Survival Guide: 2 More Tips After Wrapping Up My Final Year
After my first year of divinity school, I had the opportunity to write for Unfolding. I wracked my brain for all of the wisdom I could muster and presented three points for surviving the first year of divinity school. Now, a seasoned, third year student on the brink of graduation, I find myself reflecting on my journey and think I’d add two more items to my other list.
Find your community.
During my stretch at Wake Div, I’ve spent plenty of time in various circles both within the school and in the larger community. I’ve attended different churches, played all of the intramural sports, and worked in the larger WFU body as a Graduate Hall Director. Through all of those experiences, the thing that sticks out to me is that I’ve gained so much from a diverse community that has supported me and enabled my studies at Wake Div. Wrestling with the divine can be an especially isolating experience. If you don’t believe me, just ask Jacob. Luckily, God provides us with numerous opportunities to engage others throughout this journey. We just have to notice the life-giving spaces and people around us. So, I offer this addendum to my previous post. There are certainly great places to plug in through Wake Div. What’s most important, though, is finding whichever space allows you to truly be yourself.
Talk to your professors.
The fact is simple: Wake Div has a wonderful team of faculty and staff. They are highly trained in their various disciplines and are walking encyclopedias prime for the picking of pesky pupils. That’s just the surface level, though. Many of our professors are also pastoral care all-stars that model the kind of patience and understanding that we hope to give those to whom we minister. So yes, talk to them about class. Ask them about that treatise (hint for beginners: it’s not a little treat) or that author that has you befuddled. And then, talk to them about something completely unrelated that reveals a little of who you are and gives them the chance to be vulnerable, too. Being a divinity student in a place that isn’t home is tricky. Hopefully, you’ll have a pastor at the church you regularly…perhaps occasionally… visit. But, those interactions may not feel quite right. Make time and space to engage the faculty and staff as people. Draw from their wisdom apart from academia. Trust them with those doubts, questions, or situations that you reserve for the closest of caregivers. They care so very deeply about each one of us and will pastor you in their own unique way.
So, there you have it. Five points over three years that can help you survive divinity school. Give these things a try and receive from the spring of life anew while you occupy Wingate Hall. Perhaps, they will enable you to thrive rather than simply survive.
Daniel is from Chapel Hill, NC. He is an ordained CBF minister and enjoys singing, playing sports, and cheering on his beloved Tar Heels.