You see, last May, I walked across a stage and received a folder and all of a sudden, I was done with college. Was I relieved? Absolutely. But I wasn't satisfied. The last week of classes, I had found out that I'd only be receiving one of my two degrees. I had spent four years studying, presenting, writing, proving myself, and I wouldn't have a degree to show for it. As I walked across that stage, I had one thought in my mind: "Get me out of here. I'm so done."
And so I left. I went home for three weeks, and then I returned. I returned for the summer, to lead the Liturgy team for the 10 Steubenville summer Conferences. I returned to 18-hour workdays, repetitive food, and unappreciative conference attendees. I returned and found my faith tried, my prayers (seemingly) unanswered, and my questions reinforced. But I also returned to friendship, loyalty, and teamwork. As I led my team of 6 other college students, I learned more leadership skills than I ever thought I wanted to learn. We went through unexpected transitions and sudden changes. And I discovered what happens when professional and personal collide. (hint: it's not pretty.)
This summer was amazing. I had a dinner conversation with Jennifer Fulfiller and talked with Dr. Taylor Marshall. I met Bishop Zubik, Chris Stefanick, Jackie Francois Angel, Archbishop Hebda, and even took a picture with Bishop Monforton. My team and I coordinated over 7,100 confessions, 30 Masses, and 13 Holy Hours. We served over 13,000 people over the course of the summer. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my job is actually a big deal, and that many people would pay a lot of money to have dinner in the same room as Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Matt Maher, Patrick Madrid, and Fr. Michael Gaitley, all at the same time. Welcome to my weekly life.
I have loved these last 12 months of leadership. I enjoy working behind the scenes and assisting with so many events. But I am ready to move on. While I am admittedly still a bit bitter over the "degree mishap" from May, I'm also just ready for the next step. It's exciting to think about all the possibilities that await me, and those can't begin until I put my undergraduate life behind me.
The morning that I left Franciscan University, I was talking with one of my friends as I cleared my desk at work. He asked how I was doing with leaving, and I took a deep breath before answering.
"You know, it's time. It's been a fantastic year, but I can see that my time here is done; it's bittersweet, but I'm content with leaving. God is good."
Indeed, our God is very good.