I apologize for not writing yet; I have been immersing myself in the blessed college life at Franciscan University of Steubenville! But I do not have anything until lunch and class, so I figured I would take a moment to write. For those of you interested, I shall provide a brief overview of life here since last Thursday, when I arrived:
Thursday: Ridiculous re-routing of my plane schedule, so that instead of arriving at college around noon, I showed up about 6:30 p.m. But it's all in God's plan, and it was an awesome day! I have met so many incredible people! And-scarily enough-they are knowing me! At lunch a few days after I arrived, I heard whispering behind me. "There she is-there's AnneMarie in her Feast Day Hat!" I turn around, to see these two sophomores or juniors who I have never seen before in my life! They start freaking out, saying "Oh my gosh!!!!!! We are fans. We are so your fans! You've been wearing the hat for two years?" So apparently they had heard the story of my Feast Day Hat from someone, and had been longing to actually get to meet me. They were very awesome! It was great to meet them! But if information like that spreads like wildfire....it is just a crazy feeling, being on a campus with 2,000 undergrads and already some random people know my name and such...Oh gosh....
Friday: I went to a couple mini-sessions, and chilled out a bit. I met a ton of awesome people, and got my bed all lofted and made. I really have to work on my wake-up routine; I am used to jumping out of bed to start my day. I can't really do that now, since I would harm myself by jumping out of bed. I'll figure out something.....we also had a "Welcome to Life at Franciscan" presentation, which consisted of a hilarious skit that exaggerated--but accurately communicated--many aspects of the university. Oh gosh. It was hilarious! You had to be there....after that, I went to my awesome small group, played Mafia outside, and finished up the night with "Tangled" in my dorm! Can I go on a little tangent about my awesome dorm? I live in Tommy More, which is an all-girl's dorm. The nickname for this place is "The Mansion." It was a fun community of girls, an awesome chapel, and crazy awesome RAs!
Saturday: A few sessions about the different opportunities on campus, Mass, I said good-bye to my mom, I had lunch with awesome people, and then I went shopping! The university usually does not provide shuttles to off-campus areas, but during orientation, they make an exception. I felt like a legit college student, rushing through Wal-Mart, buying everything that I could not take on the airplane (a pillow, hangers, shampoo, toothpaste, storage bins for clothes, etc). After that, I found myself at the Lord's Day for Rosa Mystica. I honestly had not been planning to attend a Lord's Day, so that I could work on organizing my half of our room, but God had other ideas....a girl I met, Dominique, invited me to their Lord's Day. And so I went. And God definitely used that hour long celebration of His Rising. Wow. Moving on....I went to dinner with my roomie (who, by the way, is absolutely awesome! Her name is Emily, and she's a ton of fun and she and I are actually a lot alike in some ways), and then went to the semi-formal dance for the Orientation Team and New Students! The dance was a blast! The live band was comprised of 70 year olds, and they played a ton of oldies music that I had never heard before. But I was dancing around, being crazy with my girlfriends, and it was awesome! After I left the dance, I went back to Tommy More, for the "lock-in." Basically, the doors were locked to all male visitors, and us girls ate cereal, danced, colored, played Apples to Apples, and talked until "quiet hours" started at midnight. And it was awesome!
Sunday: I went to Mass, which was awesome and beautiful and incredible! And after Mass, they played "Alive Again," which now is officially stalking me. Great song! I then went to brunch with one of my new awesome friends, Allison. We were joined by another one of my friends, Brandon, who is a junior here. And we all talked until we were kicked out of the Caf because it was closing! I then talked to my family on the phone for a little bit, and went to Dinner with 12 Strangers. This dinner is an awesome part of Orientation. Here's how it goes: My small group of 7 girls met up with a small group of 6 or so guys. We went off-campus to the house of one of the science professors and his wife. A cute old couple! They were adorable! They made us spaghetti with homemade sauce and meatballs, and used some seasonings from Italy in it! And we had Texas Sheet Cake. We played games, talked, and had a great time! Then, we came back to campus and hung out, and went to "Sundae for Your Sunday," which is exactly what it sounds like. After that, I went to go swing dancing! Every Sunday night at about 10 p.m., a household hosts a casual swing dance outside of the Finnegan Fieldhouse. And since one of the guys who is a big-time swing dancer had met me through Andy, I got to help demonstrate to some people who were learning! And then he taught me some new stuff, and I danced around with other people. It was a blast! At midnight, I went to a showing of "The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged" by the Drama Department. It was like the "Reduced Shakespeare Company," though I think it was a little better, since it was live and these are college students who I will probably end op seeing around. And they had a little audience interaction, which was quite humorous to watch.
Monday: I talked to the different departments that I am involved in, English and Theology. And in the Theology orientation, we basically got a lesson by the friar who led it. It was fabulous! We had a Convocation and Opening Mass, dinner, and the Ministry Fair. I definitely signed up for way to much stuff, but it's all good! They have so many ministries, it is crazy! Then I prayed, talked to one of my best friends on the phone, Irish danced in front of the chapel (it was out of the way, and that way I could dance for Jesus!), watched a little bit of "Pocahontas" in "the fishbowl" (a common room with a tv right next to my room), and followed it with some epic/deep conversations with a couple people!
Tuesday: Psychology class! At 8 a.m.!! And my instructor, Dr. Storm, is awesome/a morning person/crazy cool! And we talked about the importance of names!!!! Fun stuff!!!!
Also, I have been thinking about English recently. Well, it is one of my majors-writing concentration-yay!! I love to write, though it is difficult for me to have a strong patience to carry through a particular piece. I have written fiction before, and I like it well enough. I have written historical papers, and those are nice. I have written a tad bit of fantasy, and that was fun. But honestly, I do not feel as if I have a passion strong enough about any of those writing styles to make a go of it. Still, I felt that I needed to do this English major. I do not have any English classes this semester, so after the Departmental Orientation, one of the instructors actually came over to me (she thought I looked like I wanted to ask her a question) and talked to me for 5-10 minutes! Dr. Sunyoger told me about this interesting type of writing, called "creative nonfiction." Basically, it involves elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary-for instance, discussing a pen. A common pen, but elevating it to the standards of the "extraordinary" through research and personal stories. I had never heard of creative nonfiction before, but it immediately sparked my interest. By talking to Dr. Sunyoger, I began to see that my writing on this blog--which I absolutely love--leans towards the direction of creative nonfiction! I told her how I elevated a massage chair to the discuss God's will, and she started telling me that I am along the lines of creative nonfiction. She began mapping out courses for me to take, and even gave me a website about creative nonfiction!
Elevating the ordinary to the level of extraordinary. Isn't this what Catholicism is all about? In the spirit of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, we do "small things with great love" and our ordinary actions become extraordinary! We become ordinary, we humble ourselves, and we see our nothingness-and God elevates our spiritual lives to an extraordinary level. What looks to be an ordinary piece of bread becomes elevated to the Body of the Son of God. An ordinary woman was elevated to be the Mother of God. Our very lives are simply ordinary existence without God. But with God, our lives are brought to an extraordinary level of love and joy!
Needless to say, I feel that God is showing me what to do. Creative nonfiction so strongly seems to be in my nature and the nature of the Catholic faith. I now have a much greater sense of direction with writing, and it is a relief to know that I will be able to take specialized classes to help develop my creative nonfiction voice!
So go out, and let God elevate your very life for Him to an extraordinary depth of holiness!!
May the peace and blessings of God drench you always!!!!!!!!