The Best Student: Presence

College Student2

Hello friends! This week marks for several students (including this author) the return to classes. In my case, I'm in a two week long intensive class which will leave me very little time to blog. And so I've set up these auto-entries to explore what it looks like to bring your A game to your work in the classroom. This week is all about being the best student!


When I was in college, I set a world record. Not the kind that I (or my parents for that matter) would be very proud of. When it came to my major classes, I was there like clockwork. Anything dealing with religion or education, my rear was in the seat each and every day. If the class was outside my major however, I was never there. I had discovered that no one was going to get mad at me or say anything if I didn't show up, and so I often didn't. As a not too surprising result, I would do very well in my major classes, and my grades in my other classes left much to be desired. 


I'm older and wiser now, and hopefully you are too. Hopefully if you're in school you realize that not attending your classes is a fairly ridiculous idea. But what if showing up for class is about more than simply walking in the door? What if presence is more than simply filling a chair? 


I can't tell you how many nights last year during seminary that I walked into class after a long day, well beyond tired. I would be in the chair, and I would even take notes, but I wasn't there mentally. I wasn't present. Or perhaps I did have plenty of energy, and I was on top of my game. But speaking of games, the Penguins were on that night, and my eyes were glued to my score center updates! I wasn't present. 


Presence is very important when it comes to being a good student. In our multi-tasking culture, we have likely all mastered what it looks like to float through an activity while our minds are somewhere else. We might look pretty engaged, but in the end we're as far away from the topic as we could get. Our minds are back home, or in our beds, or in our troubles, or in our joys. 


For me, if I'm going to continue as a seminary student, then I need to give it my all. This means going to class well rested. This means setting the distractions aside (at least as best as possible). This means being present. Anything less is actually a lack of respect. It's disrespectful to the professor who has been planning this material for you. It's disrespectful to your classmates, who are trying their best to learn without disruption. And truthfully, it's disrespectful of yourself. You deserve better!


And it doesn't hurt to actually go to classes every once in a while!

Next time: Rhythm