Category Archives: higher education

in 2010, i decided to go back to school. these are the adventures that followed.

perspective

tonight I occupied a time and space that I haven’t occupied in at least three and a half years.

I am sort of at a loss.

I didn’t go to class tonight. instead, I took a drive. I ended up where I began, a block from my first Seattle apartment. my feet dangled over the ledge at Kerry Park, and I could see my breath in the chill night air. but most importantly I could see the lights of the city lit up against the dark sky, and I watched the ferry boat glide across Puget Sound.

I made a choice. I am here. I am whole, named and known. and I have come so far. this space that I am in is not me.

and so, I am left with questions. why now? how did I get here? I imagine it was not one moment but rather the compromising of many moments that got me here, to the one that finally did me in. how can I avoid this place in the future?

unfortunately, these questions remain unanswered for now. I await the moment I find the ability to breathe regularly again, when I can search for these answers with the benefit of hindsight, and with the freedom of a long weekend.

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it’s the little things

life is good. i have no complaints whatsoever.

that doesn’t always mean that i am successful at getting out of bed at a decent hour, getting all of my work done, or completing some of life’s basic tasks, such as making sure i have food to eat and my laundry is put away.

today, however, is different.

today, i feel like an adult.

why? you ask…

because today, my bed is made. my room is clean. my laundry is put away. it is 10am and i have managed to shower, go to work, go to the grocery store, and complete an assignment for school. i am on a roll.

don’t worry, it wont last. (see this blog for amusement, and the story of my life)

i am living at the most full version of myself when i don’t have the freedom to do whatever i want. i need boundaries, schedules, tasks, to maintain my sanity. (flashbacks to THEO 6030 and Bonhoeffer here) my point is, this quarter is shaping up to be a busy, fulfilling, live-giving quarter, and i am super excited. i don’t always feel like i have it together. more often than not, i am happy if i am surviving. today i am thriving, and i will rejoice in that.

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seminary – year one

yes, i know. i’m not just in seminary. to say seminary leaves out the part of what i am doing that is actually preparing me for my career. too bad. my first year of graduate school i was only formally admitted to the seminary program, so that is what it was for me, despite taking three Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) classes throughout the year.

so my first year is done. it is time to gear up for the next. the first year was so intense that i effectively checked out sometime in late April, early May. to be honest, there are so many things that i could have done better. i slacked off on my reading (sometimes A LOT). i put off papers until the last minute. i didn’t get straight A’s.

if there is one thing that i did well, it is that i fully experienced every moment i could of my first year of seminary. through everything from class meeting, to the first annual Truth Bomb Thanksgiving, or classroom discussions about the person and work of Christ. despite the fact that i may not have done all my reading, i wrestled through the material, and i walked away changed.

year two will in some ways be easier, but in many ways be more of a challenge. it is starting to get real. i am fully admitted to the MFT program, which is what i actually want to be doing with my life. i will have to actually start counseling people. much more is at stake now.

my goals this year are to be more disciplined – to do more of the reading, and to be better about staying on top of work before it becomes too late. i also hope to maintain my sanity by being able to balance the friendships that are important to me and give me life with the things that are required of me.

so, here we go… year two.

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class meeting

part of my first year seminary experience has been participation in something called a “class meeting.” it is sort of modeled after the Wesleyan band meeting, but our groups are not gender exclusive, and have a couple other minor changes.

our class meeting consisted of four first-year students, one second-year student, and one faculty member. we have met once a week all year. there have been two main components of our class meeting: to check in with one another on the state of our souls (this usually manifested itself in each person sharing something about how God had worked in their life during the week), and alms-giving. class meeting was NOT bible study, prayer group, or a book group.

today was our last meeting of the year with all six of us present. throughout the year i have had moments of reflection and appreciation for the presence of this group in my life for this first year of seminary, but today i thought i’d write it down.

being a part of this group was invaluable this year. one of the biggest things that i learned from this group of people is about how i articulate my story to others. somewhere in the middle of winter quarter, one of my classmates called me out. he noted that i had shared my entire time without ever using the word God. and he asked me to speak specifically about how God played a role in what i was sharing. i was censoring God. i used language that was safe, language that would be sure not to offend, and language that didn’t do justice to the power of God in my life.

since then, i have paid more attention to how i communicate what God is doing in my life, and i have learned to recognize things as God rather than coincidence. and i have learned to ask better questions.

this group of people has been vulnerable together, we have laughed together, we have thrown our hands up in the air together, we have grieved together, and we have prayed together. i don’t think i ever would have thought that this kind of group would have been beneficial – i mean, i had never heard of a small group that didn’t study the bible or wasn’t one of these newfangled “affinity groups”.

i am here to tell you, friends, that there is something to this idea of a class meeting or band meeting. it appears that i get to do it again next year, and i hope that it becomes an indispensable part of my discipleship in the future.

