Seminary (first) Semester 1 – Overall Summary

Going back to school for Seminary, I wanted to document my experience along the way. These updates might be useful for those thinking of going to Seminary, those checking out George W. Truett Theological Seminary as a school, or have been following my journey in life and ministry.  You can look for, at minimum, one summary video per semester. If you’d like to keep in touch with what I’m up to and to read/watch my life posts, you can follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook at @SejanaShines, where I post more regularly.  You can also subscribe to this blog for major updates at . I appreciate thoughtful conversation where we can each listen and share one another’s views, especially as it relates to faith and life, so reach out or comment and let’s chat!

In this video I talk about:

  • I believe God sent us to Fort Hood so that I would attend this particular seminary.
  • Looked for an in-person Seminary experience for Christian community (my husband is not a believer and my previous Master’s was from a mostly online academic program).
  • “Older student” with family that commuted to campus meant:
    • Intentional Lunch dates with peers, professors to maximize the time on campus.
    • Learning how to re-manage my time for school (and all that reading for homework!!) while still being connected to my family. It is important to me to not be ‘absent’ during this time I’m in school; we have two teens at home!
    • Enjoying the breaks when it came and enjoyed time with my family. (Maintained “family days” on Sundays as best as I could and had the kids help out more with meals. My husband helped by giving me uninterrupted time and quiet and often went to bed alone because I was still up trying to complete homework assignments.)
  • Military veteran that used the rest of my Post 9-11 GI Bill to pay for this first semester! Post on IG
  • Being a woman going to seminary, desiring to enter into formal ministry (but not all the women & students that attend have the same goals).
  • Baylor University connection and access – I often used the University Writing Center help with one-on-one support for academic writing.
  • Took advantage of opportunities to meet with professors and staff (as well as peers) to build connections, gain advice, and marvel at how God works in and through each of us!
  • Ministry connections for help with preparing for and gaining formal experience and opportunities to put what we are learning to action.
  • Truett Chapel on campus Tuesdays at 11am; can help with different aspects of worship if you respond to the call to be used and share your gifts. I helped with reading the scriptures here (Mar 9th) and I helped by playing guitar here (Mar 23rd). The sermons were GREAT, check it out!

Looking ahead to the next semester of studies, (which starts tomorrow for Summer 1) I wanted to keep these things in mind:

  • Continue to work on time management.
    • Prioritize school above the other obligations that I have had over the years (mentoring / discipling others meeting weekly) for this season. They understood and were encouraged to pray about and find others to invest in as well. #passiton
    • Try and work ahead a little, even one day ahead would be GREAT.
  • Continue to make lunch connections and plans with others weekly to build relationships, not just knowledge.
  • Follow the Lord where He leads.
    • Stay connected to Christ; prioritize that time above all things. It worked best when I started my day off, waking up earlier than others to connect with God and prepare breakfast. And all throughout the day, I remain aware of His presence with me and His involvement in all things.
    • Discerning the call verses what others may want from me.

Thanking God – A Few Praises for this (first) Semester

  • Recipient of 100% Tuition Scholarship! This was a big WOW, blessing to our family, and affirmation of how other’s can see God working through me for this competitive scholarship.
  • Mother’s Day 2021 was my first ever preaching opportunity (audio here). I learned A LOT from this experience which happened so fast! My family all came and I am thankful for this church and those in it who continue to lead in the absence of a permanent Pastor. I have more to say about my move and view (Biblically) towards women in ministry, but that is another video for another time!
  • Baptist Women in Ministry Two year Mentoring Cohort program acceptance (starts in July)!
  • Successful completion of my first semester in Seminary ending with all B’s and 1 A. I was scolded by my daughter about why didn’t I get ALL A’s but I had to tell her and remind myself that while grades have it’s purpose, the point is that I LEARNED SO MUCH, gained new relationships, maintained a solid family life (but it wasn’t without it’s own challenges- thank you Lord you are always ever present in my life helping me), gained a broader understanding of the Bible and how God is (and of course has been) working in the world and in His church over history and now, today!

Seminary Semester 1 Summary of CLASSES TAKEN

A very brief VLOG on what I most enjoyed from each of my four classes taken during my first semester at Truett Seminary for the Master of Divinity degree program. Please click on the name of the program here to learn more about these classes or the degree program for details. This was a full time class load (full time for the GI-Bill for a master’s level program is 9 graduate credits; I took 10 credits (Spiritual Formation is only 1 credit).

  • Spiritual Formation 1
  • Introduction to Christian Scriptures (I do not have an undergraduate degree in religion. There were a few students that did yet still took this course and learned a lot.
  • Leadership for Ministry
  • Baptist Identity

**Sorry about the sound of the POURING RAIN towards the end of the video. I have found this is life (at least this year anyway) in Central Texas!! I should do these videos over but…. this is real life and now I have some pre-summer semester 1 classwork to do that is DUE TODAY! I’ll try to be more aware of the sound next time folks! Hopefully you can hear what I shared about each course in the video… let me know if you can’t and want to know what I shared.

Stay Connected

I hope and expect to keep doing these Seminary updates at least one per Semester at a minimum throughout my journey. I remember looking online and didn’t find anything like this when I was searching for which school to attend and to know what it would be like. Perhaps this might be helpful for those interested in attending Seminary, checking out this particular school, or have been following and praying for my family and I. Reach out to me however you like and if you have thoughts to share that others might benefit from reading, be sure to comment on my post.



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