Back to School thoughts from Dr. Alvin Reid

Over the past couple of weeks at his personal blog, Dr. Alvin Reid shared a series of three posts, each relating to different groups who will be starting a new semester at Southeastern: Seminary Students, College Students, and Seminary Professors.

In his first post, he shared eight suggestions for eager new seminarians:

I remember a cold, windy day in January, 1982. My wife Michelle and I arrived in Fort Worth as newlyweds with everything we owned in a small U Haul trailer. We moved into our little one bedroom, furnished apartment with little materially but great dreams spiritually. I hobbled on crutches from a knee operation. We were broke, but we were called, and that was enough.

 

That was 35 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday. If you are a brand new seminarian, I have a few things I hope will encourage you to help you for the next few decades.

 

Next, Dr. Reid wrote to college students, exhorting them to not waste their (college) life.

Last week I wrote a post to encourage new seminarians as they begin their journey. I had some friends ask me to do something similar for incoming college freshmen, so here you go. NOTE: This is written first to our new students at The College at Southeastern, and then to any student starting out at an evangelical school. These generally would apply to a student starting at a state school as well, but I added a final point for these students.

 

This fall I teach an evangelism class in our college. I’m also speaking several days at Oklahoma Baptist University and at William Carey College, and I’ve had the joy of speaking at many Christian colleges over the years. I love the excitement (and to some extent, the apprehension) of college freshman. I saw a study a few years ago that said the loneliest people in America are college freshmen. I want to encourage you and push you to think of ways to enjoy college while not wasting these valuable years.

 

Finally, Dr. Reid shared a post with a simple prayer for seminary professors.

In our Southern Baptist Convention we have developed a fellowship of professors who teach evangelism as all or part of their role in academia. My friend Tom Johnston at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has been instrumental in this group’s growth and connectivity. This year I’m blessed to serve as president of the group, known as SBC Evangelism Profs.

 

I sent an email to all the professors the other day. I included a prayer I will be praying for them and for me as we go through this academic year. While applied to evangelism profs, I think it’s appropriate for faculty at any confessional school committed to the great commission. It’s simple, like me. Perhaps it will encourage you.

Studenthood and Time Management

By: Jayson Rowe

Editor’s Note: Jayson is the editor of Between the Times, works in the Information Technology department at SEBTS, is a graduate of the College at Southeastern, and is currently pursuing his M.Div at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 2014, at 34 years old, and after over a dozen years into a career, I came back to school to prepare for ministry.

I will candidly admit, I occasionally look back at my previous normal life and I’m a bit jealous of all the free time I once had. Nevertheless, being a seminary student truly is a calling. Because I am following God’s will I am genuinely happy—yet, that doesn’t make me any less busy.

Students here at Southeastern come from many walks of life, and are in many different stages of life, but we have one thing in common—we all have a lot to do. We have school responsibilities, family responsibilities, church responsibilities and most have work responsibilities.

Thankfully, in my time at Southeastern I’ve never been late on an assignment and, in fact, I’m usually finished with things early. This is pretty astonishing, as I have historically not been a very organized person, and could have even been considered a procrastinator most of my life.

I wanted to share some best practices I have learned since returning to studenthood which have helped me personally manage my time as a student.

Know how much time you have:

Before anything else, you must take into account any obligations you have outside of school. Know how much time you will be able to devote to school work every day. Have realistic expectations of how many credit hours you can take each semester. You may be sure of your abilities, but at some point, you will be at the point of no return, or as Dr. Benjamin Quinn likes to say, it’ll be “that time of the semester” and you have no choice to but to dig in and get it done.

Plan your semester:

As soon as you get your syllabuses (and it is syllabuses and not syllabi. You can verify this with Dr. Bruce Ashford) plan out your semester. Make note of any weekly assignments (quizzes, reflection papers), any exams, any book reviews, and any papers or research projects. For any long papers or major research projects, give yourself a due date that is 2 weeks early. This will give you time to not be under pressure, and to have plenty of time to take your work to The Writing Center for feedback, edit well, and turn in polished work.

Know your speed:

For weekly reading, understand your personal reading speed, and know how many pages per day you need to read to complete all assigned reading for the week. Likewise, know your writing speed, and understand how your reading speed relates as you do research for writing. Always over-estimate how long it will take you to do something, and don’t procrastinate.

Work diligently:

It is not helpful to know your reading and writing speed if you are not working to full capacity. When you are on, be on. If you have three hours per day to devote to school work, turn off all distractions and give yourself up to that task fully for three hours.

Rest often:

Try to have one day of rest each week. I have tried to maintain Sunday as a day free of schoolwork. I can’t say I’ve been successful for every Sunday over the past three years, but most have been free from school work. It’s important to have a balance. Remember the first step, and try to make sure you are able to get things done in the amount of time you have budgeted for school work. Time is constant—we all only have 24 hours in each day, and you have to budget time just like money.

In closing, remember this: It is okay to get a ‘B’ in Church History if that keeps you from dropping below an ‘A’ in Family. It’s okay to get a ‘B’ in Theology if it keeps you from dropping below an ‘A’ in your personal devotional life.

Finally, let your school work reflect 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17—do everything with a worshipful heart.