I just finished reading an interview with a guy named Dr. Nijay Gupta over at Variegated Christianity. I especially liked Gupta's comments on what to do after you get your degree. I think he's got some great advice to keep in mind for all those of you who may be in school or just got out. (Gupta's blogging partner, Chris, has also got a nice personal anecdote of what his journey through scholardom has looked like.)
What advice would you have for a recent seminary graduate?
I don’t mean to be trite, but I would say, “Trust God with open hands.” I think a lot of my frustration has come with over-planning – “I am going to do this, and then this, and then this.” God had to break me of that thinking.
Secondly, know how privileged you are. So many post-seminarians just throw up their hands and say, “Well, that was a waste – maybe I will try a different field.” Fine, go where God leads. But know that it is a huge privilege and blessing to have done a seminary degree and there are churches and ministries starving for help and wisdom. Even if you don’t become a minister or missionary, whatever you do, try to be a good steward of what God has given you (knowledge, wisdom, training). Embrace opportunities to share what you know with others.
Finally, network. It is a dirty word to some (“schmoozing”), but just having a strong friendship network is one of the best ways to get connected to job opportunities. You don’t have to pretend or suck up or put on a show. Just make plans to go to conferences of interest to you or other group situations and make friends. It can be awkward, but it has blessed me in so many ways (wish I had time to tell you about the African Pentecostals who made some noise praying for me when they pulled me aside at SBL a couple of years ago!).