Being a New Student Can Be a Scary Thing

Audrey Robles

More than ever Audrey feels Jesus wants her to use her gifts to help people.

Transferring colleges can be scary. Audrey, a transfer student & incoming sophomore here at the University of Minnesota this past fall, knew she wanted to keep growing in her relationship with God, but what would that look like in a new city, at a new college, surrounded by a bunch of people she’s never met?

Audrey Robles and I met for coffee on Ash Wednesday after attending the Jacob’s Well Ash Wednesday service. I was feeling a bit silly with the characteristic Ash Wednesday blob on my forehead and completely lost when Audrey suggested we go to the Caribou Coffee in Moos Tower — a building on campus whose tunnels I had never mastered.

“I know the way!” Audrey told me. She led me through hallways I had never seen, and she laughed when I expressed my complete disorientation. She sure knows how to find her way around a new campus!


Audrey is following her dream to become a nurse. When she was applying to nursing schools, the University of Minnesota was her first choice. However, she didn’t think she’d be accepted. She prayed that God would lead her to the right school. Little did she know, the right school was also the school she most longed to attend.


When we arrived at Caribou, I meekly approached the barista. I didn’t want him to notice the Ash Wednesday blob on my forehead (because that’s realistic, right?). I almost made it through my order when the barista kindly inquired, “Did you know you have some black stuff on your face?”

“Yeah,” I responded. I grabbed my drink from him as my face flushed red.

I figured Audrey would have the same experience, but she approached the barista confidently and asked for a “Berry White Mocha, please!” The barista saw her matching Ash Wednesday blob and said, “Oh, you have the same stuff on your head as that girl.”

Audrey responded, “Yeah! It’s Ash Wednesday!”


This sort of confidence has always been a part of Audrey.

When she was in high school, Audrey attended a Christian camp. Though she grew up in the church, Audrey sensed she wanted more of a relationship with the Lord. In her opinion, bringing her to camp was part of God’s plan to draw her nearer to Him.

“It was very spur of the moment,” Audrey remembered. She was visiting her grandma one summer, and her uncle and cousins spontaneously invited her to a Christian camp in Iowa.

Her camp experience led to a spiritual breakthrough. Before camp, Audrey noted that she had a difficult time surrendering to God and letting Him take on her worries and anxiety. Her camp experience helped her to genuinely surrender to Jesus.

When Audrey returned from camp, she didn’t simply live off the “camp high” for a few months and then put Jesus on the backburner. She was determined to continue to get to know Him. For the rest of her high school career, Audrey woke up on Sunday mornings and made a 20-minute trek away from her small town in Wisconsin to learn more about what it meant to follow Jesus with her new church community.


When Audrey had paid for her coffee, I had to ask her about her drink order! In my mind, berries, white chocolate, and coffee sounded like an odd mixture. I was suspicious of her Berry White Mocha. So, I asked, “Is that a good drink?”

“No,” Audrey answered, “It’s pink!”

I let out a big laugh. I love this girl.


When Audrey came to the University of Minnesota last fall, she found herself living in Bailey Hall on the St. Paul campus. There, she met Rachel Brown — her new roommate. When Audrey asked her about churches around campus, Rachel took her to Jacob’s Well. Since then, she has joined Rachel’s LifeGroup that meets in Dinkytown.

“[God’s] more on my mind,” Audrey told me. She feels her faith growing in this new Jacob’s Well family, and she feels more than ever that Jesus wants her to use her gifts to help people. One of her dreams is to become a staff member for Mercy Ships when she is a registered nurse.

“It’s a hospital on a ship!” Audrey told me. Instead of staying on land to serve in a hospital, she wants to take her skills to people who don’t have a hospital just down the road.

-Sarah Leitzke