Ahh. You’ve submitted your last research paper and taken you last final exam for the semester. The feeling is phenomenal, isn’t it. Who cares that you’ve only slept a combined three hours over the past week, the reality is that you don’t have any assigned reading for the next day, or even the next week!
So how can you make the most out of your semester break?
Our bodies need sleep. Like me, you’ve probably been up all night studying when you read all of the studies that cite how our bodies require somewhere between 7-10 hours of sleep each night. So use the semester break to crash. Go to bed early (a novel concept, I must confess). Sleep in late.
You wouldn’t be attending seminary and pursuing formal theological training if you weren’t thinking longterm. You want to have a faithful and fruitful ministry. Don’t undermine your own goals by destroying your body during your preparatory years.
Most seminarians have responsibilities outside of the classroom. Some are pastors, Sunday School teachers, husbands and dads. Others might be book-keepers, janitors, or work any number of jobs to make ends meet.
The end of the semester always requires more of a seminarian than any other time of the semester. Papers are due, tests must be taken, reading needs to be caught up. There seems to be an unending amount of work. Because of that fact, many of us (and I’m definitely in this category) neglect other responsibilities for the sake of our education.
The semester break is a great time to catch up and to get ahead. Take a close look at what needs to be accomplished at work or at home and jump on it. Think about it. How rare is it that you can focus your concentration on something other than a paper?
Pick a project, (or if married, ask your spouse to pick one or two projects for you to focus on) and get to work without abandon. Knock it out. You’ll feel better the next time you have to buckle down in front of the laptop.
Read for fun
When I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, I was so tired of reading that I nearly gave it up altogether. (You know you’re in trouble when you order based upon the pictures at the fast food restaurant.) It took me a few years to begin reading again for fun and for nourishment.
Seminary student, you don’t have the option of not reading. Grab a novel and jump in. Read for enjoyment. I have a stack of books in my office that are my “to read” books that I grab any chance I can. This semester break, my goal is to read two of them. I’m not too concerned about absorbing a lot of information, but I want to continue to feed my habit of reading.
Go to church
I almost left this off my list, because it seems so obvious. You’re in seminary! One would think that you would necessarily value the gathered church body. Tragically, I’ve seen students “take time off” since they spend every day in class digging through their Bibles and theology textbooks.
Don’t do it.
Go. Worship with God’s people. Sit under the proclamation of God’s Word. Enjoy fellowship. Celebrate Christ with friends and family. However tired you may feel, whatever amount of brain-cramping you may be suffering from, enjoy the opportunity you have to gather and worship.
What are some things you do to make the most out of your semester break?