Lessons From My First Semester of Online Seminary

By Noah Myers
Being out of college for three years before I started seminary it took me a bit before I could get back into the groove of schoolwork, online classes also proved a new challenge. All of that to say, I’ve learned a couple lessons already thus far that I thought it would be good to share with you, so here it is:
Get ahead!
Having classes online can really make you think that you can go at your own pace but you can’t. Each week can really have a different load of work that you need to handle and so it’s best to really be ahead then get behind on a week that you already have a large load of work. I’ve had a few weeks with classes that I there were only a couple hours of lectures and a tiny bit of reading only to be followed by a week with six hours of lectures and a ton of reading. Getting ahead helps you spread that load out relieve the stress of those harder weeks.
Make a schedule
When your classes aren’t in person everyday you don’t have your professor or classmates reminding you of upcoming assignments and tests. If you don’t have a schedule you are bound to get broadsided by something. That’s what happened to me. I had done absolutely no work on my semester paper when I realized it was one week out till it was done. Needless to say I spent that next week focusing completely on that essay and I had to spend the next week catching up on what I missed on all my other schoolwork. Don’t do what I did; make a calendar you look at regularly that shows when things are due.
Make a routine
This isn’t the same as a schedule when things are due, it’s about dedicating a solid chunk of time to school through your week. Most of us taking online classes are doing so because we have an odd schedule or live far away so it’s easy to think you can do things on you feel like it, but the fact of the matter is, if you don’t make a schedule it won’t happen. Schoolwork isn’t going to be the thing you want to do after a long day but you have to make sure you’ve set aside some time otherwise you’ll find yourself studying Friday night up to the minute your test closes.
Clear a space
This last part can look pretty different depending on you, but the important thing is that you have a designated study spot. When your classroom is your laptop it is easy to think you can study anywhere, but it’s not true. If I am honest with myself I know I can’t really study well in my room. Even with my roommates away the temptation to jump on Facebook or Netflix is hard for me to resist sitting comfortably on my bed. I need to get out and designate a different spot like the library or a coffee shop if I really want to get any work done. The best thing for me is heading to the library of my local college to be surrounded by other diligent students who motivate me when I get distracted by people watching. Find somewhere that is best for you and stick with it.
To sum up all of this stuff I’ll just give you a couple short phrases to remember. Get ahead, make a calendar, find a rhythm, and designate a time and place. Keep those things in mind and you’ll be off to a good start with seminary.
By Noah Myers

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Written by
Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns is a past Marketing Manager at Faithlife and now works at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA.

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Written by Ryan Burns
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