From President Hankins – A Message to Grad Students

CFH Grad Students,

A new academic year is upon us. For some of you it is your first in grad school. For others, you’ve been at it for many years now, perhaps nearing completion of your Ph.D.

Both prospects and everything in between can be exhilarating and terrifying.

When I was in grad school, the job market was about like it is now, perhaps worse. At times I was tempted to doubt whether I should be preparing for a profession with such a dismal record of career placement. In order to keep moving forward, I often thought of my situation like this:

Question: What do I want to do with my life?

Answer: Read, think, write, and teach.

Question: What am I doing currently in my grad work?

Answer: Reading, thinking, writing, and teaching.

I concluded that the right door had already opened, and I had been successfully placed in the career to which I felt called. I decided that as long as that door stayed open, I would continue in this vocation. Thirty years later, I’m still doing those things.

As much as is possible, concentrate on your calling in the situation you find yourself in at the moment. As an act of faith, believe that the papers you write, the lectures you give, and the discussions you lead, all contribute to the scholarly enterprise and ultimately to the kingdom. Pursue your calling as long as the door of Christian scholarship and vocation remains open, and leave the future in God’s hands.

See you at Gordon for the biennial Conference on Faith and History meeting.

Barry Hankins

President, Conference on Faith and History

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