Sunday, April 17, 2016

Seminary Survival Guide (or My Quick Tips for Unstudying)

Seminary is grad school. On emotional steroids. So while you’re hardcore studying and riding that emotional, spiritual, and hermeneutical roller coaster, here are my personal tips for surviving. Some you might be familiar with while others might be a little unconventional or seem like they are distracting you from studying. But, every one is meant to be a counterpart to study. They are in no particular order of importance.

1.    Yoga.
Not kidding. Breathing, stretching, toning, lengthening, relaxing, engaging. After reading those words, don’t you just want to do yoga? Seriously tho, there are some great yoga workouts on YouTube. Some are just 15-20 minute so you can easily do one before bed, especially if you have a day where there’s no time to do any other exercise.
Also, backbends and headstand really help you relax and sleep. But don’t forget to warm up first! Having a back or neck injury will not help you study.
2.    Exercise.
Building on the above survival tip. When it comes to exercise. Get. It. In. I’m serious. You may not feel like you have time, but trust me. You do have time. It may cost you an hour of precious study time a day, but compare that to days of being sick around finals, or the hours of mental clarity and energy gained by working out. Also, exercise is one of the top stress reducers. You have time for this.
3.    Salad.
It’s hard to eat healthy on a seminary budget. But try to be creative. You’ll feel better and have more energy if you avoid the junk food. Which leads to #4.
4.    Celebrate.
And this may involve splurging on a mocha or making chocolate chip cookies or a pie. Or getting a blizzard at McDonald’s. If you follow numbers 1, 2, and 3, you can celebrate guilt-free. But don’t feel guilty anyway because we are saved by grace and live lives free of condemnation. So guilt is bad. You should feel guilty if you feel guilty. Now go eat some cake.
Back to the point. If you complete a heavy assignment or make it through that oral exam, you shouldn’t just ignore that. You should celebrate. Find your own way (because I realize your way of celebrating may not involve food the way mine does), but celebration makes for great motivation on future assignments.
5.    Play.
That doesn’t sound so bad. But what if you have a paper to write and you just can’t find the words, or the book makes no sense, or you have no idea what the professor is really looking for in the assignment? A walk up the street to swing on the swing set can actually bring mental clarity. Either that, or it will remind you that life really is one big playground. If the swing doesn’t work out, you can always switch to the monkey bars or the slide or the merry-go-round. But don’t do the merry-go-round. Those were invented by the devil. (Notice I did not capitalize devil.)
6.    Laugh.
You will have plenty to make you cry in seminary. So take every opportunity to laugh. Laugh with your friends. Watch funny movies. Laugh at babies and puppies and most of all, laugh at yourself. We church people can take ourselves way too seriously and we seminary people are even worse.
 A lot.

So there you go. My tips for unstudying. They are tried and tested with a money back guarantee. Give them a shot and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your unstudy tips! I am always looking for more.

See you in class…

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