The first week of classes is officially over and it has left me with a full week of first impressions. Without a doubt, seminary is its own culture. Transitioning back to America wasn’t necessarily challenging, but coming here has been a transition. I’m not sure what it is specifically, but it feels like I am learning to live in a whole new culture which I certainly wouldn’t qualify as stereotypical American culture (which I am going to say is probably a good thing). Southeastern has its own lingo, its own protocols, its own dress code, and its own set of rules and regulations – some of them unspoken ones.
First off, these people are just straight nice – like over the top nice. If you ask someone for directions, they don’t just point you to the general location, they walk there with you and then ask if there is anything else they can help you with today before they wish you good luck with the rest of your semester and tell you how glad they are that you are here. I liken it to living inside a Chick-Fil-A, a place where everyone goes above and beyond to be helpful and considers it their “pleasure” to assist you. I may have to turn up the pep a little bit to survive in this gleeful environment. My cynical and sarcastic viewpoint might not always fit. 🙂
Next, it is just kind of weird to attend school in a place where they pray before class starts and the most important textbook you can bring to class is your Bible. Not bad at all, mind you, just very different from any other school I have ever attended. I am taking Hermeneutics (how to study the Bible) and New Testament 2 (Acts thru Revelation) this semester and already I want to learn more. Although it seems these folks like to assign a lot more reading than seems necessary to me, I am going to get to learn things about the Word and the God that I could have never gleaned on my own.
And lets not forget the first day of Chapel, where I just about fell out of my seat, (*ahem* I mean pew) when the organ started up and all of the professors came down the center aisle in full regalia…wasn’t expecting that….no I wasn’t. I was reminded quite quickly that I was indeed at a “Baptist” University. I didn’t grow up Southern Baptist and all my dealings with the Southern Baptist Organization had been rather contemporary until that moment. In that moment, I felt unsure of what to do with the organ music playing and uncertain about how to sing hymns that I didn’t know the words to. I faked it.
One of my favorite things about being on this campus is the Sharing Shop. It is a thrift store only for seminary students where everything is free. Lots of people here move overseas fairly often and give everything they have away. Many of those things come to the Sharing Shop. I am a huge fan of a bargain and if cheap is good, then free is even better! Most of our house has already been outfitted with kitchen appliances and dishware from the Sharing Shop as well as furniture that was placed at the seminary dumpster. I could get used to this much cheaper, but still very nice lifestyle!
All in all, a good first week that has me excited about the rest of the semester yet to come.
We got a little bit of snow on campus Friday!