Sometimes I think about my college degree and remind myself that it is an accomplishment. It doesn’t always feel like it, but it is. The diploma displayed on my dresser and the summa cum laude cords hung on my wall represent heaps of time and effort and frustration and lack of sleep and months when I would have much preferred to quit altogether.
I’ve been out of college for more than two years now. (Yet people still regularly ask what grade I’m in, so that’s amusing.) I don’t miss it. At all. But recently I’ve been thinking about how certain classes impacted my life, so I thought I’d talk about the two most notable.
We’ll start with the one that’s notable because of its lack of long-term impact: Creative Writing.
I do a lot of creative writing. I have filled up notebooks. Last month I found myself editing a story I wrote before college. It wasn’t awful, but I have definitely improved since then. But that improvement came from practice and talking to friends who write. None of it came from my Creative Writing class.
I don’t remember learning one thing in that class. I remember a couple short stories we read (I didn’t like either of them). I remember that we were supposed to keep a journal and I gave up halfway through the semester because I did not have the time and the teacher never once checked to see that we were doing it. I remember leaving one day because it was the third time the teacher was more than 15 minutes late, which meant students were allowed to leave without penalty, and I hadn’t left the previous two times and I had had it.
Basically, I remember a lot of frustration.
The one nice thing that came out of the class resulted from our final project. During that semester, I had been working on a story entirely unrelated to the class, but I asked the teacher if I could submit it for the final project, and she said that was fine. When she returned it, she informed me that the story kept her up past her bedtime because she couldn’t put it down. It was satisfying that someone who was neither a relative or a close friend liked something I wrote that much, but perhaps not quite worth it overall.
But on a more cheerful subject: Scripture Interpretation.
Rumor has it this is one of the hardest classes at my college. I took it my sophomore fall semester. I saw the teacher (my favorite teacher, incidentally) a couple weeks before classes started, and he asked, “Don’t you know you’re supposed to take Greek or Hebrew or at least Intro to Biblical Languages before you take this class?”
Nope. No one ever told me that. But I wanted to take the class, and at that point rearranging my schedule seemed like more trouble than it was worth, so I stuck with it.
That was my hardest semester. Not necessarily academically, but in general stress and homesickness. But Scripture Interpretation was a lot of work, so that may have contributed. Most memorably, I took this picture of all the books I used for a one-page paper (though I think it ended up being longer than one page). But in the long run, I did well.
Despite all the work, I’m so glad I took the class. It ended up being my favorite college course. I gained a great deal of respect for translators. I regularly see its influence in the way I read and study the Bible, and that’s something that will be valuable wherever I go in life.