There are so many “lasts” that have been accruing as a senior at Franciscan University making my way toward the graduation finish line.
Trying to find a topic for my final editorial has been very difficult. How did I want my final contribution to this paper for which I have spent so many years working to resonate?
It is a presidential election year, and I have way too many things about which I could comment but probably not enough space in this edition to do so properly. There are a few specific things about my school about which I could comment or critique before I leave but to what end or advancement?
Then I turned my attention to the inspirational final thoughts contained in an editorial by Jordan Otero, the former editor-in-chief of The Troubadour, as she was nearing her graduation in 2014. She spoke of her time at Franciscan and how we should not be afraid of what is to come as we enter the world.
Knowing how I have lived out my time as a student here, I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to try not to squeeze yourself into what you think a perfect Franciscan graduate is supposed to look like. Take your different experiences, your gifts and your wisdom and use them to enhance the community fostered on campus.
While I was accepted to Franciscan straight out of high school, I decided to begin my college career at a community college back home. Some of the reasons I made this decision were to be closer to my loved ones for one more year and to continue to work and save money in order to come to a four-year institution.
I came to Franciscan as a sophomore transfer student, and I wouldn’t change that decision or any of the other untypical choices I made as a “Frannie.”
I was not able to study abroad in Austria as many people are encouraged to do during their time at school here. But I found main campus to be just as much of an adventure in different ways.
To this day, I have never joined a household. There are many reasons and considerations that went into making that decision, most of which I will not get into here. Among other experiences, my first year on campus was spent living on-wing with a household in St. Thomas More. I had first-hand familiarity of what household life was like through the beautiful women of that household, the good and the bad, and knew that I was not called to join one.
I have had the pleasure of throwing people off during introductions trying to reconcile what year I was and when I actually started school here. Transfers always have an entertaining way of explaining their entire collegiate experience.
I met some of my best friends as we stuck together at the start of our first semester due in part not to fitting into the freshman box or the returning student corner of the world.
Another less-common attribute of my Franciscan life is that I continued dating my high school sweetheart throughout my time here, and thus pursued a long-distance relationship with non-“Frannie.”
I also did not major in theology and catechetics in my Chacos, although I have earned a minor in theology alongside my communications degree. Also, the professor under whom I have studied the most is not Catholic and yet is one of the most Christian people I know.
I have only spent three years on campus, but I like to think that I have made the most of each moment knowing I would be here for a shorter amount of time.
My parting words of wisdom for you are not to take the typical Franciscan experience purely at face-value. Take advantage of the beauty of our school to grow in your faith and stretch your brain powers, but don’t sweat it if you do not fit into the “Frannie” cookie cutter mold.