Whenever you enter a new environment or a new culture, it can take time to adjust. Thankfully, one of Franciscan University’s households helped me to navigate this time of adjustment.
That’s the great thing about households: once you join you’re immediately integrated into a community of guys sharing a common vision. In my household, Living Stones, the members not only get together for scheduled events, but also have the benefit of spending morning and evening prayer together. Basically, everyone wakes up somewhere between 5:30 and 6:45 a.m. to pray morning prayer—a set of psalms, songs, and other Scriptures—in Christ the King Chapel, the main chapel on campus. We pray our morning prayer right after 6:30 a.m. Mass. Then, around 5 p.m., we get together again to pray. The prayer, as well as the free time and meals we share afterwards, provide us all with a unique fellowship opportunity. Outside of those times (and when we’re not studying) many of us hang out in the household common room, providing even more opportunities to get to know one another. If that wasn’t enough, when I first started at Franciscan, I felt the support of my household literally wherever I went on campus.
For example, while I’m not known for being an introvert, it can still be really awkward for me to to sit down and strike up a conversation with strangers, as is often the case in Antonian Hall, our campus dining hall (by the way, the food there is awesome). Fortunately, my household brothers often sit together, and I know that if I see a household brother sitting in the cafeteria, I can just sit down with him and chat. There’s no forced small talk about our majors or programs because we already know those things about each other, and there aren’t those awkward silent moments in the conversation. Instead, the conversation flows naturally.
This integration with the Franciscan community was refreshing after my time at community college. Community college can be a cold and lonely place; the people you meet sometimes feel like just a bunch of classmates you visit every week before heading back home. There’s no cafeteria; no dorms; no natural place to congregate every evening and just hang out. Despite the name, it’s hard to build a community in that kind of setting.
At Franciscan, we have a great many places and opportunities to meet people, even outside of households. Being able to walk into the cafeteria or a dormitory with friendly people and student life events is a blessing. Besides those opportunities, I found that I connected easily with the other students at Franciscan, since we shared a common faith and many of the same core values and interests. The University’s purpose truly permeates the culture at Franciscan—academically excellent and passionately Catholic.
Had I gone into Franciscan without my household, I probably would have eventually found my place—we Frannies really are just that great. I would have spent time here, finding the people I liked, creating friendships, and building connections. In fact, I did that with people outside of my household. However, my household filled that gap between starting the semester and learning how to fit into the university community. If I was able to do it all over again, I cannot think of a better way to join the Franciscan community.