At the risk of sounding like a BuzzFeed article, I want to detail some of the experiences from my college years that I value most. Often we envision college as the academic education that prepares us for a career, but many of my most cherished experiences contributed to my person as a whole. In addition to meeting my husband, our friends, and countless other interesting individuals, here are some of the opportunities I cherish most.
6. Becoming a Butler sports fan
Watching sports on TV is one thing, but attending games with almost alarming regularity in which you actually know the players is completely different. My friends and I used to study hard all afternoon before grabbing dinner on the way to Hinkle Fieldhouse an hour and a half early to make sure we got front row seats in the Dawg Pound. Being able to watch the team play in the 2010 NCAA final inside Lucas Oil Stadium was a highlight. We didn’t just watch basketball, though; you could also find us at soccer and volleyball matches. Additionally, I worked for the Athletic Department all four years, taking tickets at football games and ball shagging for the men’s soccer team. Sports provided me social activities and contributed to my school pride.
5. Living in a new city
My first two years at Butler, I rarely left campus. When Nick and I started dating our junior year, we began to venture off campus and my interest was piqued. The summer before my senior year I stayed at Butler to participate in what is formerly known at the Brain Gain Program. The weekly gatherings with this group took me to sites around Indianapolis, including Lucas Oil Stadium, Victory Field and Mass Ave. When I wasn’t at my internship that summer, I was out running, walking and riding my bike all over the mid-sized city. Exploring Indy gave me a sense of independence in that I found restaurants and parks on my own; it was also the first place I lived outside my hometown, and without my parents.
4. Studying two subjects that interest me
When I entered college, I was a poli sci major, but that changed pretty quickly after my first class in International Relations. I got a C on our big research paper and my professor commented that it would have made a great history paper. Bingo! I soon switched my major. While I didn’t enjoy all my coursework (who does?), I took some memorable classes, such as History of Children and Youth, and Archaeology (affectionately known as “Big Dig Gig” amongst my friends who took the course with me.) I was also able to (at the time it felt more like “strong-armed into”) conducting several independent research projects. I completed “She’s Got Legs, She Knows How to Use Them”
The Impact of Female Marathon Runners on Issues of Discrimination in Mid-20th Century America in 2011, and Getting Their Letters: The Development of Women’s Athletics at Butler University Since Title IX in 2012, both of which I am very proud. Let’s not forget my other major, though; I came to love Spanish more than ever before in college. I took more classes than was necessary to graduate, primarily in literature, but also in language topics. Spanish has been valuable to me when traveling to Honduras, as I share a language with my friends there. It is also a language I share with Nick, and one we want to share with our future children.
3. Running half marathons and other races
I’m not sure that if I hadn’t gone to Butler, I would have started racing half marathons, or even seriously running at all. During college was when I really took to running, and I found myself in an encouraging atmosphere. Butler’s HRC offered an indoor track as well as treadmills and other equipment, but the campus itself offered access to the canal path, which was my favorite place to run in Indianapolis. While in Indy, I participated in the Bulldog Jog, the Jingle Bell Jog 5K & 10K, the Firecracker 6 mile on the 4th of July (in which I won a glass mug for being a top finisher), and a few others. My favorite races, and the ones I am most proud of, have been the five half marathons I have run, all in Indy. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 I ran the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon, and in 2012 and 2013 I ran the 500 Festival Mini Marathon. I guess I can’t break tradition, as I’m signed up to race the Bulldog Jog and the Women’s Half again in 2014.
2. Being part of Circle K International
My high school never had a Key Club, and I only knew the Kiwanis from the annual pancake breakfast they host in Naperville (where I usually just suck down pancakes like there’s no tomorrow), so I had no idea what to expect when joining Circle K International with my roommate. As a freshman, I joined the CKI team for Butler’s Relay for Life. Little did I know then that over the course of the next few years, I would not only participate in many more projects, but that I’d be the one coordinating them. My junior and senior years of college I was the Vice President of Service for Butler’s CKI, and this was the most formative leadership role I held. I learned so much about how the tenets of service, leadership and fellowship come together. Some of my favorite projects were serving at the Boulevard Place Food Bank, playing BINGO with those at St. Vincent New Hope, and cooking breakfast at Ronald McDonald House.
1. Traveling to Honduras
When I first brainstormed this post, my two trips to Honduras were first to come to mind. My initial trip to Honduras was through the Butler Catholic Community in May 2011. A single paragraph cannot express what all I gained from that trip. However, it was on this trip that I first began a passion for working with kids. Previously, I’d been hesitant to even babysit, not knowing how to interact with small children. Yet, with those children, relationships came so easily, and love grew between me and the organization we visited. On my second trip, through my parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary, in February 2013, my bond with the people I’ve met there strengthened. Every time I leave Honduras, I leave a little piece of me there, a piece that I know I’ll have to go back and visit. Without going to Butler, I likely would not be continuing a lifelong relationship with Honduras and the Honduran people.