Rest and Growth: ESN Weekly Summer Readings for Grad Students (Small Group or Individual)

plant photoAre you looking for summer readings for small groups or individual reflection? We have curated 12 weeks of ESN content to help you rest and grow as a graduate student following Christ in academia. Our readings start with a series on resting and celebrating, move on to a series of practical tips on identifying a good mentor to help you grow, then conclude with reflections on becoming more Christlike in grad school from several writers. We hope the overarching theme of rest and growth helps you thrive this summer. If you’re looking for a shorter series or starting later in the summer, each module can stand on its own, and the length of the last one is customizable. You can bookmark this page to access the whole series, or follow along with us on social media as we share the week’s reading each Monday from June 17 through September 2.

-Hannah Eagleson, Interim Associate Director, ESN

Rest and Growth: 12 Weeks of Summer Readings for Christian Grad Students 

Module 1: Resting and Celebrating (4 weeks)

As you settle into the summer, we hope this module will help you find rest and enjoyment. Summer is a full time for most academics, with research and conferences and summer teaching. Join us in reflecting on ways to enrich grad school life, including making space for movement and good food. This module features a series by Dana Ray from Scholar’s Compass, our ongoing online devotional series for Christian academics.

Week 1: The Samurai Number

Week 2, Movement and the Graduate Life

Week 3, Feasts and Revelry: Good Food and the Grad Life

Week 4, Sleep and the Graduate Life


Module 2: Finding Mentors to Support Your Growth (3 weeks)

Working with great mentors is often key to spiritual and academic growth, but it’s not always easy to find the right mentor. In 25 years as a scientist, physician, and campus minister, ESN author Scott Santibanez has learned a lot about mentoring. Here, he walks us through some key traits to look for in a grad school mentor.

Week 1: 5 Characteristics You Probably Didn’t Know to Look for in a Mentor

Week 2: Characteristics of a Good Mentor: A Doer, Life Experience

Week 3: Characteristics of a Good Mentor: Seeks Understanding & Your Best Interests


Module 3: Growing More Like Christ in Grad School (5 weeks, adjustable)

We hope you’ve been refreshed and renewed by the series so far, and that you’ve picked up some good ideas on finding the mentors who can help you reach your goals for growth. One of the most important end goals for Christian grad students is becoming more like Christ through academic life. For this final summer module, we have put together five reflections on growing in the virtues that help us grow spiritually. Scott Santibanez reflects on developing Christlike character in grad school, Tamarie Macon invites us to be grow our capacity for thankfulness, and Mark Hansard offers a 3-part series on cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in academia.

Note: We’re proud of our authors at ESN, and we hope you have time to read all of these reflections. If your small group is working with a short summer semester, though, you could customize the length of this module by omitting either or both of the first two standalone meditations, or the 3-part series that concludes the module. 

Week 1: Developing Christ-like Character in Grad School

Week 2: Continuing Thanksgiving

Week 3: The Fruit of the Spirit in Academia, Part 1

Week 4: The Fruit of the Spirit in Academia, Part 2

Week 5: The Fruit of the Spirit in Academia, Part 3

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Hannah Eagleson

Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN's collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar's Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.

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