Here I am, 12 days until graduation and 1 final exam between me and a B.A. When I flip my tassel from one side to the other, I’ll be closing the most formative chapter of my life thus far. It still hasn’t hit me. But honestly, maybe it’s because I am ready. I’m ready for the next chapter. I’m so unbelievably ready to pursue the passions that Creighton helped me discover.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad to leave; but so prepared to set the world on fire after what my Creighton education has given me. These last couple of weeks have put me in a reflective mood, especially after reading Marina Keegan’s essay, The Opposite of Loneliness. I figured I’d share a few of the things Creighton has taught me over the last 4 years.
Life is not a competition.
As a freshman coming to Creighton, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else around you. You’re so used to being a big fish in a small pond, but you quickly find yourself surrounded with people just as driven, accomplished, and impressive as you are. You’re suddenly just another fish. Creighton taught me early on that part of being a Bluejay means setting the bar high and reaching it. It means surrounding yourself with people who urge you to do more. Being a Bluejay means being a part of a community that is personally invested in your success.
Creighton taught me that life is not a competition, that the world is small, and that as a senior, sitting back and watching the newest generation of Bluejays achieve their dreams is so fulfilling.
Family stretches far beyond blood.
Choosing to go to school 1,500 miles away from my family is seemingly easier than it sounds. This move across the country allowed me to gain a sense of incredible independence. I’ve been able to reflect on who I am, who I want to be, and what I believe, away from the community that built me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I am grateful for the 18 years spent in Walla Walla, WA. But, the person I am proud to be today would not have been possible without leaving; and that is the best decision I have ever made for myself.
It’s the biggest cliché in the book, but there is just something special about this community. They say it to you a million times during Summer Preview and Welcome Week, but by the end of 4 years I could scream it from the Old Gym roof. The people here are truly my family. Creighton provided me with mentors, with best friends, with sisters, with brothers, with confidants, with colleagues, and teammates. The people I choose to surround myself with on a daily basis push me to be my best self. They pick me up when I’m down, stand alongside me when I’m successful, and will be the people my kids someday call ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle.’
Everyone is someone.
It wasn’t until I became the president of my sorority that I learned the true meaning of standing up for what I believe in, the true meaning of pursuing the best interests of the whole regardless of my own personal desires, and the true meaning of grace, support, and love of all human beings.
Growing up in my hometown, I didn’t have much experience with people different than me. I didn’t understand other perspectives and I didn’t necessarily think I needed to. Boy, was I wrong. Creighton taught me that everyone has a story, that everyone is someone, that everyone is worthy and beautiful and loved. No matter your race, national origin, religion, disability, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or economic status, people are people.
Creighton taught me to appreciate cultural differences and commonalities, and gave me the ability to interact with sensitivity and alertness as a citizen of the world.
Great leaders know when to ask for help.
I will never be able to repay this university for providing me with countless leadership opportunities to expand my horizons. The opportunity to engage in demanding roles allowed me to create lasting connections on a campus where no one is a stranger, supplement my learning with practical experience and work to cultivate a positive student experience for every Bluejay.
These opportunities challenged me to my wits end, but allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible. I’ve learned that great leaders influence, motivate, inspire, and help others realize their potential. One compliment or positive remark can have the biggest impact on other people. Creighton taught me to empower others, but also how to empower myself. Creighton taught me how to stand back up after continuously getting knocked down. But most importantly, Creighton taught me to ask for help when I need it. Good leaders are self-aware and know their limitations. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength and humility.
God is present in the little moments.
The way in which the Jesuit values have integrated themselves into every aspect of my life is incredible.
- Magis: Literally translated “more.” This is the challenge to strive for excellence.
- Women & Men for and with Others: Sharing gifts, pursuing justice, and having concern for the poor and marginalized.
- Cura Personalis: “Care for the individual person.” Respecting each person as a child of God and all of God’s creations.
- Unity of Heart, Mind, & Soul: Developing the whole person. Integrating all aspects of our lives.
- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG): “For the Greater Glory of God.”
- Forming & Educating Agents of Change: Teaching behaviors that reflect critical thought and responsible action on moral and ethical issues.
- Finding God in all Things: To search for and find God in every circumstance in life, not just in explicitly religious situations.
- Reflection and Discernment: To reflect on our own lived experience of the world. To discern the movements of our heart and reason.
Not only have these values transformed my life, but so has the very core of a liberal arts education. Creighton taught me the importance of being a lifelong learner, of asking critical questions, and of pursuing your curiosity. Creighton taught me to live in the moment, to be thankful for your experiences, and to see the good in everything.
Believe in yourself, listen to your gut, and do what you love.
Creighton showed me that you don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer to be successful. You don’t have to have a 4.0 GPA to impact the lives of others. If you spend your time pursuing what you’re passionate about, you’re spending your time well. I found my passion when I least expected it, when I wasn’t looking for it.
My passion fell into my lap when I realized that the work I was doing in student life could correlate to a job someday. It was when Creighton pushed me to become that over-committed student leader juggling academics, leadership positions, jobs, a social life, and internships that I realized my creativity and innovative way of thinking could serve me in an entirely new area that I had never considered: student affairs, which I will pursue an M.A. in after my time at Creighton.
Listen to your gut when it tells you to change your plans. Believe in yourself that you have what it takes. Passionately pursue what gets you out of bed every morning.
Throughout my time in college, I have grown into someone who is mature and level headed, encouraging and motivated, fearless, confident, and selfless. Being able to stand tall in the face of adversity, speak publicly without faze, keep a smile on my face, and maintain a high level of energy when I’m spread too thin are all things Creighton pushed me to do.
But more importantly, Creighton has lit a fire in my soul for social justice, to be of service to others, to find God in the small things, to use my privilege for good, and to always strive for more. 4 years ago I had no idea what a Jesuit even was, but they have absolutely “ruined” me and I could not be more thankful.
Because to me, Creighton has been both my greatest struggle and quickest source of comfort. It a place – a memory, an experience, a story – that I will forever call home.
Cheers to the Class of 2017!