The other day while I was walking back from a class in Miller, I took a second to read all the Jesuit Ideals. They tend to blend into the sidewalk; they’re easy to pass by without really seeing. Some of you reading this might not even know what I’m talking about- on the walkway from the library that extends to the side of Miller, the 12 Jesuit Ideals of Education are cemented into the sidewalk. These ideals represent all the things that Loyola strives to offer its students. As I’m nearing the midpoint of my final year at this school, I can look back and say that all of the ideals have touched my life in some way since I’ve lived here. But the ideal I most identify with, the ideal that inspires me and encourages me, has always been “Learning from Experience.”
When I first started at Loyola, I hesitated to put myself out there. I was so afraid of not being able to do something perfectly that I just didn’t do anything. My classes were fine, but my extracurricular were non-existent. I even shied away from friendships that might have proved trying. As I got more comfortable, I looked for different ways to get involved. I became friends with people who challenged me to see the world differently. I studied subjects I’d never been exposed to. I made lots of mistakes, but nothing that was too long lasting, and with the help of advisors, professors, and friends, I was able to overcome various hardships and come out better for it. I learned from experience, both my own and others, and now I feel ready to take on the world armed with knowledge.
In college we spend a lot of time in the classroom, but so much of what we learn comes after classes are over for the day. I feel so thankful to go to a school that not only provides me with the tools to study but also to test myself in real world situations, whether its through service learning, a tough teacher, or a friend who takes me to their religious service just to show me what its all about. The Jesuits call us to learn from experience, giving us the imperative to experience as much as possible in the hopes of growing from it. I’ve done that here, and now I’m ready to continue doing it in the post- college world.