When I walked across the graduation stage back in 2019, I don’t think I was fully aware of all the different ways my college experience would impact me. Sometimes you don’t realize how substantial little moments can be, or how seemingly small interests could shape who you are, far after your direct experience with them is over. Though I’ve only been out of college for a little over a year, I can say with complete certainty that Catholic Campus Ministry was one of the most significant aspects of my college experience and continues to shape me to this day.
CCM fueled my passion for my faith and provided a new outlook on what it can look like on a day-to-day basis. I find that during these uncertain times, faith is more important than ever. It can be a source of hope during these dark days with scary news coming around every corner. Since the pandemic makes in-person religious gatherings harder to facilitate, I find myself turning to other methods of prayer and religious reflection that CCM helped me understand and appreciate. I still discuss my faith with the friends that I made throughout my experiences on retreats, and in many ways, turn to them as a way of understanding my relationship with God. CCM made me realize that religious expression can exist whether you’re in or out of church, and that there you are never alone in your journey.
I currently work as a producer at a news station. Given all of the craziness happening on a day-to-day basis, I tend to incorporate my faith frequently in silent moments. When I hear about something scary happening in my community, or in the world, I’ll turn to God. I’ll say a little prayer. I’ll reflect and think of the wisdom I can find in the Gospel. My faith is my solace. It reminds me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Finding a community of faith can be challenging. As I mentioned, I’ve been spoiled by the wonderful individuals I met in Catholic Campus Ministry. Their openness and willingness to be there for anyone is truly something special to behold. Though I’m obviously a few years removed, I have no doubt that this same mentality lives on in the current students that occupy the office. The individuals that I’ve met on my CCM journey have also made me fearless in my pursuit of finding new people to share my faith with. Through my newfound willingness to open up about my spirituality, I have discovered like-minded people that feel the same way about their faith. Some of these people are ones I’ve known my whole life, but I just never previously examined these topics with them. CCM showed me that being proud of your faith, and being unafraid to open up, can open doors that will guide you closer to God.
Though as a current student you may not realize it now, your CCM journey has the strong possibility of tremendously impacting your life. Some lessons will be realized sooner. Some will be realized later. My advice is to open yourself to new ideas and to not be afraid to soak in every little experience. You never know how little moments can make a major impact down the road.