Dear first year theology student,
I have just started my sixth year of a part time BA degree, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Firstly, welcome to an amazing journey. It will be worth your energy and the things you have sacrificed to make this happen. In my experience theology is exhilarating and captivating. Secondly, if you let it, it will take you deeper and further in your relationship with God. You will grow in the things of God, and it will help you appreciate the nuances of faith and belief. If you are studying part time you will be juggling study and everyday life, and here’s what I really wish to tell you: if/when life gets difficult (and if you are studying for a long period of time, life can change a lot) try and keep going with your studies. Even when things are really tough, try your hardest to keep at it. Not for some vain reason, or out of dogged determination, but because it will ground you (and your faith) in a way I cannot explain. During my second term of my first year my husband died very suddenly, and I was shaken to the core (I know we sing songs about not being shaken but big events do shake you up…but let me not get started on that). Within hours of John’s death I decided to keep studying as at that point it was the only thing I had in my life that produced any joy for me. It was hard to keep going and my first essay back was appalling BUT I had to think through things of faith, I had to face the challenges I was going through with God. What I found was that God showed me his goodness and mercy through my studying. A year and a half later my sister died by suicide, and by God graciousness I managed to carry on with my degree, again not easy, but worth it. Again, I was shown the goodness and mercy of God. Earlier this year my Dad passed away. At almost every stage I have been a few essays behind, it is only now that I have finally caught up. So even if you struggle, even if you are behind, even if you doubt, keep going. I promise you it is worth it.
A very grateful and thankful, nearly finished, BA Student.