Now that I am home for the summer, I finally have a chance to catch my breath. Spring semester flew by and was filled with tons of fun, great friends, and lots of studying.
Spring semester was awesome. As a second semester freshman, I now had one semester under my belt, had found some amazing friends, and for the most part had figured out how to survive in college. I also had a semester packed full of events to look forward to. So bear with me, this could be a long one!
First up was the March for Life in January. This year was my first trip to DC for the March and I can definitely say that it lived up to my expectations. I had heard nothing but great things and awesome stories from my friends, so I was extremely excited. The March and the rally we attended before were very inspiring and powerful. Seeing so many fellow young adults gathering for the purpose of defending those who are unable to defend themselves was awesome and it really showed that we are the pro-life generation. One of my favorite things about the trip was seeing all the southerners react to the cold, especially once it started snowing. Everyone was attempting to make snowballs out of less than an inch of snow or make snow angels. It was cute, in a funny sort of freezing way.
February brought Dorm Wars and Love Week. Dorm Wars is a student body favorite and definitely one of the most fun events all year. It is an all-day competition between the dorms fostering campus unity and dorm pride. And let me tell you, everyone takes Dorm Wars very seriously. My dorm, JPII, decided on the Mayans as our theme this year. The morning of Dorm Wars, we all gathered in the lobby applying face paint and practicing our Mayan chants. Each dorm is judged on their flag, entrance on the field, declaration of war, theme, and overall enthusiasm. As part of our entrance, we sacrificed our RD Christa before we declared war on the other dorms—the Mama T Cavewomen, Joseph Spartans, Goretti Ninjas, and Sebastian Indians. The events of the day included a shoe relay (my event), synchronized swimming, tug of war, and a relay race.
Love Week was a week-long program created by Ave students along with the Student Life Office entirely dedicated to the true meaning of love and relationships. The mission statement of the week was that “We will not remain silent about the lies the culture is telling our generation, leading them down a road to brokenness, and we will not remain silent about the goodness and mercy of God, and how living in accordance with HIS plan for love is entirely fulfilling, beautiful, and good. Our mission is to offer a message of hope and healing to our generation.” Students and professors participated by giving testimonies and speaking, and the week was filled with events such as coffeehouse performances, a panel on “What is Love,” a holy hour and meditation led by Father McTeigue, Ave’s take on speed dating, and the Love Come Alive Concert.
In March we discovered that only at Ave does the entire student body cram into the cafeteria to see the new Pope after getting out of class early. Almost immediately after the white smoke came billowing out of the chimney, the entire campus knew we had a new Pope. Professors released students early and everyone made a beeline for the cafeteria to crowd around the TV. There was such an overwhelming sense of anticipation while we all waited for the announcement, and then a shared cheer of joy when we saw Pope Francis. This showed just how passionate the student body is about our faith, and I love that about Ave. My social networks were literally exploding that day with posts and pictures of our new Holy Father.
Basketball games were another highlight of the spring semester. Our school spirit was especially evident in the Dog Pound at our men’s basketball games. The team had an amazing season, and the home games were always awesome. My favorite game of the season was against Florida Memorial University. The game was a Silent Night, so the Dog Pound stayed quiet until the tenth point. After that, the student section returned to our normal rowdy selves, cheering on our team. Then at the end of the game, the Gyrenes were down by 3 points with 6 seconds left. We scored 5 points in those last 6 seconds to come back and win the game. It was an amazing come back and definitely a highlight of the season for the boys.
In April, we had one of our last big events for the year, the Annunciation Feast Day Party. This is the feast day for the University as well as the town, so definitely a cause for celebration. We had a Eucharistic Procession after the noon Mass and then later in the evening there was a steak dinner and a concert by the Celtic Scythian, as well as entertainment by students.
Then came finals and packing. We really had to buckle down and stay focused to get through the last set of exams of our freshman year. So I returned to my usual place on the floor, spread out my books and notebooks, turned on my Disney music, and armed with highlighters and chocolate, set out to study. In between studying and taking our finals, we also had to pack up our room for the summer. I didn’t realize how much stuff I actually brought until I tried to fit it all in suitcases and boxes. Eventually I somehow managed to squeeze everything in its respective suitcase/box/bag after a great deal of sitting on my suitcases trying to close them and packing my boxes Tetris style. Before I knew it, my freshman year of college was officially over. I’m definitely going to miss my friends and Ave over the summer, and I can’t wait until next semester!