Friday, January 9, 2015

Keys For Success In Seminary

My friend Mark Hassler, who serves at The Master's Seminary in California, uploaded a handout to Academia's page today entitled "Keys to Academic Success for Seminarians." You can view it here, though you might have to be a member to view (I can't remember). Here are the keys he gives:
1. Remember your objectives. 
2. Establish your priorities. 
3. Set your schedule. 
4. Discover your learning styles. 
5. Refine your research techniques. 
6. Hone your argumentation skills. 
7. Enhance your writing style. 
8. Fulfill your course assignments. 
9. Build your personal library. 
Let me just comment very briefly on his third point and share a little more about what he says. Mark says students should have a master schedule and anticipate busy weeks. He reminds us not to procrastinate. He tells us to look where we can save time, even if it's just five minutes. Time is valuable y'all. It really is. Seminary students have to remember that seminary is not something that fits into your world no matter what your world already looks like. Just like anything else we do in life, if you're adding it into your schedule, you have to anticipate being busier than you already are, or you have to readjust your schedule. Get prepared in seminary for life to happen every single week! It never fails. Not a week is going to go by where something you didn't anticipate doesn't pop up. It will, I promise you. And so you have to be prepared. How do you prepare for something you don't know is going to come up? Great question. It means you have to maximize your time every second you get and work ahead as often as possible.

They go without saying, but can I add just a few more?
1. Pray, and pray often. 
2. Live sacrificially while you're in seminary, don't postpone it for when your seminary training is all done. 
3. Think of your professors like Christ thinks about them. 
4. Think of your classmates like Christ thinks about them. 
5. Let an upperclassman pour into your life. 
6. Ask your friends to proofread your papers, and proofread those of your classmates. 
7. Encourage someone every single day. 
8. Ask the Lord to fill you with his joy. 
9. Think about the people around the world who would give anything for the opportunity you have to study where you're studying. 
10. Use your library! And set up a training meeting with your librarian. 
11. Explain the gospel to people who don't know Jesus everywhere you are, all the time, to everyone. 
12. Go on a mission trip. It's possible you can lose your focus or your steam while you're studying (you shouldn't, but it's possible). Going on a mission trip helps people come to know the Lord and it puts you in a place to saturate your mind and heart with what matters most. 
13. Learn how to be a better reader. Mine texts for what matters and move quickly through the fluff. 
14. Ask your professors to go grab a coffee or bite to eat. 
15. Keep a journal. Write your heart out. I go back and read the things I wrote and boy does God use it in my life. I remember how things felt. I see how much God's grown me. And I get to see just how faithful the Lord is.
Alright, there's fifteen more. Can y'all think of any?

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