Thursday, August 26, 2021

A First Look at Seminary Classes

This fall, I return to school as a student.  I'll be an MDiv student at Wesley Theological Seminary.  Although classes don't officially start until next week, students get access to the course shells in advance, and I've been trying to take advantage of that.

I decided to keep a copy of the syllabus separate from the course shell, just in case I can't access it at some point (power failure, system being upgraded, that kind of thing).  And in light of the total technology failure at work, I also printed a copy.

Yesterday, I started downloading course materials for the same reasons.  But I won't print all of them, at least not yet.

The most important thing I've been doing is thinking about the course requirements:  the readings, the discussion posts, the essays.  I'm intrigued at my responses to the course requirements.  Once I got the textbooks for the classes, I wasn't as worried about the readings.  And I have continued to write in a variety of ways in the years since I graduated from college, so I'm not worried about that.

I am relieved that the course papers don't seem to require access to a research library, but I'm also relieved that the Wesley library will ship books to me, at least according to the new student orientation course materials.

In fact, what's strange for me is that I'm looking at the page requirements and worrying about my ability to be concise.  When I was in grad school for my advanced degrees in English, I fretted the other direction:  how would I ever write 10-20 pages?  Now I think, hmm, only 4 pages required?  Can I really develop these ideas in just 4 pages?

I feel fortunate that I've been writing daily during all the years between undergraduate classes and now.  Not everyone will have that part come so naturally to them.

One of my classes, the Hebrew Bible class, has a map quiz the first week of class.  My immediate reaction was panic, but then I reminded myself that I have plenty of time to study, that I have study aids, and that I'm allowed to use those during the quiz.  It's doable!

"It's doable!" was my reaction to many aspects of my classes.  I haven't been real sure what to expect so finding out that it's doable is a relief.  I won't let myself think about how many of the pieces of my life need to stay stable for this to be doable.  They are likely to remain stable, and if something happens (sickness, internet access, computer crash), I know how to pivot.

Decades of teaching means that I know how to be a good student.  I will be a good student.

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