The start of graduate school: a new chapter

I start graduate school this week. A little over three years ago, when I graduated from college, I always knew that I would be back. If you had asked me at the time, I probably wouldn’t have expected it to take three years. But things come up, and life never quite seems to go as we would have planned.

I’m very excited to be going to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School which is a part of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. It is a school that has produced a number of scholars and teachers for whom I have the highest degree of respect.

For this first semester, I will be taking classes at an extension site in Columbus where full time faculty travel down to Columbus to teach their classes on the weekends. If everything works out, however, I will be taking classes in Illinois this fall.

It is going to be a lot of work (and A LOT of reading), but I look forward to the results of my education through their Master of Divinity program. Not to sound like a broken record, but if everything goes to plan, one thing that I’ve had an interest in pursuing is military chaplaincy. Beginning in the summer of 2008, I began having conversations about that line of work, and one of the requisite criteria to be a chaplain is graduate work. Long term, I would like to further my education after receiving my masters and earn a Masters in Theology. At many schools, in order to earn a theology masters, a person must first posses an MDiv.

Last spring, I had the opportunity to go back to school, but after a significant amount of time, I decided that it was not the right time, the right school, or the right degree program that I would have been pursuing. I really wanted to go back to school last year, but I just knew that it would have been a mistake.

This year, I truly believe that I am making the right decision for me.

Since the summer vacation which preceded my sophomore year of college, I was always in an internal tug of war about that which was best to pursue for graduate school. I loved philosophy, but I also loved being involved in a fraternity and as a part of the overarching Greek community at Bowling Green. As a result of the latter, student affairs and higher education administration was always very appealing to me. So many great friends of mine from college went down that same road, that for many, it was probably what would have been expected of me. While I think that I would have enjoyed student affairs, long term, I don’t think that it was ever really for me.

I have always enjoyed the philosophical aspect of theology. So between the two, I stood at a crossroads.

I would like to think that this is what I was meant to do all along. I had other things I’ve attempted since graduation and faced huge disappointments.

I was reading a book on statistics recently (because I’m so cool), and it talked about writers who face rejection. Some of the most prolific writers in the history of the English language faced an early career that was fraught with setbacks and disappointments. And it’s like this in many other pursuits as well. And the biggest difference between those who succeed and those who don’t isn’t necessarily that the eventually successful people are so much better than other people. It’s just that the people who are successful never quit trying.

The road to get to where I am was challenging, but had I not traveled it, I would have a diminished perspective than if I had simply gone straight into graduate school.

So the next few years are going to be busy with intensive academic study. I can’t wait.