Back in May, I officially graduated from seminary with my Master of Divinity degree. At that point, I was torn between pursuing my Ph.D., or another advanced degree, and taking some time off from school. I realized just how much I wanted the other degree, so I decided to plunge ahead and start taking language courses in support of the Ph.D. application.
Turns out, I don’t really want that degree bad enough. While I have somewhat enjoyed the idea of learning German and French, I just don’t have the energy to plunge ahead with distance learning again right now.
Distance learning, you see, has its ups and downs. It’s convenient for those of us who live out from formal education spaces. Quality-wise, while you can slack through it, you get what you bring in, so wanting to learn a lot and being willing to work, makes for a positive learning situation. The downside? You have to be entirely self-motivated. If you even have class sessions, they are typically spent staring at a computer screen, wondering if you look as asleep as the other people in the class.
There’s also the challenge of a lack of interactive feedback. This is especially a drawback in language learning. It works like this: I do an assignment, and turn it end. If it turns out that I am misunderstanding a concept, then I’ll fail the whole assignment. But, because there’s not any other way to interact, that’s the only way to find out if I am understanding a concept. The result is a highly frustrating mix of learning while getting failing or nearly-failing grades. Professors typically put heavier weight on exams to counteract this, which helps.
But it is a discouragement issue. Plus, the lack of general fellowship is tiresome. While I have some friends among the student body, we’re all pretty scattered in both classes and geography.
All this to say—I’m out for a while. I am most likely going to rethink the doctoral level work I intend to pursue, with an eye toward a more practical degree instead of the theoretical Ph.D.
That means that in a couple of weeks I’ll wrap up the German and French classes I had already paid for when I made this decision, and reshuffle my energy. My hope is to invest some time in a writing project or two—possibly even one that generates a dollar in revenue.
Beyond that, I will continue to preach and blog, pastor and teach, and hopefully find some better ways to be an encourager and Internet genius. As always, I’m here if you need me, dear readers…but I will do much better if you contact me in English than in German or French! I will be switching over and doing homeschool German and Latin with the kids, but the pacing is very, very different on those—so I’ll keep nerding up. Just a little differently.
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