So the good news is that we have finally made it through mid-terms. They usually set in about this time of year, when the leaves start to turn and a slight chill enters the air. Consequently, the long-awaited exams remind us not only that we are already halfway through the semester, but also that fall is finally here!
As if Franciscan’s campus was not already beautiful enough, with its rolling hills and luscious foliage, the announcement of autumn makes it even more spectacular. Coming from my home town in Arizona, I have to admit that I am only familiar with pretty much one season: summer. And because of this perpetual summer, the cactus, as opposed to green vegetation, pervades the scenery. Being able to actually experience the changing seasons was a blessing that I certainly did not take for granted. My time here at Franciscan has helped me to really appreciate the little things: the warm humidity following on the heels of summer, the chilly air of an October morning, and the peacefulness of an undisturbed fresh snowfall. In Arizona, no matter what time of year it is, you can pretty much get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Needless to say, upon arriving at Franciscan four years ago, I realized rather quickly just how necessary it was for me to invest in a new wardrobe. I actually began buying sweaters, which is quite the rarity for the average Arizonian. So, wherever you are, whether it be in Arizona, Maryland, or Oklahoma, grab a cup of hot cocoa and get ready to ring in the start of this spectacular fall season!
I can’t actually take full credit for my appreciation of the fall season. My roommates, whom I live with in a cozy house off-campus, all share a passion and excitement for a happy end to summer. I’ll admit, they have rubbed off on me. One of the girls actually decorated our entire house with fall-looking leaves, apple-cider candles, and cute little pumpkins. She even placed a basket of candy-corn by the front door! I mean, how much better does it get than that?
Well, on a more serious note, I am talking so much about fall because of the communal feeling that always seems to come with it. Both on campus and in my house, there is a sort of unsaid support that we all have for each other. We are aware of the fact that we are all in the same boat: struggling through mid-terms, racing to finish papers, and pulling late nights to catch up on all that last minute studying. The other night, I was studying alone in my room, and another girl I live with asked to come in to study with me so that it would be easier for the both of us. As funny as that sounds, it really was so much easier because it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Because we were in it together, we were instantly united as supports for each other, holding each other accountable.
There is something truly fulfilling about living in a community. As insignificant as this may seem, this communal element is a fundamental part of our nature as human beings. We crave relationship, support and love. And being at Franciscan has made this so much more apparent to me. The community here is truly incredible, genuinely supportive, and authentically caring. Almost without even noticing it, I have grown so much closer to the girls I live with. We swap stories, share struggles, and laugh through difficult times. The implicit encouragement that comes along with the community that you live in, or household you are a part of, is absolutely indispensable. Here at Franciscan I truly believe that you are able to find a very rare form of community. This is something that you can never take for granted. So, I encourage you to take heart in your studies and rejuvenate your spirit through the cultivation of relationships. Whether it be with friends or family, always remember how integral relationships are to our fulfillment. Let us be thankful for the gifts God has given to each of us in the people that he has placed in our lives.