This past fall semester I was able to take classes in a wide variety of disciplines: Theater, Visual Arts, Theology, and Environmental Studies. My course selections illustrate the liberal arts mission of the school and reflect its diverse academic offerings. I performed quite strongly across my classes despite having not been in classes for over a year (due to my gap year). I was honored to have been appointed to the Dean’s List for these efforts. This semester I continue to take classes which interest me while staying undeclared. I have a good relationship with my first year advisor professor Wolfe-Bellin whose advice I’ve greatly appreciated in directing me towards classes which meet my interests and credit needs. I am considering potential majors or minors in the following disciplines: Econ, ENVS, Psych, Religious Studies, and History. I am privileged to be at a school that has the resources to help me grow and deepen my interests. My prayer is to take advantage of the writing center, office hours, career development center, study abroad office, and more during this upcoming semester and beyond.
My attendance at the interdenominational (ID) worship services allowed me to grow my relationship with Jesus and gave me the opportunity to participate as a liturgist. I joined the ID leadership committee and am coleading and launching the Midweek Prayer and Bible Study group next week. The group will emphasize building community and deepening student’s relationship with God through group prayer and bible study. I have a close relationship with our class chaplain, protestant minister Marcus Hill and have benefited from receiving his counsel. Additionally, I attended the Ignite Retreat in October which allowed me time to reflect and gave me clarity as to how I wanted to proceed with my relationships and involvement during the remaining part of the semester. Also, I have engaged in many spiritual conversations with fellow door-mates which has deepened my ability to find similarities between different faith backgrounds and grow my understanding of my own and my beliefs. Now, I have a more conservative understanding of christianity as a progressive force for social justice, seeing Jesus as deeply concerned with redeeming both the brokenness of man and the institutions he created (I understand this may seem illogical, but am prepared to defend this claim). My Montserrat class introduced me to an interesting and novel approach to christian social ethics through the lens of contemporary examples of the christian faith (taught by Professor Karen V. Guth, Ph.D). By studying these figure’s relationships to and interpretation of God, I realized I overemphasized personal piety at the cost of neglecting the call Jesus makes for us to redeem society and restore justice in it.
I think the spirit of the Jesuits is evident in my pursuits, as they were tolerant, sympathetics, and knowledgeable and did not force their religion but rather assimilated into the cultures they went to and established those similarities as a bridge to reveal the Christian God to nonwestern cultures (Jesuits in French Canada, Mateo Ricci to China etc.) I do hope to develop into a man for and with others; I am honored to be a part of their legacy.
I have made close friendships with three guys on my floor and have made lots of silly and fun memories with them (bowling, pool matches, football viewing, dorm parties, ordering pizza, attending football games, etc.). I enjoy their company and we all encouraged each other to begin the second semester at Holy Cross to be with one another. This factor has probably contributed most significantly to making Holy Cross feel like another home and my eagerness and excitement to be here.
I really value this community and care deeply for everyone in it. I joined the wellness peer education group called SWEET (Student Who Empower Educate and Train) as during the first two weeks I was overwhelmed by the news of fellow students being hospitalized due to consuming toxic levels of alcohol. I hope that my efforts will bring greater wellness to our community and better education on healthy substance use behaviors. In fact next month I will be discussing the intersection between sexual assault and substance abuse, and the importance of regulating one’s own substance consumption to maintain the ability to give consent. The motto cura personalis “care for the whole person” applies nicely to this involvement.
I also have made good use of the Jo Athletic Facility and have been a faithful participant of the running club through thick and thin weather conditions. Unfortunately every workout turns into a hill workout!
To recap my academic, religious, social, and athletic experiences so far identify with several principles of the Jesuit ethos. I am confident that the rest of this semester holds exciting prospects for me to continue to grow as a student, leader, and disciple to Jesus.