Sometimes I find myself resenting those college kids who literally never have to do any studying or homework between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Many weekends simply can be translated to “Oh good, no class Saturday or Sunday, so I actually have time to get all (or maybe just part of) my work done.” It’s times like these that I sometimes question my choice of study when I’m posted up in the library doing research for my religion paper and studying the chymotrypsin mechanism while everyone on social media is posting annoying football acronyms and pictures of alcoholic or Greek-life celebrations.
I have to quickly snap out of my temporary pity-party and stop to take the time to be grateful to find myself in this situation of my life right now. I’ve been given the privilege to attend a world-class university surrounded by supportive, intelligent, and similarly loaded-down-with-schoolwork friends as well as professors who genuinely care and always have an open office door.
As much as I wish I maybe had a little more free time on the weekends for sleeping late, spontaneous road trips, or just mindless TV watching, my time spent learning and studying is investing in my education. These are the only four (now with just two to go) years that I will have the chance to explore all my interests and take classes like “Jesus and the Gospels” while every additional science course I take is one step closer to becoming a highly trained and knowledgable doctor.
My research paper for my religion class has already been a source of unwanted stress this semester. I had to plow my way through about twenty different ideas I had for topics until I could focus it enough in order to get my professor to approve. I finally decided to head in the direction of looking deeper into the implications of the Messianic secrecy theme seen in the gospel of Mark. Sounds totally legit, right? I honestly feel like I’m in seminary with all this new critical/theological/biblical vocabulary and having to go so far beyond what I think I already know about the text.
My professor (who before he did anything on the first day, prayed over our class) is one of the most sincere teachers I’ve ever had at Baylor, and I’ve already spent about an hour in his office discussing the paper as well as just life in general. He was generous enough to lend me his book including his contributions to the subject matter that he himself finds fascinating. My first thought was, “Bonus points for quoting the professor?” followed by, “Wait, I’m in trouble if he’s such an expert on this.” This assignment has already been pretty eye-opening to me, and it’s caused me to really look deeper into the gospels and how Jesus is actually represented in a way I’ve never thought about before.
I’m mainly writing this to bring my focus back to why I’m doing all this in the bigger picture. I’m taking upper-level religion classes voluntarily with the end result ultimately being to graduate with an additional minor. Having said that, I’m choosing to spend my Saturdays doing research instead of partying because it challenges me intellectually and allows me to discover more about what I believe as well as new things I never would be exposed to otherwise. Looking at the Bible academically some would say takes away from their faith, but I’d argue that it does just the opposite.