I agree: when you are in seminary it can be hard to build relationships beyond that intense Christian community. But you do need a life OUTSIDE of seminary.
When I wrote to recommend that you have a real church home while in seminary (despite the comings and goings for field education and so forth) I was thinking about that.
I went to a large seminary and the student body was pretty diverse in many ways. It wasn’t that we all thought alike, that is for sure. But as the buildings on the perimeter of the campus faced inward to the quad, that community tended to focus pretty constantly on itself.
Sometimes it was obsession with an upcoming event, when first year students had their first OT midterm, or when the seniors sat for their ordination exams. On campus you could hardly talk about anything else — while in the world at large it didn’t matter at all.
Other times it was more subtle: students would want to raise a protest about some horrible thing in the world (there are always serious problems to shed a light on) and we would try get the faculty and administration to sign onto petitions and declarations.
Seminary community life is very different for students and for faculty, and inevitably the roiling passions of the students met with resistance from faculty and administration — even when those very faculty members were actively working on those same issues on the national stage.
You need a life OUTSIDE of seminary
Nothing adds perspective to your life inside a campus community like real relationships OUTSIDE that campus.
One woman in my seminary class always seemed more level headed than the rest of us. She wasn’t worried about the ups and downs that consumed most of us.
It turned out she was a member of a local ski club. She had good friends whose lives were lived in other orbits.
That kept her sane during her studies. I suspect it also served her very well in ministry after seminary.
You’ll need a life OUTSIDE the church
Here’s the deal: if you become a pastor of a church it becomes very hard to ever even meet people outside the church. If you have any hope of preaching to anyone outside the proverbial choir, you’d better figure out how to have some friends in the larger world.