DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Doc, it hurts when I do this…

Written by: on October 18, 2017

(Do you remember the old joke that goes…”Doc, it hurts when I do this.” So then the doctor says, “Then don’t do that.” I keep getting that frustrated feeling with some of these books, wondering how books on how to read a book, how to talk about a book, and now, how to study could be at all pertinent at the level of education we are at. I don’t know if it is the denial that I may still have some things to learn on those levels, or just the resistance to learning more of those things that I need to do, when I am so used to doing things the way that I do them already. I’d say that I am not stubborn, but let’s be honest, you have all met me already, and thus, know better. With that all said though, I was pleasantly surprised with Derek Rountree’s message…maybe I’m not a complete lost cause.)


Education is more than just learning; it is a growth practice. With each grade one climbs, skills, both social and educational are progressed to hopefully match that student’s progress in life. However with such a rite of passage, difficulties are bound to arise. In Derek Rountree’s book, “Learn how to Study: Developing the study skills and approaches to learning that will help you succeed in University,” he addresses these difficulties, as well as helps to define the very nature and purpose of studying itself. This work is clearly intended for readers who are either beginning their work in a university, or even possibly already enrolled in upper level education; however, it is written in a manner that is so easy to understand and relate to that it is my belief that students on the High School level could comprehend it, and students in graduate or doctoral work could still grow from it.

Roundtree is masterful at his ability to identify obstacles to learning, as well as obstacles to the desire to learn.  Chapters are filled with challenging questions, tools for learning, and even potential group building exercises to perform with your peers. Though skeptical at first by the title of this work, instead I kept finding myself nodding my head in agreement as my own traits, struggles, and even desires for my own doctoral work were spelled out in great detail before me. At one point, Roundtree wrote, “students who get too attached to a favorite type of learning activity or situation will sometimes miss out on valuable learning if they don’t try a bit harder with others they are less keen on.”[1] It was this observation that was so easy to connect with; there have been times when I knew all I was doing was “buying time” with a class until I could ultimately get the real goal…a diploma or a degree. When I started my master’s degree, I knew I wanted more than that; I wanted to grow through the experience. Now as I work on my doctorate, the journey is even more important to me; after all, I am investing three years of my life and a whole lot of money into the path I have chosen. Roundtree made me start taking a closer look at the methods by which I was going to obtain that goal.

One impacting statement made was that “higher education is not about remembering but about understanding.”[2] When I did my undergraduate work, many moons ago, I would brag about being the “cramming king”. I could stay up all night long shoving as much information in my head as I could so that by 8:00 a.m., I could walk into class, fly through a test with great ease, and then usually get a pretty good grade as a result (Greek class is not included in this analogy). My retention however, absolutely stunk. Within two days usually, most of the information was lost or at least recessed somewhere too deep in my brain for benefit. Roundtree challenges the student to determine what they are truly trying to achieve with their education. Though there were points in which this book truly seemed “elementary” to me, there were also times that I decided that maybe some of my thinking in regard to scholarship was elementary. I needed to recognize that I was doing doctoral work, and perhaps the old methods were not supposed to be used anymore; higher education would require higher devotion to learning and methodology.

Another point that Roundtree made was that “not all ideas are going to be at odds with your existing ones, of course. Some you will be expected to use alongside some existing ones, though they may throw some fresh light on them and make you rethink them.”[3] I had the chance to do my course review with Jason this week, and to be honest, I have never minded a fair evaluation from my instructors or even church elders. However, I must also admit that sometimes (maybe more times than l care to admit) I am resistant to the suggestions or feedback that I have been given. This was NOT the case with Jason, because I heard his words ringing out exactly what I found Rountree saying to me; “Shawn, you need to rethink your approach to your work.” It was seeing the way I express myself in the same manner that I expressed myself in my early college work that made me realize that though I was growing, maybe my work still had a little way to go, if I was going to reach the goals I have set for myself in this endeavor.

I found a website online that was perhaps a more elementary view to the one projected by Rountree, but at the same time, set on the very similar principles. The website,[4], seemed to also work to show students the importance of learning not just study habits and methods to achieve them. However, the difference I found between the website and what Rountree was attempting was that Rountree made the pursuit of knowledge and education a personal accountability to the student. The desires, the methodologies, the very intent that one comes to their own education pursuits with are the very things that will determine what they gain in the process. Though the language was simple, the concepts very specific, and the learning exercises almost impractical at this level of the game, I still found myself soul-searching much more than I expected throughout this reading. I believe at this level, we have all invested so much to get to this point; we are almost terrified we are going to waste it or screw it up.






