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Leslie Woods, M.A.R. '05
B.A. Randolph-Macon College 2002

How to begin a reflection on my time at YDS? It is not an easy task. As I stand on the edge of the precipice, with the comfort of YDS behind me, and the challenge of the outside world ahead of me, I think about how YDS has prepared me for a life on the outside. It will not be an easy transition, that's true, but the formation that I received at Yale Divinity School goes far beyond Hebrew, Greek, and biblical criticism.

So I ask myself, what has prepared me to go out into the world to serve God and others to the best of my ability? Why do I feel prepared? I believe the life of this community has prepared me—in daily worship services and conversations in the refectory. I believe the relationships with faculty, staff, and other students, all relationships that I take with me and treasure as I leave this place, are of value without measure. I believe that every minute I have spent on the quad, whether it was used in studying and in researching, or in lounging on the grass with friends on a pretty afternoon, has formed my heart and mind for service in ministry.

As I leave YDS, I go with less certainty about my vocation than I had when I arrived here, but with much more certainty about my call to the service of God. I do not know what God has planned for me (perhaps spending three years in theological education has prepared me to admit that), but I do know that God has plans. I think that this is how it should be. I am glad I leave my theological education with more questions than I had when I started, for what is the purpose of education if it is not to seek good questions? I am grateful that I have spent three years in a place that allows for questions and doubting and uncertainty. I am overwhelmed by the blessing of having spent three formative years at Yale Divinity School .

I sit in my empty apartment with nothing left but my computer, and through the window I can see my car packed up to its roof, the Divinity School in the background. This article is the last thing I will write at YDS, the last act of a leaving student. I am setting off, nervously, though excited. In September I will begin to serve the UCC in a yearlong internship position in the Public Life and Social Policy Ministry Team. It will be a challenge, but I feel prepared. YDS has given me much more than a theological education. It has given me confidence, friendships, and knowledge of self, wrestlings with God: blessings beyond belief. So, it is with a quivering lip and deep sigh that I look out of my window at the red brick and white trim and say, “Farewell.”