I have always loved Blessed Mother Teresa’s quote: “A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Prior to starting college, I knew that living my dream would bring me a joyful heart, which I would be able to shine on others. My dream was to be a doctor of nutrition. I was also an avid high school runner, so I looked at many different colleges based on my future career interest and my running passion. Loyola was the last of twelve schools that I explored, and despite the school not having a nutrition major and it being too late to explore an athletic scholarship, Loyola College just felt like home. I remember following the student tour guide on a sunny spring day with a cool gentle breeze and just feeling very at peace with myself and one with God. After a short tour, I already knew the campus; I knew the campus because in my heart I knew it was going to be my new home.
After graduating from Loyola University Maryland last May, I can proudly say that Loyola is still my home as a graduate student. I pursued a different path in my undergraduate education shifting from a Biology major to an Interdisciplinary Writing/Biology major, as well as a Theology major. I felt blessed enough to have had many friends and even a close mentor and role model come to me in college when going through trying and difficult times saying that of all people they could talk to, they felt comfortable talking to me. Further, they felt warmed talking to me because of how important faith is to me; thus, they felt that by talking to me, they could incorporate faith into whatever they were going through.
God’s light and love were truly working through me while listening to my friends and mentor and encouraging them because I not only enjoyed being on the journey with my friends and mentor, but I also felt closely connected to God seeing Him in the experiences. I thought that with studying Biology, Writing, and Theology in college, I would pursue a career in one of those strict disciplines. However, God had other plans, which I am so thankful for.
About the same time I was enjoying being there for my friends and mentor, I heard about Loyola’s Pastoral Counseling program. When I saw in the brochure that this Pastoral program was advertised as a “journey” and a “calling,” I felt a pull in my heart that God was leading me on a new path in my life—not as a nutritionist, biologist, theologian, or even an all-star runner, but as a pastoral counselor—a path in which I could use my gifts of being empathetic, restorative, caring and a good listener—a path in which I could live my faith by serving others.
I am so blessed to still call Loyola my home being a graduate student, but I am even more blessed to call the journey in Loyola’s Pastoral Counseling program my heart—my heart filled with joy.