Hail to the Heils

Matt Hershey recites the Heilsgeschichte to Bible and Religion instructor Michele Hershberger.

By Saralyn Mast – Horizon News and Features Editor

She’s seen it scrawled on the sidewalks in chalk. She knows students go to sleep listening to it on their iPods. She’s heard it in poems, songs, and raps. For Michele Hershberger, there’s no wrong way to learn the Heilsgeschichte. Just as long as you do.

Students have tried a lot of methods for studying the Heils, the “salvation history” recited by every Biblical Literature student at the end of the semester. Most succeed. Some don’t.

Mallory Eicher, Ryan Gehman, Courtney Unruh, Seth Bitikofer, and Zach Baumgartner survived it last week. They reflect on their experience here:

What went right?

“I would say studying was what went the most right. Also all the help I had from friends in studying as well as practicing saying it.” – Ryan Gehman

“Listening to others say it and writing the Heils all down, nearly word for word.” – Mallory Eicher

What went wrong?

“Just nervous!” – Courtney Unruh

“The biggest thing was the stress it caused.” – Ryan Gehman

“It took me six hours to write and by hand started hurting after a while; also, it ended up being 42 pages long. That’s more of a problem for whoever is grading it.” – Seth Bitikofer

What advice do you have for future students?

“Don’t wait until the night before.” – Courtney Unruh

“Study early. Do not cram. Practice saying it two to three times. Listen to [examples on] Moodle and take notes on [those speakers] because they did a good job.” – Ryan Gehman

“Write it all down! Listen to it over and over. When you write it on the exams, really study because it’s great practice.” – Mallory Eicher

“Concentrate on presenting the story in an orderly and unified fashion, and do not give in to bewilderment at the amount of material you need to cover.” – Seth Bitikofer

“Have Marion be your judge and play the flute to lull him to sleep.” – Zach Baumgartner

What is the secret to success?

“Listen and say the Heils many times.” – Courtney Unruh

“Practice.” – Mallory Eicher

“My secret was focusing on one section at a time without “looking down,” so to speak.” – Seth Bitikofer

“Come from a Christian background and already have an understanding of the story.” – Zach Baumgartner

If you could change one thing about how you prepared, what would you do differently?

“Start studying earlier.” – Courtney Unruh

“Take readable notes.” – Ryan Gehman

“It was really good for me to write it all out longhand.” – Mallory Eicher.

“I would have practiced going over the parts where I forgot some of the information.” – Seth Bitikofer

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