What does life look like post graduation from graduate school? I am about to find out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Time Goes By So Slowly

Hello, friends. Just to give everybody a quick update.
Spring Semester starts tomorrow and I am anxiously awaiting the start of another semester of classes. I'm really looking forward to the next batch of classes I'm taking and so am eager to get started on that front.
My Hebrew intensive class ended on Thursday and I am happy to announce that it went really well as I ended up making an A+ in it. I am so proud of myself and that A was well-earned, believe me. Just the shot of confidence I needed and gives me hope that this next semester will go exceedingly well for me. I enjoyed studying Hebrew but am also glad to be done with it. I'm considering taking some intermediate level classes but not for another year or so. For now, I am proud to be a survivor of a six-hour a day, 5 days a week class. You wanna talk about a grind, that was a grind.
Anyway, since class ended on Thursday, I've found myself with an unexpected but very welcome empty schedule. These last three days have been very peaceful and slow as I have had no homework to do, no tests to study for, no papers to write and it has just been really nice to have a slow-down before the onslaught of Spring Semester starts. I did some volunteering on Friday night with the local homeless shelter and I plan to make that more of a priority this next semester as it is so important to me and my ministry. I went into San Francisco on Saturday with a classmate and we had such a great day walking around the city and having a picnic and getting coffee. We even took in a movie (My Week with Marilyn: fabulous and a must See!!) and got our haircut. I now have a great new look to start the new semester with!! All in all, its been a great weekend and I now feel rested and relaxed and ready to start the Spring Semester.
Here's my class schedule for the next three months for those who are interested in knowing all those kind of details:
Old Testament Exegesis - Monday, Thursday 8:30 - 10
Systematic Theology I - Monday, Thursday 10:20 - 11:50
Intro to Ministry II - Monday 1:30 - 4:30
Seminary Singers - Monday 5:15 - 6:45
Sexuality and Pastoral Care - Tuesday 2 - 5
Old Testament Prophets - Thursday 2 - 5
Plus, I'm doing an online class focusing on Japanese Religions. So, ya, too much? Well, only time will tell. I only have class three days a week which is nice and makes up for the fact that I have way too many classes. I sure am looking forward to them all, I can tell you that.
I hope everyone has been having a great month. I know I sure have. I've gotten back into doing my yoga and have been working out every day plus learning to play the guitar, learning how to read treble clef and even taking time to read for pleasure!! Busy month, you bet so and I wouldn't have had it any other way! Here's hoping I can keep these habits up with the dawn of an extremely busy semester. Playing guitar is a life-long dream of mine and so I intend to keep at that one. Just think, someday, I could finally accomplish my dream of becoming a country singer!! Taylor Swift, eat your heart out!!
In all seriousness, I am going to close this off for tonight. Here's hoping everyone has been having a great month and may it continue to be that way. 2012 is shaping up to be my best year yet and I sure hope it continues!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One Orc at a Time

Hello all,
Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that I am indeed still alive and safely back at school. The month of January here is pretty busy as I am enrolled in an intensive, three-week Hebrew study in which we spend 6 hours a day five days a week in Hebrew class. It's intended to get us through the entire second semester of Hebrew in three weeks so needless to say, it's super intense. Spending six hours a day in class is not the easiest, let me tell you. Fortunately, at least for me the language is proving to not be that big a challenge and I have found myself doing really well on everything so far and managing to keep up with the class assignments. The coolest part is that we have actually started reading passages out of the Hebrew Bible and translating them into English. It's really awesome that we are already able to do that. It's been really neat to read the Bible in its original language as we then spend time discussing why various versions translate certain words the way they do. It's also been interesting to see how the original Hebrew is not always the most precise or cleaned up. The original Hebrew can be very hard to follow and at times very frustrating to try and translate. It's been a good exercise though and the original reason why I wanted to take the language.
After spending six hours in class, you can imagine that I am not really doing much else. My brain is so dead by the time I get done that all I can do the rest of the day is just hang out in my bed and watch a movie or something. While I personally enjoy learning a language in an intensive setting like this, I also acknowledge that it can be very draining. I can only imagine what some of my classmates are feeling right about now. I tend to pick up languages pretty easily so I'm managing just fine but I really feel for those people in my class who have a more difficult time learning them. The intensive language setting is not the best setting for everyone so I really do understand their concerns there. I personally prefer it because of how my brain works but I can see how others would not enjoy it as much. Plus, I like the fact that it's my only class right now so I can focus all of my time on Hebrew unlike last semester where I had to devote time to my other classes as well so Hebrew sometimes got pushed aside. Being able to focus on one class is nice for a change. Personally, I think we are going a little bit slower than I would like but as I've said since the beginning, if going slow means I make an A, then I will gladly take going slow!!
As for everything else, it's been going well. Christmas was okay but I was so ready to get back to school and my friends here. One thing that being back in Texas made me realize was just how few friends I really have there anymore. I spent most of my time there being really bored as I have so few friends around anymore. I did manage to see some people but for the most part, I was at home by myself watching three or four movies a day!! Don't get me wrong, it was nice to have some lazy days on the couch but it would have been nice to have seen more people and have had more plans. Oh well, maybe the next time I come back (although I don't know when that will be as I don't have any trips scheduled anytime soon).
The main thing I've been struggling with since being back is trying to rein in my inner competitiveness/overachieving perfectionist tendencies. I made really good grades last semester (some of the best I've ever made in my entire academic career) yet I'm having trouble being proud of them because I know a) that I could have done better and b(that so many of my classmates did do better than me so I find myself in a real quandary here. How do I appreciate what I have (some outstanding grades and a really great GPA, especially for my first semester of graduate school) without being upset with myself for not doing as well as other people? This is something I've really been wrestling with and haven't really figured out yet. I guess I just need to pray for some guidance and some inner peace. I did achieve my goal of making at least a 3.0 GPA and I didn't flunk out so in that sense, I'm a success. Why, then, do I feel like the "village idiot"? Why can't I be happy for myself and be proud of myself for how I did? There are times when my competitiveness/perfectionism can be a huge asset but this is not one of those times. What is preventing me from being happy for myself? Something I think I'm really going to need to work on. I need to start accepting the fact that there will always be someone better than me at everything I do but that doesn't mean that I didn't do my best. There is absolutely no reason why I can't be appreciative for others along with myself.
Anyway, I will close this off. I don't have class tomorrow since it's a holiday but since I have a mid-term on Tuesday, I will be spending tomorrow studying as I am determined to make an A in Hebrew this term!! Our professor is great, at least, and keeps class interesting and fun. She's also a big Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings nerd so we get along just fine because of that. She constantly makes Potter or Rings references in class and I can't help but nod along and smile and then wonder about the people who aren't getting those references. Her best advice to us this entire semester in regards to Hebrew is "just take it one Orc at a time". I think that's pretty good advice for life actually so that's what I am going to leave you with today. "Take it one orc at a time."