Saturday, August 25, 2007

Syllabus Shock . . . fitting term

A few different professors warned that the arrival of the slate of syllabuses creates a gut reaction (similar to the feeling of butterflies in the tummy) called "syllabus shock." I can attest to this feeling as I kept counting the number of books I'm expected to read, papers I'll write, and oral presentations I'll prepare and deliver. Yet, I'm a nerd, in that, I'm super excited for it all.

Any recommendations from those of you who've traveled the road of seminary or grad school. Are there things for which I need to watch out? Any tips on getting through all the material and papers?

Personal side of things: my mother-in-law showed up today to hold her new grandson. We've had a nice, peaceful day. We enjoyed a lunch in downtown Denver and a little sight-seeing to boot.

Tomorrow we visit an EFCA church plant. Pray that God would give us discernment as we seek a church home.


Jack said...

Matt: Buy yourself a big blank calendar. Go through your syllabi one by one, and write down in the calendar what you need to do, one day at a time. E.g., break your readings into increments, make notes to yourself when you need to begin papers, warn yourself a week ahead when exams are coming, and so on.

Do this for all your syllabi. Then follow your calendar religiously, and you'll be surprised how much stress it will relieve.

Dan Leman said...

If you, with your humanities background, think you've got a lot of papers to write, I'm in trouble.

Noah Braymen said...

Only recommendation is to try and get ahead, and to maintain devotionals...

It's easy to reason out of them from time to time.

In Christ

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

One of the best reading tips I got while I was in seminary is if you fall really far behind in your reading (which I persoanlly did A LOT) read:
1. The first paragraph of a section
2. The first and last sentence of all the remaining paragraphs in that section
3. The last paragraph fully
4. You will catch the author's main idea and argument this way and it works.

I am very happy to see that they encourage their students in their personal devotions. I personally really struggled in this area. This will be one of the most difficult but rewarding things you will do in life. I am praying for you and your newly growing family. We miss you hear in Iowa.

Sincerely In Christ
Eric Simpson

Anonymous said...

I would leave you my study habits, but I'm not sure how helpful they'd be. In college, they weren't "study habits" as much as they were "avoiding study habits". That's probably not what you're looking for. Your class schedule looks difficult, but you'll be up to the challenge. I am also encouraged that seminary cares about your personal growth, not just academic growth. I look forward to hearing from you.


Denise said...


I will be starting my first 3 classes at Denver Seminary on Monday, and I'm a little freaked out by the whole process. I received the syllabi for my classes, and I feel totally overwhelmed and inadequate for the task ahead. I'm working my way through the required reading, but I don't understand half of what I'm reading. I've never taken a Bible class in my life, and I'm just a normal mom returning to school after 20 years who feels like she hasn't had an original thought since she had kids. Is this "panic" normal? Do you have any advice or suggestions that you can share?


Matt Proctor said...

the panic is normal . . . if you looked a master's level work without breaking a sweat, I'd think you were not human.

Keep a thorough calendar, reading ahead is wise, spacing out assignments is a good idea, and going to the instructors for help will be rewarded. These profs love their students and they want you to succeed so take advantage of them.

I often reread chapters b/c they don't "sink" the first time. highlight your books and if your reading produces questions, write them down and email them out to the prof and/or fellow students

Denise you'll do great! There are several adults coming back to school and they often are some of the best students~!

good luck . . . hopefully we connect