a job? I wondered whether putting time with Jesus would turn my Bible reading and devotional time into a duty.

That’s not what happened. By putting my time with Jesus into my schedule, it made Him a priority in my life. After I connected with the InterVarsity Fellowship at UOttawa, I plugged in my small group time and other Fellowship events. I also blocked out times for exercise, sports, and meeting friends. I also joined the Governor General’s Footguards and had weekly parades as a Canadian Army Reservist.


I almost never sacrificed time for my campus Christian group and my faith. I got great grades but I didn’t do it at the expense of building relationships that are still incredibly meaningful to me today. I couldn’t tell you much of what I learned from my first year classes, even though I graduated magna cum laude. But I know the friends I made will be with me forever.


Seriously invest in your courses. Study hard and do well. But don’t shelve Jesus in your life or sacrifice friends and Christian community.

By Daniel Desgroseilliers

Campus Minister at University of Ottawa & Algonquin College
Director, Circle Square Ranch Big Clear Lake

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