As I sat outside this weekend, enjoying the spring-like weather, I began thinking about how much has happened over the past four years. I spent Sunday afternoon at one of my favorite places on Dominican’s campus. The quad is the center of campus, and for me, it’s the center of my time here.
Sunday finally brought warm weather and sunshine, and I took full advantage of it! My friends and I spent the day throwing the football, playing baseball, and laying on blankets and catching up. What seemed like a normal spring day outside meant more to me than my friends probably realized at the time.
Throughout my time at DU, some of my fondest memories happened in that very same place.
My freshmen year, I met my roommate Cristin, who soon became one of my best friends. We took our first picture together on the quad during Welcome Weekend, and it was the start of a great four years.
From the very beginning of my time at Dominican, I had heard about the infamous Candle and Rose Ceremony that took place on the quad the night before graduation each year. During my sophomore year, my best friend asked me to be his Rose. Standing on the quad with Justin the night of the ceremony, I remember thinking about how grateful I felt to be part of such a great tradition and how excited I was for my own Candle and Rose Ceremony.
One of my favorite DU events is DU Fest, which welcomes us all back to campus at the end of the summer. Last year I was able to enjoy the festivities with some of my residents and friends. Having everyone celebrating a new year on the quad is something I have looked forward to each year.
This year I have spent hours sitting outside, enjoying the company of friends and appreciating the conversations we’ve had. Last week, the seniors toasted to our upcoming graduation at the Almost Alumni reception. It was great celebrating with fellow classmates and some of the DU’s faculty and staff. But the night wouldn’t be complete without a picture on the quad with some of my best friends.
As I look forward to my next adventure and have to say “see you later” to my friends, I do know that at some point, we will all return home to Dominican’s quad, the heart of our time together at DU.
If you asked me four years ago what I would be doing after college graduation, I probably would have given you a blank look and shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, much less know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
That changed during my sophomore year, when I became a resident assistant. I fell in love with student affairs, and I knew that’s what I wanted to put my energy into.
Now, less than fifty-five days from graduation (but really, who’s counting?!), I am thrilled to know what I’ll be doing next. After dozens of interviews, lots of trips, and even more graduate school applications, the process is finally complete.
Marquette University, here I come! I will be pursuing a master’s degree in their College Student Personnel Administration program. As if that’s not exciting enough, I will have a graduate assistantship within their Residence Life Department. I’m looking forward to working and learning at another institution that is mission-driven and service-oriented, similar to Dominican. I’m also happy that I’ll be on campus with my younger sister, as well as only a quick drive from my parents’ house. I will be working with a great group of people, and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team.
I grew up going to Marquette games, visiting campus, and supporting the school that both of my parents went to. We are definitely a Marquette family, and I’m very excited to continue the Golden Eagle tradition.
It’s hard to believe that my time at DU is nearing an end. These past four years have led me to where I am today. I am prepared for graduate school, I am qualified for a job, and I have the faith to challenge myself with something new!
Thinking back to four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I didn’t know which college I would go to, what I would major in, or what job I wanted to have one day. I ended up at Dominican, and the rest, they say, is history.
Fast forward to now, and I’m back in a similar situation. A few things have changed though – I now know that I want to pursue a degree in Higher Education Student Affairs. But what I still don’t know is where I’ll be for graduate school.
I completed all of my applications during the fall semester, and then the waiting game began. (And if you know me at all, you know this is a game that I don’t do very well at!) My acceptance letters have started to arrive, and with that, the interviews have begun. This past week, I traveled across the great (and rather boring when you’re driving for 4 hours) state of Illinois and headed to Western Illinois University for their CSP (College Student Personnel) Days.
A full three days of presentations, socials, and interviews allowed me to experience a school that I truthfully never imagined myself at. I’m a city girl who loves to be busy, so Macomb, IL is the last place I thought I would go. Little did I know though, I would be pleasantly surprised. After meeting the program faculty, talking with the current graduate students, interviewing for a few assistantship positions, and walking around campus, I absolutely loved it there!
