My Year In Review — Part I

Ten months ago, I posted a short list of five focuses that would determine how I spent my time and evaluated my success over the following twelve months. Since I’m getting close to the point where I’m going to have to renew and revise my focuses for this coming (academic) year, I figured it would be good to take a look back and see how I’d done.

Focus #1: Apply to, choose, and prepare for grad school

Grade: PASS

Applications: CHECK. Figuring out which schools to apply to wasn’t terribly hard; but narrowing it down was. Because I only spent two years at the school I graduated from, I had a limited number of potential referrers. I narrowed it down to four: Yale Divinity School, Emory’s Candler Divinity School, Duke Religion, and the University of Chicago.

My gift for standardized testing meant my GRE score was going to be a plus, but I was afraid the quality of my references would negate it, so in my mind it really came down to the statements of purpose. Duke and Chicago were the most fun to write; Yale and Emory, much less so. Sending transcripts from six different institutions was also a hassle, but I got it all done with time to spare.

Choose: CHECK. I got accepted to Duke, Chicago, and Emory. I had a great visit with Mark Goodacre, who is the NT program in the Duke Religion department, and took a perfunctory visit to Emory, but Chicago was always my front runner and my visit there sealed the deal. I got the same, usual “rah-rah” there as anywhere else, but I grokked the place, so that’s where I’m headed. Besides, they offered me more money.

Preparation: CHECK. I audited two semesters of Hellenistic Greek and exceeded my professor’s expectations for the dedication of an audit student. I read books by two of my future professors, as well as additional reading based off of the reading lists published for their doctoral examinations. I’ve been adding relevant German vocabulary, though I don’t have many good readings to practice on.

Technically, this goal isn’t complete, since the “preparation” portion isn’t over. I still need to keep up my Greek over the summer, and hopefully do some more reading in New Testament, Hellenistic and Jewish backgrounds, and social theory. Also I need to figure out where I’m going to live and what classes I’m going to take and all that.

I still pass, though, and it’s a big one. This was the central focus of my year; getting into grad school was the key reason for spending my year here in North Carolina in the first place. Success kid is a success.

Next up: “Learn about and from people I care about”

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