A few months ago, I found myself in a long conversation with my mom. It was one of those conversations that took a rather unexpectedly deep turn, seemingly out of nowhere. In this particular instance, we were discussing what it means to be a parent. What is the primary goal of a parent? Is it for the safety of your child? Is it that you help your child find happiness? We concluded that in the Catholic sense, it is to help your child develop a relationship with Christ, and ultimately get them to Heaven. She said that this is why she urged my siblings and me to attend the University of Dallas. UD was a place, she said, that allows you to cultivate your faith rather than question it.
Since this conversation, I have really grown in my appreciation for my parents and their persistence in me to attend UD. I have thought a lot about what my mother said in regard to UD being a place that allows you to grow in your faith. Not only do I believe her to be right, but I recognize how rare this is to find in today’s world.
I want to look back to our senior year of high school. In our senior year, it is the expectation that we all apply to a list of colleges, hope we get into our top three and then make a decision based on the acceptances. When we finally decide where we will be going to school for the next four years, we are between the ages of 17 and 18. This decision is more than just where we will be attending classes, however: it will determine the city we will live in, the people that we will meet, the parties we will be invited to, the culture we will be a part of, and the experiences that we will be presented with. Ultimately, it will set the foundation for the rest of our adult lives.
When we are teenagers, we are expected to make a decision that holds in it the power to shape some of the most formative years of our lives. This is a time when both our identity and faith are fragile and easily manipulated, but at the same time, flourishing, ripe and full of potential. For that reason, I am incredibly grateful that my parents and myself chose for me to go to UD, a tiny liberal arts college in the middle of Irving, Texas.
UD, to me, is a diamond in the rough. It is a place where you will be able to cultivate your faith. The friendships that I have built at the University of Dallas are unlike any other I have made in my life. People here challenge you to be the best form of yourself. Not only this, but the campus offers every possible resource you could need for a young Catholic adult. Clubs like SSJ and Crusaders for Life are two examples that come to mind. When you go to Mass on Sunday, you can expect to see half the people that are in your language class. It is very unique in this sense.
As I reflect back now in my senior year, I have come to realize that there could have been no better place to help guide my formation as a Catholic man. I can only imagine what my spiritual life would have looked like if I decided to go to a school for the sake of their football team or party scene, like many do. I imagine that it would look a lot different than where I am now. I am forever grateful to UD for that. With my limited time left, I plan on cherishing every moment.