Ok, now that I've gotten my apartment set up, agonized over being separated from my SO, had my first "oh-my-God!" moment when I saw the syllabuses for my classes, and dealt with a few new-student jitters, I can honestly say....I freakin' LOVE this place!
Yesterday was the first day of orientation, and they had us running from 8am through 8pm with activities - opening worship; faculty introductions; info sessions on field ed, the computer system, spiritual life, and financial aid; we met with our program advisers, our faculty advisers, had a tour of the campus and the library, met with our spiritual formation groups, which we'll continue to meet with during the year, had an all-school picnic, and finished up the night with an impromptu campfire sing-a-long complete with guitar & banjo, s'mores, and a rousing rendition of Kumbaya. The campus is beautiful. It's on a wooded hill-top with lots of great, old buildings, and as I sat last night watching the flames popping in the fire pit and listening to the crickets alongside the strumming guitar, I was so glad that I chose to come here rather than NYC. I've already made a ton of new friends, gotten lots of advice on what classes to take, and been invited to join study groups.
The whole day was energizing. The faculty is amazing. As they spoke it was obvious that every single one of them is extremely passionate about teaching; they were all so down-to-earth and funny, yet brilliant and inspiring. Despite their revered reputations in the academic world they all seem so approachable and are truly invested in their students lives. The problem is, now I want to take ALL of their classes! ;-)
But the crowning moment came when the President of the seminary spoke about the history of the school (as the oldest graduate seminary in the country) and it's reputation for innovation, social justice, and counter-culture thought. "We welcome those of you who are counter-culture and encourage you to be true to yourselves," he said. "We've had some pretty freaky people come here, and we wouldn't have it any other way."
Anytime the president of a seminary uses the word "freaky" - in a postive way - you know you're in a special place.
I have never been more certain that I am were I need to be.