The new year began with a bang. It had hardly started, when I resigned from my job, and moved in to college. In many ways, it was like starting life all over again. There was a freedom, a fresh start, even an excitement about what I was doing. Indeed, I’d never experienced anything like it before, and I have never experienced anything like it again.

To start with, I had to immerse myself in Preliminary Greek. That meant I was required to begin four weeks earlier than most other students. It also meant that I was one of only a few students living in college for those four weeks. As a consequence, I was asked to help keep the college secure at night.

The problem was that the married-quarters of the college were undergoing renovations, and they had suffered from vandalism at night. And my name was added to the list of volunteers, to patrol the works at night. Unfortunately for me, my last patrol was the night before the official start of term. And it was only through the constant nudging of a fellow student that I was able to stay awake during the opening chapel service.

When the term began, I immersed myself in study. In my first year full-time I engaged in most of the part two’s—Old Testament II, New Testament II, and Church History II. I also took on the more practical subject—Communication—as well as continuing with Preliminary Greek. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that the lectures took up only twelve hours per week. So, this left plenty of time to read up on the various topics concerned.

And that was probably just as well. Because the lecturer in Church History II, was a great admirer of Martin Luther. And, indeed, we spent two-thirds of the year studying Martin Luther alone. And yet, despite that, we all knew that we were going to be examined on, was the whole period from the Reformation to the current day.

Now, of course, full-time study wasn’t the only change in my life. The theological college I was attending was also a university residential college. So, I may have been a mature-age student, but I also needed to interact with the other students, most of whom had come straight from school.

In addition to that, I also began helping in the college bookshop, for about four hours each week. This was of great benefit to me. After all, it gave me a good chance to see what books were available, and the kind of books that would be useful to me. And when students came in from other theological colleges with their book lists, I was able to see what kind of books they were recommending to their students too.

That first year full-time went very quickly, and in what seemed like no time, the exams were upon us, and the college was packed-up for the year. Then the nervous wait for the results began.

Now I thought I’d done well; I was confident of getting good results. Which I did, except for in one subject—New Testament II. But, as was revealed later, it wasn’t that I had done badly, it’s just the examiner had marked all the papers too harshly. However, instead of remarking the papers, which would have been fairer, by far the majority of those who had set it, were required to re-sit the exam. And having an extra exam (with all the extra swatting-up that was required) wasn’t what I had in mind, for my summer break.

To be continued …

Posted: 14th September 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis

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