I have some thoughts about college. Bible college. My Bible college. If you’re on of my fellow classmates, hey! How’s break? Evidently pretty lame since you’re reading my blog. Do you like how I just insulted you AND me there? Clever, aye? Well, that will be pretty much the rest of this post–stamping on my own feet, and, if you’re anywhere close to me, you might be stamped upon as well.
These are three things I hate about what I’ve seen of college and why.
1. Students who are at college solely for the degree
We all know this guy. He wouldn’t say that he’s just in it for the degree (actually, maybe he would…), but it’s pretty clear if you really look at his actions. He doesn’t study all semester, then crams to get good grades on the exam. He fluffs up all of his papers to meet the page limit. He works on other assignments in class instead of listening to the instructor. WAIT WAIT WAIT. That’s me. But that’s not me at all. Yeah, I do a little fluffing/cramming, but that doesn’t mean I’m just here for the certificate. I just… don’t always care about learning. Which is exactly the same thing.
This would be a heinous enough crime if I were at a secular school. But at a Bible college? Training for ministry? If I’m not learning, what am I paying for? A piece of paper to go on my wall that says I’m qualified to help you with your spiritual problems/teach your children/preach the Word of God to you/praise God through music/spread the Gospel throughout the world. This is a little more weighty than fudging my way through a business degree. Don’t fluff papers. The teachers assigned them so that you could learn more about ministry. Unless your teachers are…
2. Teachers who don’t even know what they want their students to learn
Seriously. Why? Why be a teacher if you don’t have a passion for your subject, a passion for passing it on to the next generation, a passion for them to really learn and live? And if you have that passion, why not express it in your lesson plans and assignments? I value so much teachers who are so burdened for their students to understand how the Bible affects their lives that they assign hard projects, not just for the sake of hardness, but to cause them to grapple with the deep questions. They expect students to learn and remember information for tests, because they know what they want students to learn and they expend their teaching energies on those important things. These are the super teachers, who live and breath history, theology, communication, whatever their field of study; who have expectations and communicate them. Unfortunately, when they expect hard, important things, the students give way to…
3. Constant complaining about homework
I pay a lot of money to go to school. My parents pay a lot of money for me to go to school. The government pays a lot of money for me to go to school. Anonymous donors pay a lot of money for me to go to school. Extended family members pay a lot of money for me to go to school. My school pays a lot of money for me to go to school.
All those people–myself included–do not invest all those resources in me so that I could sit at school and complain about how much I hate it. That’s just plain stupid–you whine about how you don’t like school and you whine about how much it costs. Newsflash: Choose a different school. Oh, you do like it? Then stop whining. All that money, all this time, is going for you to learn. What you’re learning depends upon your college and program, but it was evidently something you decided to pursue as a course of study and wanted to learn. [If you didn’t, maybe you should re-evaluate why you’re there] Part of learning is homework, because teachers can’t do everything in class. They try to set you on the right track to learn the rest by yourself. So do it, and stop whining about how much you hate reading/writing/projects/review. It’s part of the learning process–learn to love it, force yourself to make it your thing.
One of my teachers called this The Great Swindle, or some such title: college is the only institution where the supplier and the consumer work together to cheat the consumer. If such must be true of college as an institution, may it not be said of those seeking to train Christians to enter the ministry. If it is true that the world genuinely needs what we have to offer–the Bible–then we must earnestly pursue that knowledge of the Bible, of the world, of service. We must not rejoice over canceled class periods. We must not thrive on open book tests. We must not give any less than our greatest efforts in all of our work. May our desire for knowledge exceed our desire for the easy route.