Well, I’m a week into it now. The first weekend at college was last weekend. It was great to meet the other students on the course; 28 of us in total, and only 5 chaps in the group. I feel happier having met the other students as well as the staff on the course, to start putting faces to names and to start getting more of a feel for the course. It also feels like a real time of transition. It’s taken me 10 years of pondering, prayer and faffing to get to this point; it’s been a potential future for such a long time, but now it’s time to actually get my head down and get stuck into the study.
It was good to sit down with my training minister this week, and to talk through expectations. I was also really relieved to meet my tutor this week. I will be having a 1:1 tutor, as there are no other tutees in this area. I was a little nervous going to meet her in the week, as 3 years 1:1, I really hoped that we would hit it off, and that the conversation would flow / we’d be able to work together. It was a good sign when I said that I was nervous and she said that she had been too. I hadn’t really thought of it from her side, but I guess equally unsure what I would be like and whether I would engage easily in conversation.
I’ve found this week quite hard, getting my head into the studies. It’s a long time since I’ve read books in an academic way; i.e. where I need to actually take in & digest what I’m reading, and potentially be able to do something with the information. I’m slowly finding my way back into taking notes, and that heavier concentration while reading to get my head round the concepts. We have our first assignment already; to pick a prayer, hymn or psalm and reflect on our response to it. I’m unsure at the moment which text to pick; I’m also feeling a little nervous about putting together my first assignment -particularly a reflective one. It will be good though, to try and work out my response to a text, and work through my affective response to it – I think I find it easier to hide behind the head type response rather than the heart.
The other part of the course that I’ve started to get my head round is the local learning group. I need to create / facilitate a small group of people as we go through the course. The aims are to help keep me grounded in reality! And to help me bring theology into conversation / discussion with others. In preparing /thinking about it, I’ve realised that my strong desire to control things is rearing its head again; especially as I’m feeling unsure about what the group will be like, and what we will discussing. Almost the more unsure / insecure I feel about something, the more I want to contain it, control it and direct it. I’ve deliberately invited some people to join the group that will challenge me on that; and will pick up when I’m doing it too! However, I’m still feeling that need / want to control. So for me, at the moment, I know when in the next year the groups will happen, but other than the first group, I don’t have any idea what we will be asked to do within the group. I like to get my head around things, to plan; and also I feel like I want to be able to share that plan with the group… now part of that, I think, is that I want to be in control of what we will be discussing, and where that discussion might go… I’m feeling the need to control what God might do with the group, and direct it…. eeek, how arrogant is that?! So I need to continue to learn to let go, to trust God and to trust the other people. To use this group as an opportunity to let the group develop its own way; for me to truly facilitate it, to listen to those within the group, and be guided by them. (I have a lot of learning to do.)