If you are one of those few people on this planet thinking about venturing into Ph.D. work, more than likely some sort of strange circumstances were aligned just right in order for you to even consider such an unwise career choice. Perhaps it was an insatiable desire to wear tweed jackets, or the dream of a study filled with leather chairs and being surrounded by a few thousand of your closest friends (books). Or maybe you have a penchant for facial hair or you heard about the soirees at SBL and AAR and wanted to live it up every November? Whatever your personal reasons may have been I am sure that at least part of your desire to do Ph.D. work was that you were not done learning. So at the beginning of all Ph.D. candidates is a story of how one became interested in knowledge in the first place. Sometimes this story starts in secondary school, for others at university, and still others don't know where they are going until they get into their masters program.
My own story starts with American fundamentalism. Yea that pesky little group of Christians who are the self arbiters of who is "in" and who is "out" of the "orthodox" conservative Christian world. The particular group of fundy's I was involved with were bible thumping Spurgeon loving Dispensational Calvinists. It was under their tutelage that I began to read Calvin's Institutes, Spurgeon's sermons, and Johnathon Edwards essays. It was also under their tutelage that I began to read the bible in order to apply it to my own life. And lest it sound all positive I also learned from the fundys who the "enemies" of the gospel were (read everybody who is/was not a Dispensationalist and a Calvinist). This particular part of my story took place during my secondary school years, and it was through this ad hoc theological education that I began to seek out understanding. Now I admit it was a rather peculiar and distorted sort of knowledge, but whatever it was, it was part of my story. Thankfully an equal part of my story was also my love for popular music, culture, and a good group of friends that helped temper my own indoctrination into this fundy world. So while I was convinced on one level of the doctrinal peculiarities of these fundamentalists, I wasn't sucked down the separatist rabbit hole mainly because of my own love for popular culture, good beer, and the fellowship of good friends.