A farewell from a grateful student

As a high school senior, I applied to seven different universities. MSU, Mankato was at the bottom of that list. But, boy, am I glad I made the decision to come here! Ever since I started as a freshman back in August of 2014, MSU has handed me opportunities left and right.

MSU gave me the opportunity to graduate in three years with three majors: geography, Spanish, and international relations. I didn’t come into college with an idea of what I wanted to pursue after graduation, but I did have a strong sense of what I’m interested in. My philosophy has always been to pursue what interests me and to see where that takes me. I am very glad that I have stayed true to that ideal.

MSU gave me the opportunity to experience the entire world right here on campus through our vibrant international community. This was not a factor I considered when applying to schools, but it has turned out to be one of the most valuable parts of my college experience. From playing cricket in Schellberg Gym on Friday nights to learning Portuguese with Brazilian friends over meals at Carkoski to attending the many international events in the CSU ballroom, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our beautiful cultural diversity here at MSU. Because of these three years, I now have connections with friends all across the globe.

MSU gave me the incredible opportunity to go abroad to Cuenca, Ecuador, where I experienced what it’s like to live outside of Minnesota for the first time. For three months, I studied, traveling around the country, and used Spanish every day.

MSU gave me the opportunity to become involved on campus through journalism. I got to write articles for the newspaper and have my voice on the radio, and – get this – they even paid me to do it! I am so grateful for those experiences. Deadlines and late nights were often stressful, but it was worth it. It allowed me to hone my journalistic and writing skills, to meet interesting people, and to be an insider to interesting stories happening on campus. My Radio a la Carte show on KMSU was a fantastic outlet for my creativity and interests. I have especially enjoyed covering student senate this semester; it has reinvigorated my love of journalism.

Through the Saint Thomas More Catholic Newman Center, I was given the opportunity to grow closer to God in my Catholic faith. It has been a true home for me during my time here. It has been the heart of my college experience. I owe all the wonderful opportunities, experiences, and friendships of these three years to the grace of God. I am especially grateful to Mary the mother of God for her intercession in my life.

I will miss this place and the many opportunities it has given me. In three short years, I’ve had many adventures here. I’ve learned that adventure doesn’t always come from where you expect. This great college adventure has come to a close, but there are more adventures still to come. This summer, I look forward to working as a history interpreter in Medora, North Dakota, just outside of Teddy Roosevelt National Park. I have applied to Saint Paul Seminary for the upcoming fall semester.

Adventures are always in our midst – it’s just a matter of looking for them and choosing to live them.

It’s easy to become paralyzed by limitless opportunities. We grow up in a culture where we’re told we can do anything. We’re afraid to commit because once we choose something, then anything isn’t an option anymore.

Don’t be afraid to choose – look at what’s in front of you, take a step, and see where it leads you. Seek always what is good, true, and beautiful. That’s where you’ll find adventure. That’s how you’ll find who you are meant to be. Sometimes adventure comes in giant heroic leaps, but often it’s found in many small, simple steps.

To all those moving on to new adventures and to all those continuing on at MSU: don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t settle for comfort. Don’t settle for selfishness. Settle for nothing less than adventure.

One thought on “A farewell from a grateful student

  • July 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm
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    I, too, am a practicing Catholic and graduate in Spanish from MSU, having spent my elementary school years at Saint Mary’s in Worthington back in the early to mid sixties. Though my education was derailed for the first six years of my life, having been slapped around by Catholic lay teachers and nuns–my education took off when I entered Central Junior High in Rochester and I became hooked on all those sci fi, war novels and astronomy books in the large cozy school library with tall windows and snow falling down outside. That big old junior high is long gone now–now a Mayo Clinic parking garage.
    I returned to my Catholic roots recently when I discovered that Catholicism, unlike most of the protestant sects, accepted both evolution and the big bang theory back in the year in 1950. As I reflect upon my life in American education–as I look back on my experiences as a substitute teacher at Minneapolis Washburn back in the nineteen eighties–I have come to the realization that the great majority of teachers in America are creationists who are scientifically illiterate. I have run into so many teachers in schools around the Twin Cites who rail against the evil atheists who are supposedly destroying our society, but when you look at what our great atheist scientists like Lawrence Krauss are saying about our Universe and our place in it as advanced primates on a tiny pebble of a planet in the outskirts of a galaxy of over two hundred billion stars, in a Universe of two hundred billion galaxies–well, Jesus was an advanced primate created in the image of that great advanced primate in the sky, Yahweh/Elohim. That’s what I say as a Catholic, and the Flying Spaghetti Monsters of Andromeda say the same thing about their God creating them in His image–such is narcissism and sexism, too.
    The most important thing a child can learn in school is this: how old and big is the Universe, and how did they figure it all out? Well, there is no excuse for not knowing this in America. There are hundreds of videos on You Tube, some excellent, most mediocre, and our libraries are also well stocked with astronomy books.
    At any rate, for the past twenty years I have been going round and round this planet, having traveled 77 countries. I have lived in Korea, Oman, Saudi Arabia (have watched the American-made Saudi tanks running through Jazan on their way to the Yemen border to bury little brown babies in rubble, and I have watched the Scuds explode over my hotel near Jazan Airport.) I am a 91 Gulf War vet who came home to the Navy gay witch hunts of the early nineties, then Mankato State’s tolerance of gay bashing on its campus. I am currently living in Cambodia where I am working for an NGO, doting on and teaching silly little Khmer kids who love to hop about and sing songs about how much they love gravity. I have taught them well.
    I will be heading back to Mankato next year to hopefully retrain in something that will give me gainful employment. As they say in the Bible in Psalms: “As a fool returns to his folly, so does a sick dog return to his vomit.”

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