Home Stretch

I can’t believe that the semester and the school year is over in about a month.  It feels like the semester only just began.  There’s lots of work to do yet before the end of the semester.

I haven’t been diligent with my Hebrew vocabulary, a shortcoming which shows up when we’re asked to translate.  Would you like me parse all the verbs in this sentence?  Sure thing.  Would you like me to translate it? Not just now.

Our Hebrew professor said something interesting last week: she pegged our class as “high achieving”. She didn’t mean this as a compliment so much as simply a fact about our work habits. High achieving, or perhaps over-achieving, means we are perfectionists in our work, perhaps putting more time into it than is necessary (or even healthy).

I would never have considered myself a high achiever, but I think she’s right. I agonize over papers because I want them to be just so. I sometimes spend much more time on my Hebrew translation than I can afford, simply because I want to get it just right.

Part of the motivating factor is that I do not want my assignments to simply be a product I turn out. Production is what I did for the most part in university, I think. I have much more purpose in seminary and I want to learn while doing assignments, rather than just creating a product which meets the professor’s specifications. This is a good thing, but it’s not always achievable (or, again, healthy).

I have a good number of papers to complete by the end of the semester.  Seven, by my count, after I hand one in tomorrow, though 3 of them are short and/or not difficult. What I need to learn is to find the balance between high achieving and simply creating a product. I need to find the median place where I can say “OK, that’s enough” while I’m researching and “that’ll do” as I’m writing.  The goal is not mediocrity, but being realistic with the time available for various assignments, rest, family, etc.

The problem with me is this: I’m a high achiever who lacks discipline. Which means I am an inefficient high achiever. This is doubly problematic.

Throw into this mix three papers for a professor who assigns open-ended papers with no fixed deadlines (other than the end of the semester), and if I’m not careful I face the prospect of having to write three fairly major papers in a space of two weeks or less.

Then it’ll be over for a bit, before I launch into what some might call “suicide Greek”, which is a two-semester course crammed into the month of May. But at least it’ll be the only class I have, so I’ll be able to focus my efforts.

Lord, have mercy.

2 thoughts on “Home Stretch

  1. Mark

    Hey Marc, way to go at making it so far and being able to see into the home stretch. I was always jealous of high achievers, being a “just a little better then good enough” type myself. Good luck as you finish the semester (hang in there!) and please tell Dixie thanks the food she dropped off here recently!

  2. Jay

    Hang in there, Marc. I used to be the type to produce for grades, not learning. If I knew then what I know now… Well, ’nuff said.

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