Like January 1 of a New Year’s resolution, the first week of class includes good intentions, ambitious goals, and great planning. Unfortunately, the second week of class tends to hit as hard and fast as January 15. Now, the greens in the fridge are ready to be thrown out and the gym clothes have been pushed to the back of the closet. Instead, the frozen pizza bakes in the oven and running into work leaves you breathless. The second week of class includes more skimming than reading, more procrastinating than productivity, and more cramming than sleeping.
These second-week habits are the frozen pizza of seminary. Instead of doing our best to learn and glorify God with our studies, we do enough to get by…to survive. Instead of sitting down to savor something nutritious, we eat a lukewarm frozen pizza while we fold laundry, talk on the phone, and watch TV.
Students are remarkably chipper the first week of class, taking time to talk to one another. By the second week, talk is rushed and focused. Now, anxiety begins to loom and moods change. Once prompt, well-dressed students are flying in at the last minute, disheveled.
I could list a whole host of things to prevent these cycles, but they still always seem to happen. By the end of each semester, my classmates and I always look at each other and resolve, “we are NOT doing this next semester.” Yet, we always do…
I’m not advocating poor study habits nor would I suggest that better study habits are a lost cause; however, I do think there’s freedom in accepting our imperfections sometimes. If most nights we sit down to eat a salad or at least have a vegetable with our meal, why not forgive ourselves for the frozen pizza nights as well? Similarly, school is full of many victories, but it’s also full of many self-inflicted late nights, surprise quizzes, and caffeine-induced headaches. Instead of dreading the semester, knowing these things are coming, I’m ready to laugh between breaks… not just during them.