Could I end up there? Quite possibly! But wait – there’s more schools to explore. Up next, I’m off to Colorado to tour and interview at the University of Denver. I don’t know where I’ll end up or what job I’ll have. But one thing I do know is that choosing a graduate school is going to be a very hard decision.
It was only a week into my last semester at DU, and I was already feeling pretty overwhelmed. Looking at my syllabi, I realized that not only was my semester going to be busy with graduate school applications, interviews, and acceptances. But I would also have lots of papers, projects, and presentations to do. What I needed was some time to relax, come up with a game plan to make it to graduation, and enjoy some time with friends.
And that’s exactly what I got! Four of my closest friends and I piled into my car last Friday afternoon and started to drive into the sunset. We were headed for a place of paradise. No, we weren’t going to Florida or getting on a cruise ship. We were going to a place that was a hundred times better. We were going to spend a weekend at the Sinsinawa Mound for a Senior Leadership Retreat.
Arriving at the front door late at night, we were welcomed by our beloved Sr. Jeri who was smiling and almost jumping up and down upon seeing us. Sr. Jeri, who has become one of my greatest heroes, had invited us to her home, and she was relieved that we had made it in one piece (she apparently doesn’t trust my driving!) and she was excited for a fun-filled weekend she had planned for us. All of us stood there smiling, laughing, and hugging each other – our senior weekend was just beginning.
Throughout the next three days, we spent time in prayer, conversation, and reflection. On Saturday, we got to spend some time with some of our beloved DU Sisters. We visited with Sr. Janet, who shared her infectious laugh with us. We talked with Sr. Mary Eileen, discussing what each of our plans are for after graduation. We also saw Sr. Kate and Sr. Patty, as we spent time talking with them and hearing what they’ve been up to.
Later on Saturday, we participated in service projects, helping the sisters with some tasks around the Mound. It was nice to have the chance to give back to the people who were so generously hosting us.
Being typical college students, we stayed up late (okay, it may have even been 3:30 or 4:00am) each night. We spent time together laughing, talking, laughing, sharing stories, laughing, worrying about the future, and laughing some more. I think if the saying is true that laughing makes you live longer, I may break the record for being the oldest person in the world someday.
Sunday morning brought a beautiful Mass, which was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Surrounded by some of the strongest, most intelligent, and loving people I know, I felt at home worshipping, singing, and praying with them.
We shared our last meal with the sisters on Monday at noon. All of them wished us well in our last semester, reaffirmed our plans for after graduation, and assured us we would be in their prayers.
Saying “good-bye” to Sr. Jeri and our senior weekend in paradise was very hard. It was sad to leave, but we were refreshed and excited to look ahead to what was next. It was back to reality and back to our last semester together as Dominican seniors.
As I headed back to campus after Christmas break, I was feeling a bit sad. I wasn’t just disappointed that Christmas and our break were over. I was also beginning to realize that it’s my last semester at Dominican. That’s right… I walked in here as a freshman in August of 2009, and now it’s 2013. Where has the time gone?!
Wanting to get my last semester started off the right way, I attended Resolution | Invest In You, conference pu on by DU Student Involvement. I wasn’t really sure what I had gotten myself into, but I was excited. Wednesday morning, the day before classes started, I joined 100 other students in the Parmer Atrium for a great leadership conference. Not only were the workshops, presentations, and speakers great, but there was an overall positive energy spreading around campus.
Part of that positive energy was because of Jason LeVasseur. Jason, a very successful musician and songwriter, joined us for the day-long conference. He kicked off the day with a keynote address. But it wasn’t just any old address – add a few guitar solos, some songs from his latest album, and a few jokes about Wisconsin, and you had quite the show! Jason talked about leadership and how he has developed as an individual and discovered his own leadership abilities.
The theme of the day quickly became that “we’re all rockstars.” Jason kept telling us that we are rockstars. Whether it’s because of a specific talent, a major we’re pursuing, or our ability to make people laugh, we are all rockstars. Looking around the room, I saw the talents, the passions, and the accomplishments of each rockstar. Jason’s talk really inspired me, and I learned a lot about myself. His passion, energy, and genuine love for life made me realize how easily I can get wrapped up in my routines and easily miss what’s going on around me.
