Ok, I’ll admit, time-management is not my strength. I understand the principles, and I can do it big-picture style (ie, I can keep particular days and times clear for particular reasons), I’m just not good at the practical application of it to the minutiae of my life! Therefore it’s been more than a little while since my last blog post.
I feel guilty about this, since I deliberately set this blog up to let people know what I was up to – to those people I wholeheartedly apologise. But, as you might guess from the title and the lack of blogging, things have been rather busy. Term is well and truly started. Inducting has been done. Despite starting only a few short weeks ago we are no longer new students. We are now a full two weeks into lectures – the madness/strangeness of Cambridge includes the fact that lecture weeks start on a Thursday and run until the following Wednesday (with Term being 8 weeks long). So, it’s been two weeks. And what, some will be asking, does a typical week look like? While lectures run from Thursday to Wednesday, I’ll take this in the usual order:
Monday: Start with morning worship at 8.15-8.30, using one of the liturgical orders of service available to us; take the wee one to school then bike (see Lanky Anglican’s views here for an accurate reflection of my own views on the joys of cycling in Cambridge) over to DivFac (that’s the Faculty of Divinity, on the Sidgewick Road site) for a double lecture on the history of Christian art. This is followed by a dash up Queen’s Road to Westminster College for just inside an hour’s worth of Hebrew. After that, head up St Edmund’s College (all Bachelor of Theology for Ministry, or BTh, students are a member of a College of the University – Eddie’s, as it is known, is mine) for some lunch, before heading back down Queen’s Road to Ridley for a double lecture on Christian Ethics. When this finishes at just before 4.00pm I get some time before doing dinner for Mrs Nomad when she gets home with the wee one from trampolining.
Tuesday: Again, worship at 8.15-8.30pm, this time in whatever form the student(s) leading have chosen. This is followed by a mad dash to get the wee one to school and me to Westminster for more Hebrew, which starts at 9.05am. I then have a quick cycle down Queen’s Road to Ridley for a seminar relating to the Pastoral Portfolio that all BTh students must submit towards the end of their final year here in Cambridge. This is a big piece of work, involving reflections on two different placements/attachments plus a creative piece that can be more personal which must still have a pastoral focus/application (I am considering producing a Bible Study series using The West Wing as a focus). Things are then pretty free until collecting the wee one from school at 3.20pm. I then need to take her to a 5.00pm Double Bass lesson 2-3 miles and a half-hour drive away (no way the DB can be carried on a bike, even at 1/8th size it’s rather large and awkward!). I then need to be back for either Federation Worship or Community (Wesley House) Worship at 6.00pm. Then dinner.
Wednesday: start at 7.45am with reflective worship and breakfast with my Worship Group (all Wesley students are in a Worship Group that, on a weekly rota, takes turns organising the various worship services during the week). Then wee one to school and a crazy, pelaton-like sprint to Ridley for double Christian Doctrine starting at 9.05am. I then get a little break of about an hour before heading to MBIT for a lecture on Reading the Christian Bible (this is a multi-purpose course, looking at the Bible in terms of its vast contents and on how to approach the interpretation of those contents – so not trying to do a lot then!) After that I’m clear until the wee one needs collecting, this time at about 4.15pm owing to running club.
Thursday: This is the really busy day, starting with a 30-minute communion service at 8.15am. Then it’s wee one to school before heading to Westminster for Hebrew at 10.05am. After this I stay at Westminster for a double session of Further NT Studies, currently working through Romans, with Mark to come later in the term. Then I have 5mins to get back to Wesley for a bring & share lunch with my fellow Methodist students before a 2hr session on Life & Service in the Methodist Tradition – an exploration of the history, theology and practice of Methodism. Once finished at just before 4pm I have a gap until Community Dinner at 6.30pm. This is a wonderful opportunity to share food and company with the whole Wesley community, including family and friends, and so all 3 of us go to this. This is followed, for me, by an evening session on Methodist Theology & Spirituality and an evening service of Compline (this is available every night of the week but a formal part of the timetable on Thursdays).
Friday: worship at 8.15 is almost entirely quiet and reflective. People bring their own Bibles, read the appropriate passage, and use the quiet to reflect and pray. It’s a great way to finish the academic week. Friday is also the day when I don’t have any lectures so much work is done on this day.
Saturday: Family day! This usually means a lie-in, a supermarket shop, and then other things, like shopping in town, going for a bike-ride, exploring new places, going swimming, or just slobbing out in front of the tv! The evening meal is often takeaway or a meal out.
Sunday: Church in the morning. Sometimes I will be preaching or, like this coming Sunday, heading out to a church with a small group of fellow students and a member of staff to assess a service led by another fellow student. On other Sundays we will head, as a family, to our local Methodist Church, Wesley Church. Then it’s a case of various things possibly happening – some studying, some housework, lunch. I try to get over to Jesus College (just next door) for rugby training with their team for a couple of hours. We eat our family meal in the evening.
So that’s it, a typical week. Except, of course, it isn’t. Because those gaps aren’t gaps – there are things that need doing. Reading books, articles, and other things; writing essays or essay plans for supervisions (the Cambridge system is built around supervisions, in which 3 or 4 students meet with a tutor to discuss a relevant question, to which each student has already written an answer in essay or essay-plan form and sent it to one another before the supervision); supervisions themselves; preparing worship and/or a sermon for either a College service or one elsewhere; going over lecture notes; meeting with fellow students to discuss lectures and supervisions; keeping up with admin, such as emails; researching for assessed essays (due in May – oh yes, I should mention, supervision essays are a requirement but are not marked in the usual sense of the word and do not count towards your final grade); housework; cooking; eating.
As you can see, that all leaves very little time for blogging! Still, as things progress and timings become clearer I dope hope to manage my time a bit more efficiently and effectively. In the meantime I hope those of you who are interested a) can get a flavour of the many things I’m up to and b) can understand why blogging has somewhat slipped down the priority list recently.
For now, whether busily or calmly, travel well,