16″ x 20″ watercolor on clay board
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As a high school student, I never thought I would attend a religiously affiliated college after working so hard to make it clear that I was adamantly against organized religion. It’s amazing what unexpected things young love will make you do, like transfer to a pricey, Marianist, Catholic college. I stood at the entrance of the University of Dayton at the start of my sophomore year asking myself, “What have I gotten myself into? I’ll be turning papers into professors in habits and dragged to mass every week.”
What I expected to basically be a limiting and strict academic convent actually was a liberating catalyst for my interest in activism and service. The University of Dayton was a place for all of my bitterness to be transformed into positive energy and talent that has resulted in outcomes like this blog.
Although I didn’t walk across the graduation stage a converted Catholic, I did leave UD a changed woman for the better. I gained a deep appreciation for faith and those who had devoted their lives to a greater good. Service and community were integrated into the classrooms, the residence halls, even spring breaks, and often professionally after graduation. I liked that folks at UD partied as hard as they prayed. And although bowing my head during prayers was a mere show of respect, I knew the religious leaders on campus I had come to revere understood me, embraced me, and stood by my side.
I never went to a single mass, and insisted on using the crucifix permanently anchored by my door as a place to hang my keys. Nevertheless, the person I became as a result of my time at UD would not have happened anywhere else. So, I’m honored to continually create artwork, like this collage, for the University. I might drop it off myself and spend a weekend with my last link to the current student body, my freshmen residents. Surprise surprise, I was an RA!