Beginning Well: New Academic Year

We’re starting a new academic year that looks and feels unlike any other — and yet some things remain the same. Pandemic or no, we’ll still be writing, reading, thinking, and experiencing the many facets of life.

We’re glad to share our Beginning Well series for a new academic year. There’s so much good thinking and encouragement in all of these pieces, relevant in and out of changing times. Two pieces we especially love that seem particularly relevant to our wildly irregular fall 2020 semester are Carmen Imes’s “Scholar’s Prayer” and Stephanie White’s piece on goal setting — she creates goals even when she sits down to work for an hour!

Whether you are gearing up for a new stage in your career or returning for your umpteenth year of tenure, let these articles from The Well encourage you to pursue your calling to the best of your ability this fall.
by Anna Plantinga
"Is academia a frivolous waste of time when we could be telling people about Jesus, or is there a deeper significance to a life of learning? And if learning is worthwhile on an eternal scale, are some questions more worthy than others?" Anna Plantinga reflects on these important questions.
by Carmen Imes
“I like 'back to school' season. But I need more time! I want more time to prepare for a new semester, more time to play with my kids, more time to 'make something' of my summer. What do I have to show for these long hours with no classes, no assignments, no grading, no committee meetings?”

By Grace and Faith: Resisting the Academic Meritocracy
by Debra Sulai
"Christianity says that not only do we not have to go it alone, we can’t possibly do so, nor should we. It flatly contradicts the academy’s founding myth of the direct relationship between success and individual merit." Debra Sulai explores the spiritually damaging nature of self-reliance in academia.
by Carmen Imes
Carmen Imes begins her days of scholarship and work with this prayer. 
by Bob Trube
"The practice of attentiveness not only makes us more aware of the presence of the Lord throughout our day. Prayerful attentiveness can also be a critical element in our scholarship. Many times over the years, we’ve seen the Lord illuminate thorny research problems as we’ve prayed for his insight into his created order."
by Stephanie Magdalena White
"I’ve started taking about two minutes to answer these questions every time I sit down to work for even an hour, and I’ve been amazed at how useful they are." 
Comment via Facebook