Groundhog Guidance

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Dear Groundhog,

I’m so excited for Rome next semester! What are your best travel/study abroad tips?

Signed,

Deus Vult

Dear Deus Vult,

The Rome Program is a wonderful whirlwind of an experience! You can get the most out of it — while keeping your GPA out of the gutter — by being safe and utilizing your travel time.

Luckily you’ve got a slew of resources to help you do just that! From public transportation apps and Google Maps to flight comparison websites, you’ll learn all about how to travel well.

Pro Tip: for cheaper airline and train tickets, make sure you’re clearing the cookies on your laptop and scrolling in incognito mode.

Make sure to use your time on those bus, train, plane and metro rides around Europe to do some reading. As fun as reading Shakespeare plays on campus can be (no joke, group recitations in the amphitheater are a blast), read on your way into Rome as much as you can. You can get through at least a few scenes while waiting for the Cotral buses to show up.

As you travel beyond Rome, take advantage of all the random opportunities that come your way. Take a chocolate making class in Belgium, get tickets to a Mozart concert in his original concert hall in Austria or go on that hike between Italian villages that your friends suggest.

Honestly I could write a whole essay on how to stay safe and have fun in Rome, but really, the most important thing is to remember to be aware of your surroundings and look out for one another. If you do that, you’ll come out the other side just fine and with a whole slew of Rome stories to share.

Enjoy your semester and eat lots of gelato for me!

Happy travels,

Groundhog

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Dear Groundhog,

How do you confront housemates about an issue? 

Signed,

Disgruntled Roommate

Dear Roommate,

Learning to live with other people is perhaps the pinnacle challenge of college life. With everyone coming in with different expectations for how to keep a space, it can be difficult to confront someone about things like chores without people getting defensive.

The best way to confront your roommates is to be honest, but calm, with them. 

Try to avoid outright accusations and absolutes. “You NEVER do this” and “You ALWAYS do that” are generally not going to go over well with most people.

If you’re struggling with chores and cleanliness, work out a schedule with your roommates. For example, each week my roommates and I come up with a schedule for cooking since we eat communal meals.

For bigger issues, find a dedicated time to sit down and talk together. You don’t want to have an altercation at the beginning of the day when people are dashing off to class.

Be aware of your own faults and failings and remember to be charitable to each other. Even if they annoy you, you probably still want to be their friend at the end of the day.

Good luck,

Groundhog

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Dear Groundhog, 

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year. He wants to start talking about marriage, but I think God is telling me he’s meant for the priesthood. What do you do when you and God have the same taste in men?!

Signed,

Trying to Avoid Chalice Chipping

Dear Chalice Chipping,

Well you certainly can’t deny that God has good taste, so I guess you must be doing something right.

At the end of the day, however, discernment is an extremely important and personal journey. If you really think that your boyfriend might be looking at the wrong vocation for him, sit him down and have a serious conversation about it.

If he’s not feeling the call though, don’t push him too hard. God has a plan for everyone, but that’s something we each need to discover for ourselves.

With all due respect, consider the fact that you might be projecting a bit. If you think that he should break up with you and join the seminary, maybe you have other reasons to believe that he’s not the one for you. Try to do some discerning about your own vocation.

No matter what happens, your focus on a love of God bodes well for you and your boyfriend.

Try reaching out to St. Therese of Lisieux, her parents Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, or St. Ignatius of Loyola who are all connected with the process of discernment. They certainly know more about the process than I do!

God bless,

Groundhog

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