The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I feel like seminary plays with my emotions constantly. I have never felt more unstable and flip-floppy than in these past two years here. One day I could be really excited, the next day I could be really depressed, the following day I could be happy, the day after that I could be really angry, then the next day I could be really confident. Rinse, lather, repeat - that is how I feel I've become since I've been here. I don't remember being like this before, at least not to this extreme.

I think my latest depression/angry moment has begun yesterday and today in starting to consider who I should ask to be my references for all of the various paperwork documents I have to fill out. They are many, both the numbers of references asked for as well as the number of different documents I have to fill out. Specifically, my problem is that I just don't know who to ask to be a theological/teacher/professor reference for me because the classes here at Princeton are huge. Sometimes it baffles me to think that I went from a ~1,200 student undergrad where an average class size was 15 to a ~800 grad school where an average class size is 50-70. How, in a situation where I am in these classes with that many students am I to find even one professor who is able to determine where on a scale I am of more likely "seeking a career" or having more "enthusiasm for ministry"? Most professors, I think, would be hard-pressed to even know my name. It's just really frustrating. I think Tyler would (and has) said of me that when I was in undergrad, I was a kiss-up to our teachers. I really, sincerely, don't think that was true, or if it was, it was most unintentional. The fact is that it's just easier to get to know your teachers when you're in a smaller setting. Another difference is that at Woodbury, we called our teachers by their first names, which some would say is inappropriate because the line of distinction between teacher and student is blurred. Here teachers are called Dr. So-and-so. And, in all honesty, every teacher I've ever had has been available to meet about class stuff or what-have-you, whether it's in their office hours or asking them to lunch. However, in calling teachers Drs. rather than calling teachers by their first names, a lot of the aura of availability to the student, I believe, is lost. I definitely feel that I have to have something of great import before I am able to talk to a teacher. I feel that it has to be well-formed and well-crafted or else the teacher will not take me seriously. But the thing is that in learning, I am rarely well-formed or well-crafted because I am learning. I am taking to heart what is before me and grappling with it in order to understand it. How, in that atmosphere, can I be anything but messy and unclear?

So, I am frustrated and upset, both in this larger question of how to even get to know professors well enough to ask for their recommendation when in a large setting where they seem unapprochable and in the smaller question of who, specifically, can I ask to be my reference. This is a hard matter and I have learned that hard matters are often best answered after much prayer. I will be praying, and I ask that you all would pray for me, too.

- Jenny, 4/11/2006 10:22:00 AM

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