Being a 5% student is one of the running jokes I have with my friends whom I serve with in church. The reason being this: We don’t spend much time in school during the term. And even when we’re in school, we’re usually attending meetings, having meal appointments, or planning for church ministry.
It’s only in the final weeks of the semester, with impending essay deadlines and exams, where we pull all-nighters as we scramble to cover one semester’s worth of content within a couple of days.
But as I approach my fourth and final year in university, my friends and I recognise that while we may responsible leaders in church, we’re certainly not the most model students around. And therein we have a problem.
Granted, it’s hard. Most of us, whether we’re involved in church ministries or not, are part-time students and full-time jugglers.
We juggle all the expectations we have of ourselves and those that others have of us – be it parents, friends, university, extra-curricular activities, and as we proceed, we just hope that we don’t drop anything.
I’m always thankful for the flexibility of university life because not only do I get the freedom to attend classes that I am interested in, I’m also in control of my schedule and should be able to plan for the amount of time/effort required for each t0-do.
But with a college student’s schedule that fills up so easily and quickly, the time/effort allocated for each item is often far underestimated. What happens then?
Most of us end up constantly arranging and living our lives according to our shifting priorities – myself included. What demands my attention now? What is the most pressing issue I must settle?
And who else gets me when I say that studies very easily becomes one of the last priorities throughout the semester, simply because nothing is due that urgently? The stack of recommended readings only ever seems to increase in size.
Chasing priorities in life, however, leaves us drained and physically exhausted quickly. And to replenish our energy, we “borrow” time from yet another priority. Again, it’s usually our studies that take a further hit.
It seems understandable to skip a couple of lectures or tutorials here and there – we will catch up on the work eventually, right? Yet we only have a finite 24 hours a day, so whatever time is lost, is gone, never to be seen again.
Each of us is a multitude of identities: We are students, we are leaders, we are team-mates, we are sons and daughters, we are brothers and sisters. But how easily we forget that we are also, most importantly, bearers of His name.
Wouldn’t it be alarming if our classmates looked at our indifferent attitude towards school and asked, “Does this mean that as a Christian, you will have no time to study?” Perhaps we must consider that our testimonies as people of God must measure up wherever we go – from church, to family, to school.
There just might be a need to take a hard but truthful look at your school work to evaluate your attitude – and corresponding efforts – towards this station of life that you’re in. Are your mediocre results because of a lack of revision? Did you write this paper the day before the deadline because of poor time management?
Here’s a big one for many of us: What is your class attendance like?
As Christians, we have the privilege of grace that surpasses our weaknesses and inadequacies even in school work, but we also have the responsibility of bearing a good testimony for the sake of Christ (1 John 5: 10) – in the school as much as we are in the church – or all the more so!
God is just as present when we are in school as when we are in church.
Bearing good testimony therefore involves honouring the standards of the educational institution we are in because that honours God as well. God is just as present when we are in school as when we are in church. Why else will be given this sphere of influence with this group of people – for such a time as this?
He will not waste any means – yes, even the least exciting classes we’re stuck in week in and week out – that He can use to save some. That is, those who cross our paths because we are where we are.
In the new, upcoming semester, my challenge to you, whether you are a freshmen or a returning student, by all means possible, is to be a good testimony for Christ in your schools.
Hopefully from there, you will find it easier to plan a schedule that honours God through all your commitments: A 100% student, 100% Christian.