Ten Things I'll Miss About Grad School ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ten Things I'll Miss About Grad School

That's Right, I'm Graduating Getting Out!

On Tuesday I took my last final for the semester, and this morning I missed the rehearsal for my graduation ceremony and spent an hour cruising up and down Kansas City's I-29 and US-71 and I-435 due to subtly deceptive directions. So it looks like things are pretty much on schedule for me to walk out of all this with a Masters degree tomorrow morning.

I'll take this moment to clarify something that people keep asking me about. My degree, the Master of Divinity, is an utterly comprehensive course of study that has prepared me for anything that life can throw at me. It also equips me to explain the sorry state of the world, and, if I feel like it, entitles me to tell you what to do with your life IN A HIGH DECIBEL VOICE! Ha ha!

In reality, it's a three-year theology degree, covering topics like Old & New Testament, Hebrew, Greek, Theology, Leadership, etc.--but to finish it in three years time you'd have to take 15.7 upper-level hours a semester, which would be a sign of mental neurosis, not enhanced intelligence. Just so you know, it took me four years, which means I'm fairly healthy, although a five year plan would have been an even better indicator. I walk tomorrow, but I won't officially graduate until I finish off one summer class, coming up in a week.

My experiences at Midwestern Baptist Seminary have been celebrated and satirized on the blog, and my classes have given me lots of theological brainfood. No educational experience is perfect, and getting my degree has felt like a bare-knuckle fistfight on an uphill, snow-covered road at times, but I'm happy I've invested these years. Therefore, now seems an appropriate time to introduce my latest Top Ten list...

Ten Things I'll Miss About Grad School

  1. The awesome privilege of training my gray cells on the best ology of them all, in my opinion: the study of God himself. That's still a Wow.
  2. Professors who went out of their way to make things work for me--like class schedules and make-up exams.
  3. Professors who responded to my naive questions with humor and patience.
  4. Drinking coffee and talking shop with other guys who like theology. We're kind of a rare breed.
  5. Sitting down in the classroom with the possibility of meeting someone you'll still call a friend ten years down the road.
  6. Writing essays on topics that intrigue me, like C.S. Lewis & the Atonement: Penal or Magical, Final or Gradual?
  7. Meeting pastors and theologians who are worth emulating.
  8. Meeting dead pastors and theologians who are worth emulating.
  9. Getting a bigger picture of the world, the way Jesus is working in it, and the intricate networks of people that I'm privileged to tap into.
  10. Gaining greater insight into my personality and character so I can grow.
  11. Bonus: Getting a vision for doing good, hard things I've never done before.
Of course, there are things I won't miss too, like fluff essays, bubble living, bad books, patronizing lectures, and people who always suspect you're trying to get away with something (I promise, we didn't intentionally have the baby during midterms). Seminary has been rough but good for me, shown me tough love. I don't want to paint too rosy a picture. But ultimately, graduation is a time to consolidate your triumphs, right?

I've worked hard, played hurt, learned a lot, kept my family off the streets, and it's time to celebrate! Aside from the larger cranium, I'm coming out of school with a bunch of friends I would never have otherwise known and a substantially altered vision of the world.

Now it's time to move on into new territory, adopt that "Further up and further in" adage from C.S. Lewis, and get on with our physical-spiritual lives. School is almost out.



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3 comments:

Ched said...

Congrats.

I was one class away from graduating a few weeks ago, but SWBTS doesn't allow you to graduate/walk until you are completely finished.

So, the MDiv continues into the summer.

Trekin4JC said...

I miss college life. I hope to go on for my masters in apologetics one day. I love reading C.S. Lewis! And I miss the essays and research papers of college. I think I just love the academic world.

John B. said...

Ariel,
A belated congratulations to you. Grad school is an even better academic gig than teaching (one reason I'm looking forward to my sabbatical so much is that I'll be reliving grad school).

Anyway. Enjoy. Put your feet up for a bit before grass-cutting season begins in earnest. You've earned it.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife