Philosophy: The Stepping Stone Major

I am a philosophy major. My workspace, wherever it is this time (my favorite is a bench on campus on a cool day), generally resembles a nuclear test site. Papers are strewn about and books are piled up, as I feverishly flip through their pages. I pound away at my keyboard, devising arguments for and against contemporary and classical philosophers, perhaps carefully cutting-and-pasting symbols from the “symbolic logic” page on Wikipedia, in the name of aesthetics and professionalism.

Making the Most of My Business Education

As I was applying for colleges, I knew that I was looking for three things: a business management major, a minor in communication arts, and a place that would challenge me to live out the Catholic faith in a way that no other university could. When I visited Franciscan University for the first time, I instantly knew this was the place for me. From the friendly, welcoming students to the impressive daily Mass attendance and participation, Franciscan was different from all of the other colleges and universities I visited.

A World Class Medical Research Internship

I spent my summer vacation doing biomedical research with the experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a senior biology major, this internship was an amazing experience. Not only was I doing original research, but I also had the opportunity to listen to talks from scientists in various fields and learn from many brilliant individuals at different points in their careers. Being surrounded by these talented scientists was inspiring, and their advice has helped me to evaluate my goals and to take steps to make them a reality.

Addiction, Family, & Healing

Pastoral Counseling at Franciscan University of SteubenvilleWhen it comes to issues that would highly benefit from pastoral counseling, helping the families of addicts is near the top of the list. I subscribe to the following definition of addiction, which is the disease model that I learned in Prof. Mikita’s substance abuse course: addiction is a primary (not caused by a previous disease, injury, event), progressive (it will worsen), chronic (it is not curable), and fatal (if left untreated) disease. The disease model takes into account that there are genetic dispositions, neurochemical changes, and biological, psychological, and spiritual components when it comes to addiction. Other models, such as behavioral, social, medical, and moral models, each leave out certain components that perhaps are involved in the etiology, progression, and effects of the disease.

The only treatment available for addiction is abstinence, which should be coupled with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA: the 12 steps) and a therapeutic program. Recovery from addiction is a process of humility. After addicts admit that they are powerless over alcohol (step 1), step 2 states that they “came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This step helps addicts acknowledge that the process has begun and they need something greater than themselves to overcome addiction.

Many addicts believe that they are the masters of their own universe and in control of their lives. For most addicts, either they themselves or alcohol itself is their higher power. Step 2 is the acknowledgement that they are in fact not in control and this has usually been proven time after time when their own power has not been able to keep them from drinking. These failed attempts to quit represent the insanity in their lives (“doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results”). It is “unnatural” for addicts to give up things that are so integral to being a human, such as food, shelter, parenting, work, and sex. Because this dysfunctional behavior goes against our human nature, nothing “natural” is going to save them; they must tap into the supernatural for the graces necessary to overcome their disease.

Where the Beauty is Found.

Where is the beauty? Where is the beauty in the all-nighters and the papers and the meetings and the job-searching and the stress that seem to have become the all too typical aspects of my life as of late? I’d been having a hard time finding it, to be honest. This semester has continued at a rapid pace, feeling more like a string of project after project than anything else. It’s been a bit exhausting. It even just sounds exhausting re-reading it typed out in this blog post. It doesn’t really sound beautiful. Right?