Saturday, October 2, 2021

First Meeting with Seminary Faculty Advisor

Yesterday I had my first meeting as a seminary student with my faculty advisor.  Before the meeting, I was happy to discover that I had been assigned to the director of the Theology and the Arts track, who is also the director of the Luce Center for Theology and the Arts, which sounds like one of my dream jobs.

Our meeting didn't last long, but it was wonderful.  It was a meeting where we were supposed to talk about my progress and my form that I filled out, the form that mapped out my future semesters and which course I would take.  My advisor and I agreed that it's really tough to make that plan right now.  There are so many questions.  Where will we be in the course of this disease?  Will there be courses on campus?  Will there be on-campus housing?  Will I still be employed?

I said, "Part of me thinks that this may be my last full-time job with health insurance, so maybe I shouldn't give it up."  My advisor told me that his wife is an Episcopalian priest who has just taken a job in Maine, and that's given them a chance to compare health insurance plans.  We talked a bit about what we might all accomplish if we didn't have to consider basic health care/health insurance and how we would provide for it.

My plan for the near future, next semester, is to take the second half of the classes that I'm taking now.  They're basic classes, the building blocks for future classes, and happily, they are ones that work well online.  My advisor finds himself wrestling with that question of which classes really need to be in person and which ones can be adapted.

As we closed, my advisor reminded me that he's there to be an advocate for me, if there's ever anything for which I need that kind of support.  Or that if I'm ever confused about requirements, I should come to him.  I said that I'd keep in touch with him by way of e-mail to let him know that I was making progress.  He smiled and said, "You gotta love mature students.  They understand the benefits of staying in touch."

I also realize how lucky I am, that I've always had advisors who wanted the best for me, without any of the creepiness that can develop.  And I feel lucky now, with my current advisor.  At a later point, I'll have more questions that I'll need help with.

And perhaps I'll continue to have the kinds of questions that are more on me to decide.  How fast should I be progressing?  Do I move to DC full time or think about the hybrid options?  I like the idea of reporting to campus for long week-ends periodically, but my heart really yearns to be part of the seminary community.  Of course, at this point, the seminary community isn't what it was before, with more of us feeling safer about online classes.  

So yes, I have lots of the sorts of questions that cannot be answered right now.  I am learning to live with the mystery, to live with the knowledge that has always been true, but in pre-Covid times, many of us could pretend otherwise.  Our lives will have all sorts of twists and turns, and while we can have long-term plans and goals, they are likely to be upended, and we'll have to pivot.

And for most of us, there are all sorts of ways to pivot, if we remain nimble and open to the possibilities.

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