Have you met the interns yet? They're pretty amazing. The following post is from Kristin Caldwell. She's a graduate of Central Washington University and is becoming an expert at navigating public transportation in the city.
Moving across the country to minister at a different campus obviously requires a whole lot of adjustment. Certain adjustments I anticipated, others not so much.
To say that Georgetown is an academic school is an understatement. I came here knowing that this school was on a whole different level academically from the one I attended, but I had no idea of the implications of that. Probably the biggest unanticipated adjustment is in terms of time.
Students here are busy. There were certain quarters during my own college experience that I would have called busy, but those were nothing compared to the average student schedule here. Not only do students spend countless hours in the library every week (usually including multiple all-nighters), but they are also involved in every extracurricular activity, employment, volunteer or internship opportunity imaginable. Anything to build up a resume. Needless to say, finding a break in their schedules to hold a one-on-one or Lifegroup has been challenging.
I was rather disillusioned upon discovering the reality that you generally have an hour of these students’ time at best. How on earth were we supposed to have deep and impactful Lifegroup meetings with only an hour together every week? It just didn’t seem like enough time to facilitate both relationships and a meaningful discussion.
Yet I’m discovering that just because these students are busy doesn’t mean that they don’t want relationships or opportunities to go deeper in their faith—these things just have to happen faster. Because students know they do not have much time, they are more willing to open up sooner. There becomes a whole lot less time for small talk.
As an introvert, making small talk is often more challenging than discussing theology or talking through spiritual struggles. I’m realizing that students are receptive to big questions because they love talking about issues concerning faith and the world in general. Initially this was intimidating because I was concerned that I didn’t know enough to have a discussion. However I’m finding myself being challenged to think about my faith in ways that I hadn’t before. These conversations are certainly stretching, but I’m also learning a ton.
Doing ministry here at Georgetown will always have its challenges and frustrations, but many of these challenges are also what make this campus unique. Every single student here has dreams of impacting the world, and that is a beautiful thing. Despite the culture of busyness, it is still possible to reach them with the love of Christ. It just looks different.