When being by oneself for the first time, it can be hard to fit in and find what one loves to do, but that does not mean that it is okay to be a loner and not try to fit in and belong to something. By belonging to a community of people, especially one with participants that share similar (or the same values) and virtues is all the more enjoyable to be apart of. We live in a world so secluded from everything and everyone that it is hard to live in the “real world.” At Siena Heights, it is sometimes hard to remember that there is more to life than that. There are people living with the injustices in our broken world. When I look at where I am now in my life, 20, in college to earn my degree where my passion lies, and surrounded by friends who have similar morals and values as myself. The one thing I am exceptionally fortunate to have right now is the opportunities that I have had over the past year. During this time, I have grown to be a more positive, interactive, and independent person. I have been able to incorporate the Catholic Student Community’s mission into my own personal life by becoming uprooted in my faith, supported in a community (or multiple), and providing service and through spreading God’s word by reaching out to others.
I am a very introverted person, especially when I am in an environment where I am uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the surroundings. However, once I have had the opportunity to “warm up” and get to know and connect with new people, I begin to open up and just be me. I saw this a lot last year. In the beginning, I did not really talk to anyone and had a hard time relating to people. I realized that it was like that because I lived in such a secluded world at my house and in high school. I did not feel like I belonged. I was a nobody who just went through the motions of life. By coming to Siena, I have had the opportunity to go out into the community and schools to experience what life is like in an urban community. Now that I have had the opportunity to be open and live freely, I feel more comfortable around people I do not know. Now, this does not mean that I am now the “ultimate extrovert” by any means. It is more meaning that I am more confident with myself and am becoming an independent woman.
In the terms of my faith life, I have grown tremendously. By being involved in Dominican Young Adults, it has allowed for me to express my faith and share my thoughts to others. I really enjoy leading the prayers and seeing how God is present in others lives. I have also grown in my faith life by doing daily reflections with a friend of mine or by myself. It allows for me to step back and see what is real. It gives me hope that life does get better when times are bad, and allows for me to speak to God in conversation and quiet thoughts. It is purely the best time of my day. Just sitting in complete silence or quiet relaxing music is honestly so peaceful and it is amazing how much can be accomplished during those few minutes of meditation. I am always looking for ways to grow in my faith, especially if I can do it among others.
Lastly, serving others and spreading God’s word and love to others who especially need to know that he loves them is so important. For me personally, serving others is one of the best ways to live out my faith. It allows for me to do what I love. For example, when I visited Los Angeles, I could be me. I was in a comfortable environment surrounded by other students who love God and service enough to spend their spring break for others.
In doing more reflection recently, I discovered that if I could do that everyday, I would be very content with my life. However, that is not reality, especially when in school, but I did realize that if I take time out of my busy weekly schedule to serve others in the Adrian community, I can fullfill a scaled down version of it. Each Saturday, I have done some type of volunteer work in the morning at various places. It gives me a purpose and motivation of the weekend, before doing my studies. It shows that I care enough to give my time and talents towards others who need a little love and compassion in their life. I also am doing my observation hours at the HOPE Center, a day-care for special needs adults. I LOVE being there. It is an environment that is so welcoming and inviting, even though they are desperate for funds. Everyone there is so appreciative for help and another young smiling face around. It is one of the best parts of my week! (Typically I go there two to three times a week.) By impacting the lives of others, it allows for people to use their natural selves and leave all of their troubles behind them, because the people we are serving have way bigger issues than any of us. It enables for us to simply be happy and share God’s love with them. It is a true blessing to be able to serve in the community in which we live in, as well as other parts of the county. I am so excited to do more service and help plan some too!
This year, I believe that we can form an even more powerful and impactful community of Catholics. It is going to take time and patience, but I believe that as a community we can go far and stride for more and more each semester. It will be a process, but one that will change this community of Siena Heights for the better. I am so excited to see what God has in store for us this year! It will be an adventure, like everything else is in life, but I am so glad I get to be a part of it.