Hello everyone! Before I go off telling you my tales of whimsy, I should probably introduce myself; my Name is Michael Madden and I’m a freshman here at Ave Maria. I chose to come here in part because of what I read online and in magazines, but mainly because of the overnight campus visit that I did during my senior year in high school.
Coming down here was an eye-opening experience (if any of you prospective students reading this are able to drive/fly down, I strongly recommend it). Driving around the circle and seeing the Oratory after my plane ride from Cincinnati, Ohio was breathtaking. Also, coming from the North, it was nice to have 70-degree weather in the middle of January.
As confident as I like to think I am, I have to admit that I was initially terrified of being somewhere with hundreds of people I didn’t know and zero people that I did know. However, as soon as I met my host and his roommates after arriving, that all changed. Zack was welcoming and very friendly, and now after having been at Ave Maria for not even a month, I can presently say that this is an accurate representation of just about everyone here. Zack took me to a junior-level Socrates class and, even though I had no idea what was going on, I was fascinated. The way which the professor and students interacted was striking. The relaxed atmosphere of the class of four was so comfortable that if I had any idea what anyone was talking about, I would’ve been able to take part in the discussion without any inhibitions. There was just a vibe that you could say anything (relevant) that you wanted without being judged. I know that in high school, the kid who participated too much was always the kid who got “those looks” while he was talking in class.
After that it was off to daily Mass with Zack; this was the first time I had been inside the Oratory. It was awe-inspiring. Also, the level of reverence that everyone showed during the Mass made it very easy to get into and stay in a Church-state-of-mind.
To finish off the day, I ate dinner and hung out with Zack and his friends and, once again, they were all extremely friendly and welcoming to me; they treated me like family. Leaving the next morning, Zack was sure to wish me well on my two plane rides and one layover in Atlanta to get back home (Fun fact: Zack is now the president of the student body, so I guess you could say I have friends in high places). All and all, I loved my visit here. But even so, it can’t compare to actually being here. I’m so glad that I decided to make Ave my home.