…and I’m finished for the semester!
As most of you know, I began the PhD program at Dallas Theological Seminary in the spring of 2010. Well, at the end of this semester I will have reached the first milestone. The way DTS’ PhD program is set up is a little different than other schools I looked into. Basically, if your masters degree is not an MA or ThM (basically a research degree), then you have to start at what is called Stage 1. Because I earned an MDiv this is where I had to begin. Stage 1 is 26 hours of ThM classes with additional reading and work and a thesis. So, after I turn in my last paper in a couple of weeks, I will have finished all the course work for Stage 1!
Next semester, then, I will only be working toward completing the thesis, which implies that my topic has been approved and readers have been assigned! It will be strange not going to class 3-4 days a week (my car and credit card will be grateful!), but I look forward to the break in commuting. Oh there will still be trips to the library and to meet with my advisers, but they will be far less frequent than what I’ve been doing. I also look forward to focusing all my efforts on one task–I’ve never been good at multitasking. Last semester I had five papers to write and that pushed me right up to the deadline. It’s good practice for what lies ahead, but I will be glad to focus on writing one paper (albeit a long one).
Once I finish my thesis (which I hope to finish by semester’s end; cf James 4:15!), I will focus on Stage 2 entrance exams. Once exams are done (and passed obviously!), it’s on to the part that most associate with doctoral work–research seminars and more reading than is humanly possible. Though getting back in the saddle in Stage 1 has been a challenge (time-management wise), Stage 2 promises to be positively brutal and I already get the sense that I will be slightly overwhelmed. No, greatly overwhelmed! But I know that I can depend on God’s grace and strength and the support of my family to make it through.
But, when days come and I think that I’ll never get through this, I remind myself–You signed up for this! So as punishing as the next few years will be academically, it is the road I have long felt called to travel and I am confident that whatever God has in store at the end of this road will be what he wants for us.
Now, having said all that, back to this last paper.
Αυτω η δοξα