Starting Another Seminary Semester

It is that time of year again. For many seminaries, this will be the first week of classes. It is an exciting time for most. For some of you, this will be the first time you step into a seminary classroom. I remember my first class like it was just… six months ago. So, I thought this morning, in honor of the start of a new semester, I’d share some advice.

For First Timers

For all you guys and gals who are just starting out, have a great time. Seminary has its challenges, but keep your eyes on Jesus and it will be amazing (not easy… but amazing). You might meet a few seminarians who want to rain on your parade with the “realities” of seminary… for now, just ignore them. You’ll experience the realities yourself. For now, just soak it all in. Have fun. After my first semester I remember sitting in a chair, talking to a friend and saying, “It was all I hoped it would be and more.” I hope that is what you say at the end of your semester.

For Regulars

For others of us, the start of a new semester is just one more notch on the belt. For all of you, same advice as above. Keep your eyes on Jesus. It is easy in seminary to grow weary and fall into the rut of simply going through the motions. My advice, find one of those bright-eyed newbies and instead of crushing their joy with the harsh reality of exams, papers, and stress, why not just sit down and be reminded of why you came to seminary as you listen to the passion they have for the journey ahead. Don’t be cynical… try to rekindle some of that zeal. End by praying for these new students.

For Finishers

Finally, there are some of you where this semester represents the final leg of your seminary journey. The finish line is in sight. For you, same advice… keep your eyes on Jesus. Yes, you’re almost there. You might be worried about finding a job when you’re finished this semester. You might be just trying to cruise through this semester so that you can finally hold that piece of paper that says you did it. You might be thinking about the next school you’re off to. Whatever the case, don’t forget what all this is about. It is about knowing Jesus and being transformed more into his image. Take a moment and remind yourself why you’ve gone through seminary… why you invest all that time and money. Maybe you need to sit down with one of those new students as well…

For Me

These are just a few thoughts that crossed my mind this morning. As for me, well friends, this weekend I made the decision that I will be sitting this round out. As I’ve mentioned before, things aren’t going as planned around here. I’ve decided that I’ll take one class that meets on Tuesday nights and I’ll try to get a job-e-job. My advice for me… keep your eyes on Jesus…

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Ryan Burns
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  • Good post. Unfortunately because of over-worried state officials we didn’t get to have our first day today—it’s not even raining!

    For those of us that are returning students, in addition to Ryan’s advice, might I add a comment or two—

    Don’t treat new students like the 14 year old awkward freshmans, just walking into the big leagues for the first time. I can’t count how many times last year I had someone who didn’t know me, before even asking my name or barely saying hello, spout out those dreadful words, “Are you a first-year?” I say dreadful because it seemed to me that many of the people I first met were more interested in making sure I knew they had that notch in their belt before they made any attempt at welcoming me into the community. I even had one person tell me I looked like a first-year (btw, I was 5 years older than him)!

    Try and go that extra mile to make someone feel welcome, not out of obligation, but out of a genuine desire to love one another. This especially applies to international students. I regret not doing this more last year. Not only do they have the challenge of the level of work at seminary, but a (sometimes) entirely new culture, and language.

    So, find someone you don’t know and buy them a cup of coffee, sit next to them when they are alone at a lunch table, bring some extra food to share with someone—you might just meet your new best friend. :0)

Written by Ryan Burns