Since my school has started up classes, the library is open until 1 a.m. again on weekdays. The wimpy abbreviated hours were cramping my style, but now Scott and I are back at this doctorate stuff in full force. APU doesn't start until after Labor Day, so I have a few more days of independence from teaching*grading*teaching*grading.
Last night, there was a faculty/staff kick-off dinner for all who work at the university, and the whole night rocked my socks off. (Okay, well the standing in 100+ heat and humidity for several hours was less than comfortable, but the inside part of the night was great. Especially the blueberry cheesecake!) From the distinguished speakers, we heard about the amazing growth that Azusa Pacific University has gone through in the past year, both in terms of students and budget. Plus, the school was endowed with 5 fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls this summer. Five! Only three academic institutions in the country have DSS fragments, and neither of the other two schools have five. This is going to be amazing for the Biblical Studies department, and I hope that they'll be able to contract much more funding for outside scholars to come work on these tiny pieces dating back to 150 BC.
But, I guess what really impressed me about the whole evening was the sense of community and teamwork that exuded from everyone. We are all prayerful and excited about what this school year will bring, and I know that it is a blessing to teach for an institution that strives for God-honoring academic excellence. It's encouraging, you know?
As I begin this semester of my own education (which, often, is hard to distinguish from the education of others--just ask any teacher), there are three questions that I'm going to ask myself every day.
The Honesty Questions
1. Of the million things that "must" get done today, what are the one or two most important tasks?
--And I will work on those two things until they are done. No more schitzo, crazy Ph.D. student behavior. Only rational, God-honoring perseverance.
2. What can I do today to make tomorrow easier?
--And I will try to do it without whining or procrastinating. Whether it's getting all the dishes done before going upstairs, or reading 100 extra pages from the quals list if I know the next day will be too full to meet my pg. quota...
3. Is this healthy--emotionally, physically, spiritually?
--I'll be taking better care of myself, asking myself this question when I'm eating, drinking, driving, studying, talking to myself, reading, praying...
I would like to challenge each of you to come up with a system to make your days healthier, positive, and more enjoyable and productive. Ask yourself these questions, or --better yet--come up with your own three. And make it a point to be as honest as you can be as you answer your questions. (I'm talking to myself here, because I have a bad habit of tricking myself.)
I wish everyone a special back-to-school season. Surprise yourself at how awesome you can be!