I started my graduate life in the autumn of 1988, almost 20 years ago, reading theology at the London School of Theology. I was so desperate to leave, and not very happy with my experience overall, but as the years have gone by my memories have become much fonder.
I remember the stresses of being a student, with a wry smile. Having a full time job, commuting, wife, kids, and then being bi-vocational, make me realise, the sheer expanse of time I had then, that I don't now.
The there was the romance of meeting my now wife Bev, and parallel romance of discovering Vineyard Churches, and the subsequent years of amazing experiences in church plants and of ministry.
The toughest times were having to put myself and then my fiance through our degrees. I was too young to be a mature student, and my parents too delinquent to help me in any way financially. Towards the end of my course, I was worked 12 different jobs, evenings, weekends, and term breaks in my last year. Working to pay for two lots of fees was tiring.
And during that whole process and time I was a typical student, who did as little as possible, to get the best grade I could. But I missed out on a deep learning experience, and wish with hindsight I had engaged more in learning then.
So now I find myself after several years into more education, on a second doctorate, a PhD at Kings College London. So this year I have imbibed as much of the university as I can. I have read books about he college and it's history, attended all the induction seminars, and receptions for post graduate students.
I have visited the Chapel, libraries, and had some time to study on site, and just soak up the romance of being a student at such a wonderful university. I have gotten my NUS student union card for cinema discounts, and even visited the university shop and have the King's coffee mug on my office desk, along with choral music from the choir at King's (that I listen to in the mornings when I study).
I might have less time than ever (I do most of my studies from 5:30 am to 9 am each morning) but my fees are being paid, and I am grateful to Jesus for this learning opportunity. And I am making sure I enter into a larger educational experience, in a way I didn't get to nearly 20 years ago.