A Charge for Summer: 15 weeks & what to do with them

Right before the semester ended, an email went out to professors across various disciplines, asking for advice:

How can TMU students take advantage of their summer?

The consensus?

Read. Spend time with the local church. Read some more.

“Just read. Read many things and take the time to renew your relationship with God,” said Dr. Matt McLain, assistant professor of biology and geology in the School of Science, Mathematics, Technology and Health. “It’s also a good time to really get plugged into serving your local church.”

Professor Esther Chua, chair of the English Department, agreed: “Summer break is a great way to find refreshment in the body of Christ…, take time to build relationships with those who love God, spend time with loved ones, and find time to meditate on God’s word.”

Everyone knows the school year can be exhausting, but this is “a way to build up the storehouses for the upcoming activities/responsibilities and be able to do it clear-sightedly,” Chua said.

She also suggested that students choose to read something outside of their interests by investigating the new book arrivals list at their local library.

“Summer provides 15 uninterrupted weeks to explore the new world of books,” wrote Professor Matt Brown of the Pearl S. Wismer School of Education. For those who want a method to their madness, rather than a new arrivals list, Brown offered a more systematic way of going about summer reading. In fact, he recommended taking up a summer reading challenge, and offered this one below:

  • A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, science fiction, fantasy, western, etc.)
  • A book about nature
  • A one-sitting book
  • A book you have read before
  • A memoir
  • A book of social science
  • A book of fiction in translation
  • An essay anthology
  • A book about sports
  • A comic or graphic novel
  • A collection of poetry
  • An assigned book you hated (or never finished…or never read)

If you follow Dr. Kevin Hill’s advice to “read every day and do something active every day” or “do both at the same time (and) put an audiobook on your phone…” then getting through Brown’s reading challenge will be a breeze.

Brown urged TMU students to “enjoy their summers” because “they don’t have too many of those left, but keep in mind that none of our time should ever be frivolously wasted.” Many alumni would say current students don’t recognize the blessing of summer break until it’s too late. Once you have a career, summers aren’t ever the same, and you likely won’t have those blissful 15 uninterrupted weeks as a working adult.

How can you make those weeks profitable, not frivolous? President Dr. John MacArthur urges the believer to ask themselves these questions when considering activities and responsibilities:

  1. Will it be spiritually profitable?
  2. Will it build me up?
  3. If I do this, will it hinder my running the race of faith?
  4. If I do this, will it be likely to start a habit? A good one or a bad one?
  5. Will it be consistent with Christlikeness?
  6. Will it glorify God?

So, read. Take advantage of your free time. Work heartily as unto the Lord alongside others who love God, and have fun. Brown concluded his advice with this: “Make it meaningful… make it count!”

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