With back to school season in full swing, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot about college lately. My college experience ended up completely differently than I had originally anticipated, and while explaining it in short-form makes me a little self-conscious sometimes (three schools and five years sounds so flakey!), it’s sweet to now see how God used each place and experience to teach me something. You can read the long story of how I ended up at three different schools here.
In 2008, I graduated from high school and headed to Franciscan University, a tiny Catholic school in Steubenville, Ohio. It was perched on a hill in a little industrial town, and the first time I stepped on campus was the summer before I started my freshman year. I was SO sure that the Lord was calling me there, it didn’t even matter that I had never seen it. My two years there were all about formation for me–growing in my faith, acclimating to life back in America after five years abroad, and finding my independence as a college student. Even though my career goals ultimately led me elsewhere, I know that my years at Franciscan changed my life forever, and I’m eternally thankful for that! I thought it would be fun to share my favorite things about being a student at each school I went to, starting today with Franciscan.
1. People are so, so nice. It’s incredibly easy to make friends, and since you see the same people constantly on such a small campus, there’s always a way to connect with someone else.
2. Franciscan is home to some of the best Catholic theology professors in the world, and being a student there means having the opportunity to learn from their brilliant minds and faiths.
3. The opportunity to receive the sacraments frequently and easily. The chapel is packed for 6:30 AM daily Mass every single day of the week–it was inspiring to be surrounded by people who all take their faith so seriously.
4. The way the brick buildings glow during the golden hour, especially during the fall.
5. Chicken tender wraps in The Pub–the best on-campus escape from the cafeteria when I was there!
6. Households! Franciscan’s version of sororities/fraternities, all of which were spiritually focused, was one of my favorite parts of student life there. My household sisters are still some of my dearest friends and our retreats, rosaries, Masses, and living on my household wing in the dorm make up some of my favorite Franciscan memories.
7. My favorite class I EVER took in college was Human Embryology at Franciscan, which I took to fulfill a basic science credit. I love the fact that such a random class for an English student became my favorite, and I know I wasn’t alone–at the end of the last class of the semester, everyone stood up and applauded the professor. Learning about life before birth in so much depth was fascinating, challenging, and inspiring.
8. Seeing priests and nuns everywhere–they’re truly part of the community, and were always an encouraging presence.
9. AUSTRIA. The fact that I got to live in that gorgeous place pictured below and spend weekends galavanting around Europe with friends still takes my breath away a little bit. My semester in Austria was incredibly challenging, but it also inspired me beyond my wildest dreams. And, I met Dave there, which brings me to…
10. While I didn’t know it at the time, it’s where God led me to my husband :)
What did you love about where you went to college?