When I was in High School I occasionally got lunch detention (aka. Study Hall). Looking back, I couldn’t tell you what I did… but I’m sure I deserved it. That said, I will admit that it wasn’t really punishment. I mean, I got 30 minutes of peace and quiet to finish all my homework… then when I got out, there was no waiting in the lunch line… PERFECT!
Seminary requires a lot of reading, studying, and thinking. Without giving adequate consideration to these three areas, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble. So, here are 5 lessons I learned from study hall that I think will help us be more productive in our seminary studies:
- No talking – If there was ever a rule that you remember in study hall it was “NO TALKING.” … total silence … With no one to talk to you had three options, read, study or think (I know… you think there is a fourth option, but sleep was the second sin after talking).
When approaching your studies try and find a place that you will be able to devote yourself wholly to your task. This means avoiding the front of the library where you see all your classmates coming and going and avoiding the coffee shop where everyone knows your name. It also means you might need to leave your house (unless you live alone or with roommates that hate you).
Do your best to find a place where you can sit and truly engage in your work without distraction… One thing I know for sure, I was never more productive with my home work than in study hall.
- Lunch is long – Since my study hall lasted for half the lunch period, it felt like I was being robbed of eating time… Everyone else got the entire period to eat… but not me. Surely I’ll have to run out of here and scarf down the mystery meat with barely time to get to my next class. Wrong! The reality is that I was never rushed for lunch. I always had time to get my food, eat it, and even hang out with my friends.
When studying, you might feel like you’re missing out on a whole lot or that the rest of your life will be a mad rush when you get finished with your assignment. The reality is that you aren’t going to miss as much as you think… in fact, it might make things better (see #3)
- No lines after study hall – I don’t know how your school did it, but I remember a mad rush to get to the cafeteria. There was alway a line and if you were one of the last people to get in the cafeteria then you could easily wait 10 or 15 minutes in line. However, when study hall let out I always walked calmly up to the line and got my food… no waiting at all!
The lesson here is that you don’t always have to rush with the crowd. Evaluate your time and realize that sometimes it is just better to sit and study while other “stand in line.”
- The tie that binds – Study Hall always seemed to bond people… remember The Breakfast Club. This should be especially true for seminary students.
As we sit and study our creator and his work in the earth it should transform us. After a good study session we should be, I would hope, changed and transformed more into the image of Jesus. Our relationship with and passion for our King should be stronger than when we first sat down.
- You don’t ask for extra study hall – I never walked out of study hall thinking, “No, I don’t want to hang out with my friends and eat lunch… I’d rather go sit in that quite, uncomfortable room with the teacher constantly saying ‘shh’ and staring at me.” No, when it was over, I was ready to get out and live my life.
When studying in seminary, set aside your time and place for study and then leave it there. As you give yourself fully to study, so to give yourself fully to other people in your life. When your “study hall” is over, invest in your friends and family. You’re family doesn’t want to hear, “not now, I’m studying.”Having a place to focus and study without distraction will allow you to focus on other things once you’re on “the outside.”
All this talk of high school cafeterias has me craving tater tots… mmmmm… tater tots…