Resolutions for the Next 500 Days

I graduated from college 233 days ago. I wrote this post and talked myself into believing I was “ready.” The truth is, I had absolutely no idea what was about to come.

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In the 170 days since I moved to Cleveland, I’ve learned more about myself and being an “adult” than I ever thought I needed to. You see, when I left Creighton I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was educated on everything I could possibly need to know and experienced in everything that could possibly be thrown my way. In reality, I was a 22 year old B.A. with a whole lot of growing up to do. News flash: I’m still 22, 1/4 of the way to an M.A., and still have a whole lot of growing up to do.

I’ve spent 170 days in this crazy #SAGrad lifestyle that only a few can understand. That’s 170 days of living on my own, in a new state, starting all over again. That’s 170 days of my professional reputation developing. That’s 170 days of long nights, early mornings, and weekend work.

I’ve laughed uncontrollably, cried uncontrollably, felt like this is exactly where I belong, and felt like an imposter. You see, grad school has a way of challenging you to the limit. Grad school challenges you to your end but gives you just the right amount of support as to not fall off. It’s a balance: challenge and support.

So what exactly have you been doing, Mattie? Allow me to explain myself. I blinked and I’m already done with my first semester. To be quite honest, I couldn’t even tell you what I’ve been doing besides what I like to endearingly refer to as  neversleeping-alwaysgoing-drowinginreadings-respondingtoemails-perptuallysayingyestoeverything. 

I’ve been writing this post in my head while showering for months. It seems these days that the shower is the only place I am alone in my thoughts and solely focused on me. Yet, I’m still not even sure what I want it to say. Dropping truth bombs and wisdom, reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned, inspiring others to get up and take risks? Who knows. 


I suppose I’ll just leave you with a list of 10 things that made my first semester memorable.

  1. Finding my people. It’s hard moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone. What if they don’t like me? Will I even make friends? Well, it’s only been a few months and I can confidently say that I have one of the best support systems here. There’s something about experiencing this alongside other people who just get it. I’ve made some of my best friends and worked with some of the best and brightest future colleagues in the field.
  2. Learning how to Res Life. I was never an RA in college and never wanted to be, yet somehow I found myself as the Hall Director of a residence hall full of young, active, and eager students. Let the panic set it. I may not have had it all figured out in the beginning, but I was blessed with 4 amazing RAs who make my job easy, 8 fellow Hall Directors who are fiercely supportive, and an awesome supervisor who pushes me to be my best. Residence Life is one of those functional areas you sell your soul to, but hey, it’s lifestyle that I have actually come to enjoy.
  3. Men’s Recruitment. Recruitment is just the best time of year. I love the energy and long days that turn into nights for the purpose of finding an amazing class of new members to carry on the legacy. Since the other half of my job is advising IFC and the fraternities on campus, there I was thrown into fraternity recruitment. I’ve never identified more with the saying: Fake it ’till you make it. But hey, this PanHellenic woman figured it out and is continuing to learn about the nuances of the fraternity world while trying to make an impact as typically the only woman in the room. Breaking down toxic masculinity and creating opportunities for vulnerability– all in a day’s work.
  4. Whole30. I wasn’t kind to my body in college. I didn’t fuel it with nutrient rich foods, didn’t care what kind of crap I was eating, and as a result gained way more weight than I care to admit. 22852141_1657746710913481_4496565787474395936_nAs soon as I moved to Cleveland I made a decision to change my life. I started Whole30 in September, you can read more about it here. I lost 15 pounds in 30 days just by being more conscious of what I was eating, I didn’t even hit the gym once. I had more energy, clearer skin, got better sleep, learned how to cook, and was happier than ever. I stopped using food as an emotional crutch and I’m excited to continue a modified version of these guidelines in my every day diet.
  5. Checking my privilege and critically reflecting on my own development in college. My academic work this semester completely turned me upside down. Creighton obviously laid a foundation for me to begin thinking about these things but let me tell you, when every class session involves a fruitful discussion about privilege and oppression and identity and the entire focus of my grad program is about inclusion and bringing new voices to the table, I can’t help but think about things differently. When you’re told to come up with your own personal paradigm and philosophy of student affairs, you’re forced to stretch your brain farther than what it’s done previously. If anything this semester, I’ve been challenged academically and cognitively and for that I’m grateful.
  6. Klicker Wedding. Just as the semester was starting to take a toll and the honeymoon phase of being in a new environment was wearing off, I got to attend the wedding of a family friend. It really is a small world that this wedding just happened to be in Ohio not far from where I live. It was a beautiful weekend and exactly what I needed to recharge, get a little slice of home, surround myself with people who make me feel at home, and continue on for the rest of the semester.
  7. Breaking my foot. This may have not been the best thing I did, but it was certainly memorable. I spent a good 6 weeks this semester hobbling around in a boot that was so loud and clunky you could hear me coming from a mile away. How did I break my foot you ask? I dropped a textbook on it. If that doesn’t sum up grad school, then I don’t know what does.
  8. Weekend trip to Syracuse. Do you have that friend who no matter how long you don’t see each other, you just immediately pick up where you left off? I hadn’t seen 23270452_1661447840543368_6901604456210767563_omy best friend since 7th grade for 2 and a half years. So, one weekend I decided to pack up and take a road trip to Syracuse, NY. It was only around a 5 hour drive and I so needed to get away from the chaos. We had so much fun and I’m so happy that somehow we both ended up in this corner of the country for a few years.
  9. Life as a Kappa alumna is just as sweet as an active member. I joined the Cleveland KKG Alumnae Association and celebrated a wonderful Founder’s Day as my first event. With tears in my eyes, I witnessed an incredible woman receive her 75 year pin #goals. I also got to meet some wonderful women from the Lambda chapter at U Akron who surprised me at work on sorority bid day. I even decided to become the education advisor for the Eta Zeta chapter, so next semester I’ll get to have even more Kappa in my life!
  10. AFA Annual Meeting. Speaking of Kappa, while I was in Atlanta at the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting, I had the opportunity to network with wonderful sisters in the field and congratulate them on their accomplishments. I learned a lot at the educational sessions on a wide range of topics from mental health in fraternities to the experiences of people of color in predominately white organizations, all while surrounded by campus and headquarters professionals. The experience definitely showed me that I’m exactly where I want to be and that the fraternity and sorority experience is something I whole-heartedly believe in.

If you’re still reading this post after way too many words, props to you. I wrote these 1,500 words faster than I ever wrote any papers this semester.

Maybe after reading the highlights you’re thinking how great this all seems, maybe you’re not. In reality, my days aren’t full of sunshine and rainbows at all. I’m not out here perfectly acclimated to my new life, traveling the country, and seeing old friends every day. In reality, my days mostly consist of a lot of meetings, a lot of readings, and a lot of not sleeping.

So, here’s a short, non-comprehensive list of resolutions for the next 500 days until graduation: Breathe. Just breathe. Give myself grace. Stop comparing myself to everyone else around me. Do my homework just a little earlier. Recognize that I can’t do everything. Learn to say no. And, just breathe.

Life on an academic calendar has it’s perks. Every 5 months or so you get to hit the reset button. So here’s to 2018, here’s to a new semester, and here’s to the next 500 days.



Jesuit Educated

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 re10401981_976174852404007_6079158204688880020_naching 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.

18010085_1462632870424867_4220833160126311402_nIt’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 a13002534_1121410214547136_6287376906555440924_ollowed 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!