from Dave Black of SEBTS. On Friday, August 5th at 12:06 PM he wrote the following on his blog:
I know of several students who are beginning their seminary studies this fall. Believe me, your first semester is likely to be your most challenging. So, for what they are worth, here are seven tips for those just starting seminary:
1) Be prepared to work and to work hard. Seminary is usually harder than college. Much harder. The expectations are high, and the requirements heavy. So be prepared to learn self-discipline and good study habits as well as theology and missions.
2) Consider a reduced class load for your first semester. That is, instead of taking 15 hours, take 12 (or even 9). Allow yourself some time to get over the initial hump of adjusting to graduate studies. Four classes will keep you plenty busy.
3) Buy a day planner and use it. Don’t ever wing it, schedule-wise. Be sure to write out your weekly assignments for each course you are taking, and then review your schedule frequently to make sure nothing is slipping through the cracks. Know your due dates, and keep them.
4) Get to know your professors outside of the classroom. This is essential! Profs are usually eager to put names with faces but they often have too many students to do this well. For myself, my office door is always open, and I would love to meet you in person, whether or not you are a first semester student. So take some time to become acquainted with your teachers. And then be sure to go to them during the semester with your questions.
5) Take the languages first. Yes, I recognize that Greek and Hebrew are not usually prerequisites for theology courses or even for NT and OT Introduction. But if your professor is anything like me, you will be hearing lots of Greek and Hebrew in even the most basic general ed classes, and the more of the discussion you can follow, the better.
6) Use the library. Get to know its ins and outs. Take a guided tour and then make use of its ample resources. Librarians are some of the most helpful people on any campus. They are eager and able to help you with your research. Use them.
7) Finally, take a mission trip at least once during the semester. I do, and it is a constant reminder to me that inflow requires outflow. After all, you are learning to serve other people, and the best learning is by doing. Your “mission trip” might be a visit to the local soup kitchen, or it may be to some faraway country. The “where” doesn’t really matter. As my friend Alvin Reid puts it, “Life is a mission trip; take it!”