As the title shows, it has been far too long since I have been on this and the last few posts really chronicle update of my new life and job in Nebraska. Today I want to focus on something that has been on my mind the past week
Adam and I typically go to one of two Catholic churches in Kearney but this past Sunday we decided to go to the Newman Center instead. I haven't been to the Newman Center since right when the school year started. Since I was so new to campus, I really didn't recognize any of the students and I doubt they knew who I really was. When we went on Sunday, I was surprised to see how many of the students I work with at Mass. These aren't students that I see occassionally, but ones that I work with multiple times a week and, for whatever reason, it never dawned on me that, "Hey, they could be religious" and it is from students who I wouldn't have quite expected. It was refreshing to see fraternity brothers and sorority sisters attending mass together. It makes me happy to see that the chapter they joined, with the members in, are supportive and share the same beliefs.
Too often, we allow ourselves to define ourselves by our job. My title as "Assistant Director for Greek Affairs" pigeon holes me in the category of just working with fraternties and sororities, putting out fires, tackling risk management, and the list goes on and on. The first thing that definitely doesn't come to mind is "listener." I have a student who is completely open and comfortable with her faith and loves to sit down and chat with me. Regardless of what I choose to believe it doesn't matter to her but what matters is that there is someone there who is willing to listen to her without judgement. I am not sure how I became that person with her, but I am thrilled to be that for her!
I think, especially since I work for a state institution, we aren't supposed to talk about religion or beliefs. The more I think about it, the more I find this to be contradictory to what I do. I am in the profession of "developing" students to reach their fullest potential. Finding one's spiritual self is part of the process that I think many college students go through in finding their identity. Why do we have to draw the line? We so much encourage students and colleagues to be that "safe place" for students who trying to find their identity when it comes to sexuality and personal identity, but why isn't religion inluded?