Blog

Stories from a life in progress.

The state of the thing

Apparently graduate school is pretty hard.

I thought I was going to start posting here regularly, like at least once a week, because connecting with people by writing about stuff is a big part of what I want to do when I grow up.  Instead I keep having to, you know, do school stuff.

All right, at the beginning I was more distracted by excitement.  I get to learn stuff!  I get to work with awesome professors and fellow students!  This is fun!

Graduate school is aaaaaall about the books.

Graduate school is aaaaaall about the books.

I feel like I don't have time to have fun anymore.  It's the middle of week three, and already I feel like I'm running to keep up.  I have significant weekly assignments to complete for multiple classes.  I have two big projects due before the end of the month, neither of which I really know how to crack yet.  I have over 1,000 pages of reading to complete this semester, for JUST ONE CLASS.

I'm learning stuff, good stuff.  How to use pro-level software tools for Bible study, especially in the original languages.  An important clarifying point about the original text of Genesis 2.  How Jesus' authority was made apparent in his verbal teaching, and why it startled his hearers.  The literary structure of the book of Luke.  What a city wall looked like in ancient Israel, how houses were organized, what sorts of daily goods were used.

I'm afraid, though, that I won't be able to pull all of these fascinating, valuable pieces into a coherent whole, because that needs time for reflection and time is what I feel the most short on.  I'm afraid I won't be able to do any of my work up to a standard I'm happy with, because ALL of it is important but I don't have as much time as I'd like to spend with any single piece of it.

My body is giving me undeniable hints of stress, like achiness in places that don't have any right to be achy (a sign that I'm holding unrecognized tension).  I'm getting fixated on details that don't matter, like what I should eat for supper between classes on Tuesday.  This is not important enough to worry about.  I worried about it anyway.

Last night was Convocation, a combination of worship, lecture, and award presentation as the seminary begins a new academic year.  I sang hymns and songs with the campus community, and cried and sang and cried more and I have no idea why, other than maybe a need to release pressure.

I'm not hopeless.  I think I'll figure out how to get things done, and if I'm not always happy about how it goes, that's sort of how life works.  If I need to accept that I can't be a straight-A graduate student, as I mostly managed to be a straight-A college student and a straight-A everything-else student, that's probably a lesson perfectionist-me needs to learn.  If I don't have enough time to reflect on what I read and write and fit all of the pieces together, it will come later.  I'll fit what I can.

I'm a bit of a mess right now, but it's because of this incredible gift: the chance to do something really important to me, something that (despite my current feelings of "Aaaahhhhhhhh") I am enjoying a whole lot.

That's the state of the things for the moment.  I'd better go read something.