Roundtree, D. (6th Edition 2016). Learn How to Study: Developing the Study Skills and Approaches to Learning that will Help You Succeed in University. Derek Rountree.

Strickart, D. C. (2017). How-to-Study. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from



[1]Roundtree, D. (6th Edition 2016). Learn How to Study: Developing the Study Skills and Approaches to Learning that will Help You Succeed in University. Derek Rountree.

[2] Ibid, Kindle, p 287.

[3] Ibid, Kindle, p. 674.

[4]  Strickart, D. C. (2017). How-to-Study. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from


About the Author

Shawn Hart

8 responses to “Doc, it hurts when I do this…”

  1. I started out with the same sentiment reading this book but did eventually find some redeeming qualities to it. After reading your post I feel a little guilty for not noticing some of the elements you highlight and you tend to have a better attitude towards the author and book than I did (so you must be a better Christian than me :-). I also appreciated your honest, vulnerable evaluation of yourself and the areas of growth needed. This makes me and others feel like we are in good company. Great post Mr. Shawn!

  2. M. Webb says:


    Nice use of ethnographic images to communicate your message and create new meaning and personal experience when posing Lucy and Charlie Brown playing football. You must have non-read-ahead!

    Regarding your assessment on the “elementary” nature of Rowntree’s learning how to study caused me to reflect on a memory from my public safety past. Once, before executing a high-risk search warrant a SWAT commander said, “A simple plan, aggressively executed, offers the best chance for success.” So, armed with my Kindle and laptop I think that if we aggressively adopt and apply the solid elementary study principles that Rowntree promotes, then our chances for academic success are much greater.

    Stand firm,

    M. Webb

  3. Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Loved the words you wrote, “Education is more than just learning; it is a growth practice.”

    That is exactly what I feel we are on. A growth practice–kinda like a learning journey.

    Great to be on the journey with you.

  4. Shawn,

    It would be great to hear from you how Jason’s question changes how you approach your study. I didn’t see you describe that (or did I miss something?); I’m curious to know your thoughts.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I suppose the point I was trying to make with this book was that the methodology of my work was not as changed as was the motivation of my work. This reading truly made me ask the “why?” question a lot more. I heard a man give a lecture some 20 years ago that was so incredible to listen to, 3 hours literally flew by like it was nothing. However, even though we all wanted to talk to him afterwords, he would disappear immediately after each class. On the third day of the lecture, he explained that though he was a public speaker, he had gone from being a professional student to a professional speaker, and along the way, he failed to learn how to be a minister. As I read this past week, I seemed to do more soul-searching rather than fundamentals building. I have no need nor desire for another certificate on my wall boasting of my education; however, I do have a desire to teach in a university someday, as well as to further my abilities as a minister; it is for those reasons that I am on this journey. Rountree, at least for me, made me remind myself of my motives for starting my doctorate. To be honest, I am not sure the book will change my study habits that much, but it did help to keep me focused on the goal.

  5. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    It looks like you were smart enough in your undergrad to skim by through sheer raw ability and natural intellect. At some point we reach a level where we need to start actually developing study habits. For me it was AP calculus! I could no longer just show up for tests, I had to actual develop the study habits if I wanted to pass. So naturally of course, I dropped the class and took my first period off instead. #slacker. But in my grad school it caught up to me again, and I could no longer do book reports without reading the book and so I finally began to develop study habits.

    I just read this great quote today and I think it captures the idea of our studying.

    “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”

  6. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    I appreciate your self reflection in your post. What are some of the traits that you still find useful and what are some that are going to have to change would be my question. Just curious to see if I have some of the same things I need to work on.

  7. mm Jean Ollis says:

    Hi Shawn!
    I appreciate your perspective on Rowntree.
    I wasn’t sure where you were going initially (negative or positive) but I’m glad you were able to find some value from the reading. One of your quotes “Education is more than just learning; it is a growth practice. With each grade one climbs, skills, both social and educational are progressed to hopefully match that student’s progress in life.” intrigues me. If this is the case, how do you feel about being in a DMin program? I still have feelings of “Pinch me – am I able to do this?” moments. I sense the same from you by your last statement: “I believe at this level, we have all invested so much to get to this point; we are almost terrified we are going to waste it or screw it up.” Yes, for sure! However, I have to believe God chose our cohort to come together at this very time to journey together in this program. Your thoughts?

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