As a high school student I felt that the world was my oyster and college was an opportunity to live in an entirely new place for four years. Luckily I also had the privilege of not needing to stay close to home to care for family. I prioritized small West Coast schools that emphasized service and global understanding through immersion trips, study abroad programs, and more. My father and I visited California during a Boston winter to tour the schools to which I was accepted. He was skeptical of my west coast idea, but probably needless to say, we took a few paces on the SCU campus and were both pretty convinced.
After graduating from Santa Clara I served for a year through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Seattle where I was partnered with the Recovery Cafe. The Cafe was a refuge for gathering, healing, and transformation for individuals overcoming addictions, homelessness, mental health challenges, and more.
SCU played a large role in shaping who am I now and what I do. Although I am not Catholic I was very involved with Campus Ministry at SCU and felt extremely welcome there. During my freshman year I attended the Discover retreat which offered guidance around finding my true vocation and calling. It equipped me with specific questions to ask myself as I make my journey through life and face joy and suffering and develop deeper understandings about the world and its needs. It provided ways to unearth my own skills and passions, acknowledge limitations, and how to use all this information to develop a bigger picture. This practice of Vocational Discernment has guided me forward to become closer and closer to finding my calling with the passing years. I am not at the pinnacle of living my vocation yet but I am beginning to understand what it might be.
During my time at Santa Clara there was so much that stood out but what I love most is that there is a lot of innovation happening at Santa Clara and this innovation extends in many directions. The generally positive relationships between professors, staff, and students only encourages more ideas and empowerment to make them happen.
As SCU continues to shine ever brighter, I hope it prioritizes using its many kinds of resources to combat the darkness in the world. Many genuine congratulations to Santa Clara University if it is ranked a top school for business, engineering, arts, and more. But if it does not rank as a top school for using her position and power to lessen the suffering of others then it has deviated from one of her core values.
The world needs Santa Clara University. When I was a student at Santa Clara I learned that the university not only enrolled undocumented individuals but offered them significant scholarships. This is just one example of how SCU can be and is the change that the world needs.
As I write this now I am working in the largest refugee camp in Greece where over 8,000 people are trapped in hellish conditions in a tiny plot of land until they are relocated or sent back to their countries. There is a hierarchy of who gets relocated into mainland Greece or other parts of Europe with vulnerable individuals and Syrian women and families being at the top. Men from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Cameroon, the Congo, and more often wait for months and YEARS here and can be sent back because their countries are deemed “safe.” I have met quite a few of these men because they volunteer to be translators in the medical clinic late into the night. It is a hard job! I have been shuttering to think these kind, educated, and progressive young Afghan (and other) men may be sent back to their country. Are there opportunities available for refugees at Santa Clara or other schools just as there are for undocumented immigrants? I think the world needs actions like this and SCU is the type of school to be the example.
I am passionate about individuals, especially women, having the needed information and resources surrounding their own holistic health as well as the agency to be safe and make the best choices for their wellbeing.
I can’t stop, won’t stop, and I invite anyone in my network to exchange knowledge, motivation, resources, and support.
I have met some of my very favorite people at Santa Clara and am grateful to have been there during such a malleable time of life. It will always be a part of my relationships and trajectory.
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