25.3.10

Graduation Thoughts (#3): Evaluate?

So, comparing is done. Reflecting on my time at Regent, one of the things I want to ask is what did I learn? How well did my time there prepare me? and so on; evaluative questions.

The immediate problem is that I learned far too much to put in a blog post; after all, it took over 3 years of schooling to get it into me :)

A more central problem, however, is that one of the first, and maybe most important, things I learned at Regent was that I shouldn't treat it as merely preparation for something else. I didn't learn this in a class, and no prof told me this in so many words. But, at some point near the beginning of my time at Regent the inevitable question came up (I think from someone who subsequently left Regent because they answered the question differently): If you knew you were going to die in 1 year, would you still spend it in school?

Of course, we don't know when we are going to die, and the real point of the question is to seek the value of your current activities. Famously, Martin Luther said that even if he knew the world would fall to pieces tomorrow, he would still plant a tree today. One trap to fall into is to change how we judge whether or not an activity is good/worthwhile in view of a shorter time frame. So, many people would never plant that tree with Luther. But, if planting a tree is a good thing to do, it shouldn't matter what will eventually happen; we can't control the future anyway. The opposite trap to fall into, however, is to assume we have many days left and so treat much of our life as merely preparation for something else to come. If we can't live now, when will we ever arrive to the place where do live now?

Regent was a place to prepare, and in reflecting, I see that the closer I got to the finish the less I treated Regent and school as a place to be now, and the more I treated it as preparation (especially this last year as I have already been working). But, I also strove to treat it as a place which was good on its own, regardless of what came later. And, uncomfortably, evaluating that has much less to do with the Regent as a school and much more to do with what I did with the opportunities it presented.

So, I offer a few observations/evaluations.

Every school, every program, every degree has faults. Regent is no different, and so I am not going to dwell on critiques. Most failings of such places can easily be overcome by the individuals studying there. I know they have done their best with what they have, and I think they have done a very very good job of it. The world of thought a student is introduced to at Regent is incredibly vast. The prof's are excellent, and open to building into students lives. I only wish the tuition were lower (a common feeling among students worldwide I suspect :).

As preparation, for ministry or academics, Regent is a place which provides many open doors. It is up to the students to push through them, and that is as it should be. No, every eventuality is not planned for; how could they? But, good people and good books provided in relationships and as resources go a long ways in those areas.

Personally, Regent was just what I needed. Its not for everyone; but God led me there for a reason, and I am grateful.

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