The semester is finally winding down, and my second year at Loyola is coming to an end. I’ve definitely learned a bunch in my classes, but it wouldn’t be a school year at Loyola if I hadn’t learned some life lessons along the way…
While I learned Greek and read Paradise Lost, I learned how to be silent. While I wrote countless research papers and tried to learn physics, I learned patience. I met countless wonderful people and reunited with old friends.
So, what have I learned this year that won’t receive a grade?
The Importance of Conversations
I’ve never been good at having “real” conversations, but I definitely learned a thing or two this year. Whether it was a conversation at lunch about random things during the day, or a conversation about racial justice, sexual assault, or politics, each conversation taught me something new. I learned to engage in topics that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable talking about and to ask questions when I really didn’t understand something, instead of just pretending that I knew what everyone was talking about. Most importantly, I learned how to listen better. There’s no way to have a conversation if you don’t listen to others. Although my friends may accuse me of having awful hearing, that doesn’t mean I’m not listening.
The Importance of Kindness
Whether it’s a smile and a “Hey, how are you?” in the Student Center or being a shoulder to cry on, we can all use a little more kindness in our lives. I think it’s important to remember that a kind gesture, no matter how small, can mean so much in a person’s day. No matter what kind of day I’m having, someone holding a door for me or smiling and waving to me on the Quad is a bright spot in my day.
The Importance of Discernment
(Is there anything the Jesuits love more than discernment?) I had a lot of decisions to make this school year and I had to learn how to discern pretty quickly. And although it takes a lot of time, the things I discerned and the choices I made as a result of the discernment process are things I don’t regret at all.
The Importance of Silence
I went on two silent retreats this year and was blessed to spend these two weekends in silence, one each semester. It was a gift to be intentionally still, and it really made me appreciate the moments of silence in my everyday life (even if it was time spent tucked away in the Humanities building studying, or during the late hours of the night when everyone else was asleep). This year I’ve come to appreciate and cherish the moments of silence in my life. It’s a chance to recharge and be alone with myself, and often a chance to be alone with God.
The Importance of Patience
Whether it was working with first-year students or trying to talk to my professors or just interacting with my roommates, patience was a really big part of my year. Only when we are patient can we truly enjoy the things going on around us. It’s hard to be patient, especially when you’re waiting for other people, but it’s really important to remember to be patient with yourself as well as with those around you. Everybody moves at a different pace, and I guarantee none of those paces will match your own.
The Importance of Laughter
Whether laughing at a joke or at my own situation, I wouldn’t have made it through this year without the gift of laughter. I’m continually thankful for my friends, who make me laugh every day and let me try to make them laugh in exchange. I’m thankful for the puns, the hilarious situations, and the jokes we shared this year, but especially the puns.
I hope my fellow Greyhounds have a relaxing summer.
Until next fall, Kelly