My goal for my final semester at DU is to take advantage of all the opportunities given to me, such as attending Resolution. Since this leadership conference, I have continued to explore the idea of leadership, discovering my own strengths, and finding my inner rockstar! Attending this conference was the best way to start off my final semester at DU. I know that I’m a rockstar, and I can’t wait to help others find their potential, so that we can all be DOMINICAN rockSTARS!
Every year before my birthday, my family and friends will ask me what I want to do for my birthday. My answer is always, “Oh I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.” Usually I end up going out for dinner, and that’s that. My birthday is always enjoyable, but this year, my 22nd birthday, was one of the best.
My friends from Dominican and I headed to downtown Oak Park for dinner on Friday night, admiring the Christmas lights and decorations that lined Lake Street. After a great dinner and a bit of ice cream (it was especially tasty in the December weather), a few more friends and I headed to Forest Park to spend some time together. Because of my involvement at DU, I don’t get off campus as much as I would like to. So, this was a welcomed night off – no homework and no duty, just lots of fun with friends.
Little did I know that my birthday weekend was just beginning! My family traveled down from Milwaukee to DU on Saturday afternoon, and we went to mass in Rosary Chapel together. Celebrating mass with the Sisters and other community members meant a lot to me, and it was nice to be able to welcome my family into our worshiping community at DU. After eating a bit of dinner in River Forest, my family and I attended the Leahy Family Christmas holiday concert at Dominican’s Performing Arts Center. The auditorium, almost completely filled, was full of energy and Christmas spirit as the Leahy family shared holiday stories, songs, music, and dancing with the audience. It was, by far, one of the best concerts I have ever seen.
As if my weekend hadn’t been fun enough, my family and I headed to a nearby hotel to spend the night. Having been away from home for my past three birthdays, it was fun to wake up with my family on my 22nd birthday. We enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch together to celebrate.
Unfortunately, my birthday couldn’t last forever, and my family headed home. But before the weekend was over, there was a bit more time to have some fun. So, I met up with some friends for dinner. We went to Fuego Loco in Oak Park, which has become our favorite place to hang out. A bottomless bowl of chips and five different kinds of salsa is just the beginning. (If you’ve never been here, I highly recommend it. It’s just a few minutes from campus, near Lake Street and Oak Park Ave!)
My birthday weekend was so special, and I’m so glad I got to spend time with both my family and my friends. I’d have to say my last birthday at DU was quite a success!
When I came to Dominican as a freshman, I had only been to downtown Chicago a handful of times. So, one of the perks of being at DU was its close proximity to such a big city. During my four years here, I’ve enjoyed running 5K runs along Michigan Ave, visiting Millennium Park, and trying out all kinds of restaurants. It’s such a thrill to be downtown with thousands of other people, the L rumbling overhead, and so many different things to experience.
This past weekend, I got to treat my family to that exciting experience. My dad and I surprised the rest of my family with tickets to Chicago on Broadway’s production of Les Miserables, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. My sister and I were both involved in our high school’s production of Les Miserables, and ever since then, our family has loved the music and the story.
I thought a day in Chicago would be a great way to kick off the holiday season with my family. On Sunday, instead of coming back to campus by myself, my parents and three siblings came with me. We enjoyed a nice lunch in downtown Oak Park, and then hopped on the L to head into Chicago. After a quick twenty-minute train ride and a short walk, we were at the theatre. Although we were only miles from campus, it was like we were in a whole different world.
Les Miserables was an incredible show, and my whole family loved it. For those of you who haven’t seen it before, I would really encourage you to go see it. And if you can’t make it downtown to the theatre, head to the movies to see the new film when it’s released on Christmas!
Even though we only spent a few hours downtown, it was a great family outing. The pace, the noises, and the spirit of downtown Chicago is such a fun environment. I feel very lucky to be able to have experiences like this, and I know that because I am so close to the city, I can enjoy more moments like these in the future.