It looks like we’re going to have a great semester here at old East Georgia State College! The hallways are packed and students are trying to find their room assignments, make new friends, wait in long lines at the book store and just get comfortable with life after high school. It’s not easy! You’d think that with all these electronic gizmos and computer knowledge, these young folks have the answers of the universe in the palms of their hands. Confusion reigns!
When I first attended old Marshall back in West Virginia, all students were ushered into the gymnasium, which was about the size of a football field. There must have been 10,000 of us in a building that could contain perhaps 500 average people at best. Yes, I do embellish a tad, but it was like standing in line on a hot summer day at Disney World. Some 10 or 15 tables were piled with papers full of information — no computers back then — and each table was identified: ABC, DEF, GHI, ad infinitum, History, Math, Economics and If You Are Lost. At each table sat a wise and oddly dressed professor type just waiting to meet each student with a smile and a large vocabulary. After being in line for about 30 minutes, this kindly man or woman would greet us with, “My class is full. Print your name on this sheet and if there’s an opening, you’ll be contacted. Next!”
I soon found that every class I had selected was full and I ended up at the “If You Are Lost” table with about 8,000 other people. This table was manned by six graduate students who filled out our registrations cards. The first semester, I took three gym classes and some other offerings like cake decorating, basket weaving and higher addition and subtraction. I digress.
Amazingly, even with all of this new technology, most every class is full in the first 15 minutes, and students are pleading with the teachers to consider an override and allow just one more desk in their overcrowded rooms. It seems almost impossible, but just about every student gets the class he or she wants.
This is really the easy part! From the first day on, we try to share every scrap of knowledge and every piece of wisdom that we have so that no student will be disappointed when it comes to an education. This hasn’t changed either in all these years.
“Why must I take Math, English or Government, to name a few disciplines? Will they help me get a job? All I want are the essentials.” Our answer, “Every class teaches the specifics that must be mastered in order to qualify for the next level. Math teaches us to solve problems. English teaches us to communicate in clear and precise written words and Government enables us to understand and participate in the administration of laws and procedures that make our country viable and strong. You will learn integrity, accountability, responsibility, maturity and the ability to be a team player and critical thinking. You will be able to get a job, keep a job and give back to your world a piece of the blessing that the world has given you!”
Are we being prepared for life at this level? Let’s see: I must always train my brain so it can help me meet every new obstacle with insight and action. I must be prepared to grow and change as this world evolves in an ever complex and unique way. Wait a minute! What am I leaving out? So I’m reasonably intelligent and fairly mature, but what have I forgotten?
Forgive me! I am a created being! I must understand that I have a purpose and an identity given to me by a force beyond my limited comprehension. I call that force, God.
I pick up His textbook, the Bible, and I begin to read of His teachings, His directions, His plans and now I know the purpose of my education and my life. There are no lines I must stand in to meet the Perfect Teacher, Jesus Christ. The classroom may be filled, but there is always room for one more student. The Teacher knows my name and is very patient with me. I know that one day, soon, my Teacher will stand with me as I graduate and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful student, enter the joy that is meant for you.”
I will be so overcome with the moment that I won’t be able to hear the applause.