An academic inauguration – Spring 2013, the 4th semester at Yale Div

Ever onwards, ever upwards

So, after the whirlwind Christmas and Gettysburg experiences over the past month, I find myself back in the ‘Haven, facing a series of upcoming challenges and tasks, and even a handful of triumphs tossed in as well.  To follow the pattern of previous semester, methinks I will go for a state of/intentions for model, looking at all the most important areas of my life:

Health

Intentionally listed first, I am pleased to report that although I didn’t get NEARLY enough sleep over the past 5 weeks and was in fact sickly while at home, I only gained 3 pounds since I departed New Haven in December.  Given Christmas time diet and then two weeks at Gettysburg Seminary (a *Lutheran* institution in the *heart* of Pennsylvania Dutch territory… makes for a LOT of cream of mushroom soup-based meals, quite the rich diet), this is nothing less that the REAL Christmas miracle.  As I compose this post, I stand at my desk stretching and feeling like a million bucks (or, adjusting for inflation and fiat currency, 100 billion bucks) as tonight marked the first time I got to krav maga in almost exactly a month.  My body has been YELLING at me in its own way, for having not been able to go for so long, and it is congratulating me (by means of endorphins and soreness) for having restarted the fall’s five-attendances-per-week insanity properly.  Additionally, my food plan remains somewhat similar (protein shake for breakfast, lunch from a Yale dining location so I can use my meal points, dinner after krav being the DELICIOUS heated buffalo chicken and garlic cheddar sammich with hummus), and this is conducive to saving money while also eating healthy.  All told, this is shaping up to be another EXTREMELY busy and often stressful semester, but during which I am truly committed to health first.

This is the distance (and comparative geographic size) I walked in 2012 while wearing my Fitibit.

This is the distance (and comparative geographic size) I walked in 2012 while wearing my Fitibit.

Academics

Although less important according to the New Mike Repas Hierarchy of Priorities (TM), I am too much of a perfectionist and academic to not put work into my courses!  The list of what I will take, with short explanations, is as follows:

New Testament Interpretation II: taught by Adela Collins, just like the first course in the progression this past fall, this class will examine the Pauline epistles at length, while also considering other writings (like Revelations). As Adela is now my advisor for coursework, I am excited for another excellent foundational bit of coursework with her!
Pastoral Leadership and Church Administration: a sort of “visiting professor,” Martha Highsmith, she is actually one of the Vice Presidents of Yale!  She comes to the Divinity School to help impart her extensive knowledge of the intricacies of administrating complex organizations (and, as people everywhere know, churches are often the MOST complicated of organizations).  The syllabus for this class looks absolutely delightful!
Theological Predication and the Divine Attributes: Taught by John Pittard, a lecturer at YDS who taught the fascinating “Does God Exist?” course in the fall, I am looking forward to this class as well, as it looks into the viability of different sorts of attributes being attributed to God, why they are allowable, and in fact why they are more reasonable/compelling/viable than other options.  Abstract as all hell? Yes.  Exciting? Yes!
Rationality and Christian Belief: also taught by John Pittard, this should be an informative experience – for half of the class with him last year, I thought I had pegged him as an atheist based on the way he spoke about things, but then I ended up seeing him in chapel and asked him later… and found he was a Christian!  Given that he is in the Philosophy of Religion, and deals with rather formal proofs and the like, I am excited to see him teach something of his own approach to the religious texts and beliefs of the Christian faith through this course.
Lutheran Student Colloquium: to be entirely honest, I actually do not yet know the topic of this colloquium, but I am looking forward to time spent with many of my best friends at the Divinity School, fellow Lutherans, once a week on Tuesdays. [Edit: taught by Dr. Audrey West, the colloquium will be looking at the Social Statements of the ELCA.  Should be interesting indeed.]

A busy schedule, yes, but a good one, I should think.  Finally, this is the beginning of the second half of my education at YDS, so I will have a “mid-degree consultation” with professors, pastors, and the like in April.  That should be an interesting experience, as it is meant to bring together people who know me well and do not know each other, to try and elucidate better how/why/to what end I fit into the faith, and what that might mean in terms of my career and the like.

Professional

Continuing the previous half year of rather enjoyable work for Yale Law School IT, I am again employed at the Student Help Desk… but have the chops and trust of my bosses to go and help faculty and staff, as well.  What this translates into is a completely unpredictable set of shifts during the week, 20 hours total, which will be a combination of lots of walking and heavy lifting (extra exercise!) alongside lengthy periods of helping students at the desk itself… and then long periods of downtime in between, to be able to work on schoolwork.  Last semester saw me set up a server in my house, and one of the most useful things to come of it has been my own secure network storage (Google Documents is nice, but also they have my content on their servers, and being an untrusting SOB, I am, well, untrusting).  Finally, given my probable need for a car come August (when Ryan moves out IF he doesn’t get into the Yale PhD program and/or gets into a different PhD, and takes his car/my only means to get to krav maga with him), I am going to be working as many hours as humanly possible… and then some, into the realm of the unhealthy (here’s looking at you, final month of Fall 2012), in order to try and save up for a used Volkswagen Passat station wagon I have my eye on….  More on that as it develops.

Fun

Last and certainly not least, I must speak to the continuing War on Funlessness.  Last semester saw the atrophying of Game Nights and instead the slow screening of Game of Thrones (our housemate Nicole is not a big gamer), and while we loved the show, the lack of active participation in screening GoT definitely got to us.  To that end, this spring shall see Saturday nights set aside for gaming sans drinking, to ensure everyone is competitive, and then Sunday nights shall see the screening of GoT and/or other shows and movies.  Given that Ryan is no longer applying to PhD programs, and my stress over applying to the School of Management is gone (having not gotten in), this spring could use the overdose of fun that the fall saw eaten away.  Unrelated to those, Ike the Bearded Dragon continues to grow in appetite, size, and cuteness.  I am looking forward to setting aside some time in the near future to get the damned sensors talking to the light controllers, a project that has been on hold due to time constraints for MANY moons.  Beyond that, I have my eye on some really awesome aquaponics projects that I would like to eventually implement in a home I own (perhaps in Virginia… though that too is a story for a later date).  Towards that end, I will try and dedicate some of my sparse free time to getting more involved at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, to learn and/or hone the skillsets needed to make my own aquaponics setup a reality, some day.  All told, the spring should be a good time.

Photos

No photographs were taken to pair with this post… but this image simply felt right, in a way:

Soon.

Soon.

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