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geeking out

i haven’t posted a blog in a while. here’s a quick update about my life before i dive into my topic:

i spent the summer taking french, and had so much fun. if all the classes at UW were as fun as my french class was, i’d transfer. all you folks who made it as fun as it was, you know who you are. 🙂

in september, i started nannying a few hours a week for a family with two boys who are 6 and 9 years old. i love nannying, because it helps me to reclaim my youth in ways that i wouldn’t be able to otherwise. these boys are quite in touch with their boy-nature, and we spend the small amount of time we have together playing football, soccer, basketball, video games, and anything else we find time for. today, the oldest boy taught me how to throw fade and post routes. needless to say, these kids open me up to a brand of fun i haven’t experienced in a while.

now that it is october, i’m halfway through fall quarter of my senior year. the major that i designed has finally been approved, and i will be graduating in the spring. PRAISE GOD. and thus begins the transition into the topic at hand.

now that i can see the end in sight, and my real goal of graduate school on the horizon, i’ve noticed myself geeking out a bit more on the things i find super interesting. namely, television. how do i geek out on television, you ask? because i want to go into counseling psychology, there are certain shows that most people would classify as “guilty pleasures” that i enjoy watching, solely for the psychological fascination that it brings me. here’s a list of the shows i’ve been enjoying lately, for the way they make me think:

dexter
real housewives of beverly hills
paranormal state
sister wives
celebrity rehab
jersey shore (yeah, i said it. judge me)

again, aside from dexter, i don’t watch these shows for the quality content. half the time i’m watching and my mouth is hanging open in shock at the behavior of the people onscreen (especially the reality shows). but i find it fascinating. call me a psychology nerd. i’ll own it.

p.s. what’s the real reason i’m writing a blog post? procrastinating on a homework assignment. duh. 😉

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winter quarter in review

it has been almost two months since my last post. some of you might be wondering where the hell i’ve been. let me tell you, so am i.

i have had essentially five classes this quarter, all theology, and have thus dropped off the map for a bit. particularly the last two-three weeks i have been somewhat of a phantom. today, i am allowing myself a semi-sabbath. i have been powering through 30 pages worth of papers before finals next week, and I’m on my last one that’s due monday. it’s time for a mental health break.

this semi-sabbath is also needed for another reason. there is a particular opportunity that has been presented to me that is a pretty big deal. i will refrain from sharing the details just yet, as there are still many to be worked out and i haven’t actually committed to it. let’s just say it would be a giant leap out of my comfort zone, and the opportunity to practice a lot of what i preach. in the next few days i will be doing a lot of praying and reflecting on this choice.

to give you an idea of some of the things that have been on my mind this quarter, here is a summation of my activities and books read:
– With Justice For All, John Perkins
– Good News and Good Works, Ronald J. Sider
– visiting with Chris Hoke and Tierra Nueva ministries in Burlington WA
– a paper articulating my philosophy of ministry (which might end up posted on here)
– books of the Bible read (not necessarily every verse, but large chunks): Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 and 2 Kings, Joshua, Judges, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Psalms, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Revelation.
– The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann
– The Dangerous Act of Worship, Mark Labberton
– visited a Buddhist meditation center
– paper comparing and contrasting the theology of God in Christianity and Islam
– exegesis of Isaiah 58, and corresponding paper about the relationship between worship and justice/ministry
– celebrated the jewish feasts of passover, sukkoth, purim, hanukkah, sabbath, yom kippur, shavuoth, and rosh hashanah.

as you can see, it has been a busy quarter. and that’s just school. i’m looking forward to moving on from this quarter, going to haiti in about a month, and summer vacation.

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SPU: Week 1 (Humility)

1 week down.
9 to go.
(this quarter at least)

so i’ve officially finished my first week of college, round 2. mostly, i feel awesome. i walk across campus and breathe in the air and it just feels right.

but i also feel insecure and judgmental. and that’s me being brutally honest. i find myself feeling like i am not as awesome as i thought i was, and that everyone is secretly wondering what the hell i’m doing there. i also find myself making judgments about other people in the class, thinking awful things before they think them about me.

so to sum it up, i know that God is good, and i’m right where he wants me. but i’m working on living like i know that.

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