Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In the home stretch...

It’s 2 am and I can’t sleep, so seeing as my every waking hour is crammed with school stuff, now is as good a time as any to blog!

Of course I won’t be able to post this until later today because the internet connection is down in the residence halls….again. So I’ll have to go over to the student center or library to get online. (yeah, they thought that T1 line they put in four years ago was plenty big enough to handle the wireless needs of a few hundred seminary students….little did they know that people would be downloading full seasons of “Heroes” from iTunes, video chatting on Skype, and playing World of Warcraft all hours of the day and night. Seriously, when do these people get their work done? (so says the one with the Slingbox streaming her cable TV signal from home to her laptop.)

The semester is over next week. I still have two group presentations to do and two papers to write but I feel as if I’m coasting towards the finish line. The presentations are complete for the most part, they just need to be presented; one of the papers will be fairly easy to knock out, and the other will probably have me tearing my hair out over the weekend, but the end is nigh, and I can feel it.

So, how do I think I did? So far so good. In my Pastoral Counseling and Creating Healthy Congregations classes I’ve gotten an A or A- on every paper, and the presentation we did tonight in the PC class went really well. In my Paul class I got an A on the one paper we had to do, and I’m feeling really good about the worship service that my group is presenting tomorrow. The one grade I’m still iffy on is for Systematic Theology. I got a B on the first paper (which I was bummed about at first but then found out from talking to other students that that’s considered a “good grade” for that class and very few get higher then that….geesh!). I’m still waiting to get back my 2nd paper, and the 3rd is due next week, so the final grade for this class is a giant question mark right now.

I wish I didn’t have to care about grades. And as I’ve heard ad nauseum since I got here: “churches don’t look at your seminary grades when they’re thinking about hiring you, so relax,” but unfortunately I can’t. I have to maintain a 3.5 GPA to keep my scholarship, so those B’s have me bumming while other people are humming. (that’s a little rhyme there, did you catch that? Give me a break it’s 2 am).

The reason why I’m bumming even more is that at the beginning of the semester I had the choice of taking one class Pass/Fail and I chose the Paul class given that we were being graded on only one paper and one presentation (you tank on one and you’re sunk).
Now it looks like I would have gotten an A in that class. Crap.

The big surprise for me this semester is how much I’ve been enjoying doing the group projects. I pretty much took the reigns on all three of them, as everyone liked my suggestions during the brainstorming sessions, I ended up designing/organizing and formatting each presentation, and kept everyone on the same page via emails. Don’t get me wrong, everyone did their fair share of the work, and added onto the ideas that I came up with, and given that most of my fellow students are working and/or have families to tend to outside of seminary I’m sure they were happy to hand off all the organizing work to the poor schmuck (me) who seemed eager to do it. But hey, it was fun being the schmuck. It felt good to come up with an idea, envision how it might play out, put it all down on paper and have people say: “this is great! Let’s do this!”

I especially enjoyed designing the worship service for the Paul class. They even let me do the bulletin (I know….schmuck) but I love doing creative stuff like that, choosing a format, picking the fonts, making a logo for the front cover, making it look all nice and professional…
Hmmm…I’m sensing that I’ve discovered that I like being in control.
The good thing is that I don’t feel like I NEED to be in control. I came up with the framework for the presentations but everyone was free to do what they wanted with their parts. And even though I designed the worship service I was happy to let someone else write and perform the sermon (a woman who I just found out today has only preached once in her life and has yet to take a preaching class…this should be interesting!)

My fear coming into seminary was that I would be the mousy one who would sit back and let everyone else take control and hold back on making suggestions out of fear of having them rejected. So it has surprised me not only that I enjoy the creative process so much, but that I have been so forward with offering suggestions, and so organized when it came to presenting them in a format that everyone could understand and then being the proactive one keeping everyone updated and on the ball.
I used to dread these class presentations when I was kid. Now I’m so excited about how well tonight’s presentation went and I’m so looking forward to tomorrow’s service that I can’t sleep.

In tonight’s class we did a presentation on Death and Resurrection and I played the role of a pastor presiding over a funeral/memorial service while the others were the voices of the grieving and the deceased. We did a communion ritual at the end to symbolize renewal and rebirth and after we finished my professor came up to me and asked, “Are you a pastor?” When I said no, her eyebrows shot up and she said “well you certainly act like one – you preside very well!”

You know, when you make the decision to turn your life upside down and dump a ton of money into following one particular path, words can’t express how good it feels to hear someone who has been on that path for many years tell you that you’ve made the right choice.

Suddenly those B’s don’t seem all that important anymore. ;-)


Cynthia said...

Good for you!!

Marie said...

"You know, when you make the decision to turn your life upside down and dump a ton of money into following one particular path, words can’t express how good it feels to hear someone who has been on that path for many years tell you that you’ve made the right choice." Amen, sister!

eileen said...