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Magna Cum Laud

May 20, 2009

P1020768I never thought I would ever go to graduate school. I was not a very good student when I got my bachelors degree. I skipped class, didn’t know how to study, and couldn’t read for comprehension. I didn’t care what my graduating GPA was (3.0) because it didn’t matter. I got my first real job in February before graduation, so I was set. No more scholarship requirements. No one would EVER care about my GPA again! Fast forward 2 years…

I got a billboard from God that I should go to seminary. I decided that I needed to at least give seminary a shot. It was the summer of 2006 and I was working full-time as a youth minister. I didn’t want to commit to a degree, but I did need to give graduate school a chance. I printed out the application and began working on it. I worked for several months on the application and decided that I would get recommendations and turn it in. Might as well! I was accepted to Perkins in December of 2006 for the Fall of 2007. I still had not committed to actually GOING to graduate school, but at least I had options. Fast forward 4 months…

Several life changes made me keenly aware that Perkins is where I needed to be. I entered as a Master of Divinity candidate, a 84 hour degree program including a 12 hour internship. I contemplated switching to the Master of Theological Studies program (48 hours) almost immediately because of time, money, and the ordination factor. (An MDiv is required for ordination in the UMC. I am confident that I am NOT being called to ordination.) Switching, mind you, is more than simply filling out a piece of paper. It is less like switching majors and more like completely reapplying, letters of recommendation and everything. So I waited. After the first year of school, good grades and all, I knew I had found my place. But the tuition bills were high and an MDiv would mean 4 expensive years of school. I officially reapplied as an MTS student in July/August/September/October with a tentative graduation date of May 2009.

I received 2 Bs my entire two years in seminary. I’m pretty proud of that. I moved several times, broke up, started dating, went to Puerto Rico, got engaged, changed jobs, planned a wedding, and worked very hard. My graduating GPA? 3.762. I don’t say this to brag, but because I didn’t even think I could GO to grad school. Not only did I make it, but I thrived. Trying new things is scary. Failure is scary. Adventures are exciting, but also scary!

On Saturday I was hooded in an incredibly beautiful ceremony in a gorgeous (mega) church. It was a powerful experience. “L e a n n e H o p e L i n d g r e n, Magna Cum Laud.” I was proud of myself for doing something that was scary and really hard. I was honored to be gathered with incredible people. While I’m sad to be leaving Perkins, I am so thankful for the supportive environment that Perkins provided…not just for me but for many. I am thrilled to be marrying a Perkins alum. I am also blessed to have several Perkins alums in my very close circle of friends. I have no idea where I am going to go next in life, but I am thankful for the foundation I received in graduate school as I know that experience has enriched my life and will open doors in the future.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Pam DeSimone permalink
    May 21, 2009 9:51 am

    Leanne, that is a wonderful story and so inspiring! Just doing the next right thing and keeping centered is so important. I am thrilled that you are part of my family and so proud to even know you.
    I love you,
    Aunt Pam

  2. mom permalink
    May 21, 2009 8:37 pm

    I’m so happy to read your history. I’m so proud of what you’ve done! You should, certainly, be proud of yourself! I know grades don’t come to you easily, so your graduating GPA is magnificent! You have accomplished so much and have so much in store for you!
    I love you,
    Mom

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