I come to you as a student who is now beginning his downward slope into the summer break. I have mixed feelings because I am about live with my family again (Which makes me very happy), but I am also sad because I am going to be without the majority of my friends now. For this post I am going to indulge my number one pet-peeves about personal blogs…..being really long. Sorry, but I don’t know if I could do this year justice in one page. This year has been one of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth as I have struggled my way through my first year of college.
I began this year by walking into a bad roommate situation, choosing the wrong major, and feeling really homesick…
People joked with me about getting a bad roommate, and I was fortunate and unfortunate enough to have one. My first roommate probably one of the worst people you could imagine rooming with. To just put it kindly I rejected his party lifestyle and he rejected my bookworm lifestyle. We thankfully parted ways, but by living with him I learned how to properly deal with difficult situations.
I learned that I should not freak out and things are not always as bad as I sometimes envision them. Overall I’ve learned that nobody is perfect and even good people make bad decisions sometimes. College is about growth and if I didn’t grow during my time here I would feel that I wasted my money. My experiences with my first roommate helped me to understand that I should never give up my morals but I should not condemn anyone because it is not my place to judge anyone. I disapprove the immoral lifestyles, but I do reject the person.
First semester being my shipwreck would not be complete with grade drama. During high school I was a student in the Advanced Placement program and managed to pull off decent grades every semester (My G.P.A. was around 3.65). I walked into college making an “A” or “B” in every one of my subjects save one…chemistry. No matter how much or who I studied with I could not get above a “C” in the class. By midterm my grade descended into the “D” range and I had to drop the class to save my G.P.A. At the time I thought I was the worst student on campus because that left me with a mere eleven hours on my schedule. I am thankful for dropping this class though because it gave me the understanding after talking to my friends about it that more everyone had a subject that they struggled with or even failed. People whom I thought to be perfect student I discovered had had similar experiences at one point in their college experience.
By dropping this course I essentially dropped my engineer major because at my college engineers have a strict eighteen hour schedule that must be completed or they will not graduate on time. This year I gave it half a semester and decided that I enjoy the C.I.S. major much more anyway because it leads to a career in computers.
This experience with chemistry taught me to know and understand my limits, to get help when needed, and when give up a vain struggle because my pride is whining. My friends have helped me to learn this year that it is always good to take a break for fun, even if it is the middle of a doing homework. I’ve learned that there are times with work and play; not balancing them will make you into a very angry, lonely, and sad individual.
3Mind you I live about half an hour away from my family, but we are a really close family so I might as well have been four hours away. Having to deal with my first roommate made me sad and having no roommate can be a lonely lifestyle if you have a class that you are struggling through. About halfway through first semester I let my current roommate move in because he was having roommate issues (I pity anyone with a bad roommate now). My roommate has been a blessing by essentially making me less productive. He helps me to take breaks whenever that be games of Super Smash Bros. or just telling me to get some sleep late in the night (My average bedtime is about 1:00-2:00 A.M.). I’m not saying he is a bad influence by promoting fun because he also nags me to do my homework too, but he helps me to remember to take a break from all the work I do.
I have also learned this year to embrace my friends and to think of them like my family. Like my real family we enjoy each other’s company, sometimes fight, but in the end we stick together. I am not normally this emotional, but I feel that I have developed an extra family at college and feel that their presence has positively affected my life. I now have great memories of movie nights, video game sessions, Waffle House runs, and other shenanigans. I have also learned this year that we do not need alcohol to have a good time. I have not ever drunk any alcohol myself, but living on a wet college campus it is not very difficult to find alcohol (Heck, if you are of age you can have in your fridge). Living on a wet campus (and I guess being Catholic) I have come to believe that alcohol is okay to drink if you do not abuse it. Most college students only experience the negative aspect of someone abusing alcohol, but living on a wet campus has taught me that if you take it in moderation alcohol is as viable as any other drink. Oh, and yes it is a surreal experience seeing your professor sipping from a wine glass at a school dance.
This year I have believe that I have grown in my faith. I started the year by thinking I should alter serve as I always have, but that fell by the wayside as the year progressed. What really revitalized my spiritual life was the closeness of the Church on my college’s campus. My faith is ever-present throughout campus in subtle ways and like most Jesuit institution not overbearing. I feel at home being Catholic here, but I have noticed that in my theology classes that non-Catholics and even atheists are not pressured into becoming Catholic or even becoming Christian. The Jesuits on my school believe that we convert people by living as an example of Christ’s compassion and this seems to be a mantra of the entire college. This year I have really embraced the Holy Hour because it helps me to unload my conscience and meditate on my life for about forty-five to an hour a week extra after weekly mass. It has really helped me get through the tough times this year and I recommend it to anyone who is struggling. The hardest part is getting there, but here is something nice about just meditating for an hour on your life, your faith, or anything else going through your mind.
As of the last few weeks I have also joined a local Life Teen every Sunday and Wednesday for mass (Which I need to go to anyone on Sunday), food, and friendship. I like it because we come together like a jumbled family and share our time together. We get a good, but not overbearing theology discussion for about twenty minutes and enjoy good food. I really like it because it is a set time that I get to spend with my friends every week, something that is very difficult when everyone is so busy now.
I know you have read this and have noticed that I do not like overbearing religious experiences. I honestly envy these people’s vigor and liveness for religion. I have just had bad experiences with people from other Christian denominations trying to forcefully convert me or telling me that I am a sinful individual because I am Catholic. I never want to become that kind of person so I believe that I can convert people by being compassionate and living in Christ’s example. I just never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable about their religion.
Overall though, I this year has been on of personal growth. This Jesuit education that I once scoffed as being unnecessary has become a wonderful experience for me. Although I sometimes dislike some of these classes I have to take, most of them have been great like my experience in introduction to logic or even theology (I already like theology, but I would not have this at a public institution). Overall, this year has been good for me. I have grown as an individual and a member of my new family. I eagerly await next fall and my classes next semester. -Hobie Henning May 3, 2009