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.
Going to clinical sites at some of the highest ranked hospitals in the country (located nearby in Pittsburgh), participating in our simulation lab with classmates, and being challenged by professors who have been in the field for decades has made all the difference in my 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.
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.
It’s been said to me before, usually by friends of mine or others that I meet who aren’t fully aware of what life at Franciscan is like, that this little University on top of the hill is a bubble. That it’s a collection of like-minded people and I would be almost kidding myself to be convinced that I’m not just developing an idealistic view of the world while I’m here. But this isn’t the reality of what Franciscan is, and what this University does for its students.
Life is continuously changing. Human persons have a natural disposition to fight life’s changes. It always seems that just as we become settled and comfortable, life draws us out of our complacency and uproots us from all that we know, love and are familiar with. We scream and yell at life for doing this. We stubbornly resist with every fiber of our being even though we know that despite our best efforts life will change.
It’s almost time to be heading home for Thanksgiving break. That is just so crazy. I think I’ve mentioned in all of my blog posts so far this semester how fast it feels like time is passing these days, and it continues to press on at an unnatural rate. But life is good! Even with all the craziness. As I begin to approach these final weeks of the fall semester, and it seems like there’s so much to do and finish before finals, I’ve been consoled by the words of St. Francis de Sales.
If there is anything for certain that I can tell you about the last few years at Franciscan it is that God works in the most unexpected ways. It’s in the smallest of choices that I’ve made that He has worked the most. I would like to tell you about one of those times.
When 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.
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?