Jordan had spent three years in the RAF, and another three driving a truck. With a history of addictions, he was hungry for change, but anxious about the demands of College: he didn’t know what to expect, or where it would lead.
Initially, study provided a release from my circumstances and I was not able to switch of my brain to open up my eyes to God. However, I believe God has blessed me with a deep love of theology. My enrolment onto the Master of Arts programme at NTC was a step into the unknown. I completed my Batchelor of Arts in June 2017 and decided to continue my studies in September.
Although I did reasonably well in my undergraduate studies, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I would have the necessary level of academic skill, or indeed the ability to cope with the pressure, to achieve what I wanted to achieve with the MA. However, I had a strong feeling that pursuing postgraduate study was the logical step and would allow me to develop further the skills that I gained during the BA.
The structure of the MA programme was a daunting prospect for me. I struggle with confidence and expressing myself clearly, so the idea that I would have to deliver a seminar paper in front of fellow students who would be free to challenge me was downright scary. However, the environment at NTC is such that those fears are soon dispelled by supportive faculty and students. We are all learning together and we are privileged to be able to share and develop our ideas with other people.
It stretches you to your limits but then, more often than not, you find that your limits are not as rigid as you may have thought.
The BA taught me a great deal about the discipline of theology and opened my eyes to things that never been on my radar previously. However, I feel that the MA taught me more about myself and my ability to deal with demanding situations. The stress that students feel is entirely relative, but personally the MA was one of the most stressful years of my life. I’m not going to hide the fact that postgraduate study takes a great deal of time, commitment, and patience. It stretches you to your limits but then, more often than not, you find that your limits are not as rigid as you may have thought. I am someone who often struggles with matters of faith and Christian living, but I feel strongly that none of this would have been possible without the love of God.
I’m writing this piece two weeks after the completion of my MA and I am currently preparing a proposal for a PhD application at the University of Manchester. I expect that the transition from MA to PhD will present an entirely different set of challenges. 12 months ago I had convinced myself that I wasn’t ready for study at Master’s level; now, I’m having the same mental conversation about the PhD! But, for the most part, I am excited to embark on another journey that I hope will help shape me further into the person that I am committed to being.
I would recommend a postgraduate degree in theology to anybody with a love for the discipline and a desire to stretch themselves personally, spiritually, emotionally and academically.