Beginning graduate theological education is an exciting time for new students, yet we know that Vanderbilt Divinity students don’t undertake this journey alone. Family members, friends, congregations, and many others walk alongside us through the “thick and thin” of professional school. Spouses and partners, in particular, often describe the unique joys and challenges of experiencing divinity school even if they’ve never been in the classroom!
As part of Vanderbilt Divinity School’s effort to create broad communities of care for all students, this fall we are launching a new, monthly Spouses & Partners gathering* to help build community among the beloved members of our households who make the Divinity School experience possible. Our first gathering, held in early September, was a great beginning for what we hope will be a new ritual in the life of the extended VDS community. A brief reflection of our gathering is included below, with special thanks to first-year MTS student Stephen Nelson for his reflections!
A group of VDS students and spouses/partners met on Friday, September 2, for breakfast at Fido. Dean Katherine Smith and Rev. Niger Woodruff hosted the group. Everyone shared their experience as students and spouses/partners while enjoying coffee, tea and breakfast. Spouses spoke of the unique experience they have in common.
Stephen Nelson, first year student says, “I enjoyed the conversation and am pleased that my husband was able to share and gain insight into others’ experiences as students and spouses. We are both looking forward to more of these gatherings.”
*Have an idea for a permanent name for this group? Email email@example.com with your suggestions!