So as of this afternoon, I am officially 50% done with my MDIV, which means that I am halfway done and a year and a half away from possibly being an offically ordained spiritual guide. Whew. And I have to say, that man this feels good! The past few months have truly been challenging and so I am grateful to have survived them.
A look back on the past 8 months–
June: I was dead set on getting the heck outta Cambridge. I was convinced that Harvard was a mistake, that I had let my selfishness and my need to seem successful get in the way of my vocation. I had internalized HDS as “The Harvard Death Star” as Prof. Patton aptly put it, meaning that I had blamed this institution for many of the frustrations that I had experienced. If I could get out, and go to a Presbyterian Seminary, I thought, perhaps I could save my vocation. I spent a lot of time hashing this out with my pastor and with my boyfriend at the time, Tim.
July: Still convinced that Harvard was a problem, but I was beginning to realize that perhaps it was salvageable. I began to notice that more than anything I was just tired–tired of working, tired of studying, tired of school. I thought back and realized that I hadn’t had a break since sophomore year of college, meaning that I probably was just exhausted more than anything else. Of course, I realized this in the midst of working 40+ hours a week in the summer… so go figure. Anyways, I resolved to put the issue of transfer on a shelf and sit with the idea of rest for a while. At least I knew at this point that my advisor and my pastor were there to help me out if I needed it.
August: I completed the petition to transfer and indicated interest in Austin Presbyterian, Columbia Theological, Union PSCE and Princeton, with the natural consequence that I was inundated with literature about the programs. Columbia and Austin in particular were enticing because they were small and they went out of their way to talk to me in person. I still get emails from them, in fact. However, I was beginning to doubt my plan to transfer. I figured out that if I transferred I would more likely end up with an MTS at Harvard and then start over again with an MDIV somewhere else, meaning that I would be 26 or older before I actually got around to ministry… and if anything I was NOT down for even more school. I wanted to be working, not studying.
September: I withdrew my petition to transfer. Tim and I broke up. Life sucked for a bit, but it also got better. I started my internship at Clarendon Hill and began meeting regularly with Karl, my advisor. He has been a great person to chat with, even if his views on ministry are a bit unique, to say the least. He has been a great influence though. This month did have a lot of ups and downs though. I spent the first half working up the courage to break up with Tim, and once I did I felt horrible, but then felt better. Something like relief I guess. And deciding not to transfer had a similar result… relief. I was going to stick to Harvard and stick it to the institution…. meaning that I wasn’t going to let Harvard get in the way of me doing what I needed to do to get ordained.
October: interesting month, to say the least. I plugged into a group on campus around now that has ended up being my main source of support, the Emergent Group at HDS. Anna, Roger, Matt, Tyler, Laine, and the others have been wonderful people to me, and I think they helped me the most with getting through the suck. Especially Matt, though. He has turned out to be an awesome friend, and definitely helped me when I was feeling crappy. Renee informed me around now that she was going to get married next year and that she wanted me to be a bridesmaid. Sweet.
November: I feel like I started to feel my groove in November. Classes were challenging but not overbearing, my internship began to feel less scary, and I got to know my friends better. Had a few get-togethers at the house, and those were fun as well. My birthday was in the middle of the month, and my roommates constructed a fantastical cake for me that can only be described as “one-of-a-kind.” Matt and Ramy and I hung out a bit, one of my favorite times being the time we spent the WHOLE DAY watching TV and movies together. That seriously rocked, guys. I won’t forget that anytime soon.
November also became significant because that is when I got asked out on a date by Alex, a guy from my church. It was both exciting and nerve-wracking to get asked out… because he was at the church I work at. But we knew each other from before. But I didn’t know what to do. I am so glad we went out together though… after alot of consideration and advice-sessions from Karl and others, I decided to go for it, and it ended up being an awesome date. We met up at 7pm and I didn’t get home until 2am. And we talked the whole time. Then he walked me home from church twice in one day. It was literally amazing.
December: The semester drew to a close and I began to realize that time was moving faster than I expected. Which is bittersweet. I want school to end, but I also want to spend more time with the friends I am making. It’s tough I guess. Anyways, school was going fine, in fact it was quite unstressful. Alex and I were getting more serious, and he invited me to visit him at his home in San Rafael during Christmas. I in turn invited him to the mountains with us at Tahoe. Both experiences were awesome. His family was so nice, so kind. And my family liked Alex a ton, even though he is profoundly nerdy 🙂 And Christmas was awesome. I got to preach and help do communion at Foothill, and I felt super-confident with the experience. Ben freaked me out a bit about dating Alex (I hadn’t told him about it yet) but it ended up okay. By the end of December, I was more than ready for my red-eye flight back to Boston.
January: These days have been going fast. I hit the ground running at about 75% when I got back, and finished my finals pretty quickly. This afternoon I completed my last exam. Alex told me he loved me, and we have been dreaming together for a few weeks now. He decided to go to UPENN for his first Junior Faculty appointment, meaning he will be leaving this summer, but for some reason that hasn’t scared me yet. For now, I am just happy to be with someone that makes me feel the way he does, and am happy to be halfway done with school. I started working out my schedule for next year as well, and I have come to the conclusion that I am gonna rock this semester. Bring it!