This is the very last blog post that I will have the honor of writing for Franciscan. It is most definitely a bittersweet feeling. Sweet because I know I will be moving on to film school in California and sweet because of the accomplishment of completing four years of undergraduate education. And yet I cannot help but think about the bitter. Bitter because graduation marks the end of a special chapter in my life. It is in leaving that I have truly begun to understand how special Franciscan University is. Yes it is a wonderful place, but it is also much more than a place. It is a family, it is loving, it is learning, it is growing in faith, it is falling deeper in love with Christ, it is building life long relationships with professors and mentors, it is discovering truth, it is discovering who you want to be, and in so many ways it is home. This place is so much more than words can describe.
I came to Franciscan University to grow and form myself, but I never realized, as cliché as it sounds, the impact this place and the people would have on me. From my incredible experiences in Austria to my experiences in the classroom to incredible examples of men calling me on to holiness. I feel so indebted and grateful to the many people that have taken time to love me, guide me, call me on, and lead me to Christ. I expected to form close relationships with people my age, but one thing that has truly surprised me and formed me are the close relationships I’ve form with some of my teachers and religious that work on campus. They have truly taken an interest in my life and have invested in me even beyond that classroom, and for that I am forever grateful and forever humbled. I also think that is the mark of a great teacher or spiritual director: taking the time to go the extra mile and build relationships with others. That is something I hope to bring with me in my future job and most certainly my future family.
As I reflect on my last moments at Franciscan I have come to the most consoling and challenging realization that I may be leaving this place, but I am not leaving Franciscan. In a sense I am taking it with me. No matter where I go, the things I learned and the relationships I formed will continue to form me, and I face the challenge of experiencing and striving for growth just as I did at Franciscan. I am most certainly looking forward to it. As I leave I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that I have I experienced here. So I guess the one thing that would be fitting for me to say a I sign off would be: Thank you Franciscan University, and thank you God for leading me here and always.