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priorities

This semester, for me, has been plagued with the realization that in just one year, I’ll be graduating from Fontbonne. Now, all students have known that their graduation is 4 years, 3 years, 2 years, right around the corner; however, I have only seen the monolithic decisions that I’ll have to face upon receiving that degree. I’m bringing this up now as I’ve just returned and reflected off of a retreat that was sorely needed. The Rest and Renewal Retreat gave me a brief 24 hrs to stop, relax, and focus on the things that I want to have in my lifelong journey and those things that hitch a ride unwarranted. I was given a chance to see the many faults I have in being true to my: integrity, drive, and faith.

My integrity to do things like attending school events or talking to a friend about possible future plans to hangout. I seem to not be doing things that I have a genuine desire to do, I just do them because I’m asked or feel obligated when I’m not really interested. Growing up, I was told by my parents that I wasn’t capable to play soccer or learn an instrument. Believing this, I followed suit and just stopped asking and let others run my life. I’d been conditioned to listen, not to carry the conversation forward. I tried to fill in the gaps by doing what others wanted, not myself. This retreat made me realize how much I’ve been missing out on in my own life. I’m beginning to take charge and stepped down from positions and posts assigned to me, not ones I’ve chosen.

My drive has always been in question as if it was really mine or just a call to serve my friends. Recently, I’ve seen how attending many events on campus are only alternative means of interaction, in place of just going out for lunch or sitting in the AMC to talk. These events that I once thought to allow deep relationships to form only allow for the superficiality to come in crystal clear. People I once thought of as my best friends rarely speak, telling me it was much more on the surface. This retreat made me see that I desire to be in those smaller, intimate moments of conversation instead of these empty shell congregations.

My faith has been growing over the past year. Attending and helping plan retreats, mass, and choir have given a sense of loving friendship and community that the whole of Fontbonne are unaware of. Our school prides itself on the community that forms between students, but it rarely forms a as a result of the exclusivity that permeates many of our student orgs. Campus ministry is different in that its personal and beautiful. This recent retreats was needed to show me that my faith in community was simply in the wrong place. It was with acquaintances and not friends.

This retreat gave a system shock. I saw the misattribution of what I want in life, who I want in life, and who I want to lead my life. I hope to use these internal guideline to put forward a senior year that is more true to myself and not to others.

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College is a world where you are capable of writing a paper in one night because you were up all night studying the night before. In this world of insanity, it is important to be able to balance everything. This includes school, activities, and maybe even work. If you have a clone, you have it easy. However, most of us are not that up-to-date with technology and have to grasp a concept called “balancing.” Learning to balance all these things comes down to two things: organization and prioritizing.

Organizing is all about what you prefer. I like keeping a planner of everything including assignments, social events, and work. If you have something to do, simply write it down. Think of it as past you helping out future you. Organizing isn’t just writing stuff down, it’s getting stuff done. When you have a deadline, stick to it. Deadlines are there for a reason: to avoid being a crazy college student who needs to cram in a whole unit in one night. Organization can be breaking stuff up or keeping track of things, but either way you are staying┬ásane in college. If you organize well, you will have breathing room.

Priorities are easy to define, but hard to set. Yes, the night out with your girlfriends will help you emotionally but it won’t help with the paper due the next day. You may want to visit home, but you have an obligation. You are in charge of your priorities and keeping them straight. School should be top, but a social life is vital to the college life as well. This is where the balancing act comes in and you become less crazy.

In college, no one is actually sane. That’s the fun part, you don’t have to be. You can be stressed, you can be lazy, and you can be successful being a combination of both. The balancing act can seem hectic at points but will help in the long run. So be insane and go to college, it’s one of the best expereiences you can have.

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.