Monday, September 10, 2012

Insignificant Post

Two days ago marked 3 months in Seattle. Only 3 months! Oftentimes it feels like I've been gone so long, but it has only been 3 months!

Last week was thankfully a short week, but it sure felt like an extra long one. Tuesday and Wednesday I spent at SSCC and got lots accomplished. At the IP office at SSCC we offer airport pick ups for international students for a small fee, and on Wednesday night I had my first airport pick up assignment. I was horrified at the idea of driving to the airport, alone, for the first time, and in the dark, but the first half of the trip went perfectly fine. The student found me and the sign I was holding with his name on it and I dropped him off at his host family's house. It was when I was returning to SSCC when everything went horribly wrong; I pulled into the college's driveway with the car only to see that the gates to the parking lot were shut and locked. I frantically called Zach and my supervisor, but I couldn't really be helped since the security office on campus was already closed and it's not like I had any way to contact the correct help. So I ended up just driving over the grass to get to a visitor parking lot and I had to leave it there for the night. It was already past midnight, and I was not happy about how long the whole situation was taking. Well, it gets worse. As I was driving across the lawn, I noticed the very last bus to downtown Seattle careening down the road. After several minutes of pure panic and distress, I caught the last bus going in the wrong direction, and ended up transferring buses in a horrible neighborhood at 1am in order to get back to downtown Seattle. It was a long, horrible night; but I'm glad it's over and I've already had another airport pick up that went much, much better than my first one.

Thursday and Friday I spent all day at GAship Training/Orientation. Between the two days, we had 6 hours of Jesuit 101, 6 hours of Cultural Competency Training, and 2 hours of Graduate Assistantship Basics. Though I was a little bitter about the readings for trainings, and of course the long, two day schedule, the entirety of it was entirely helpful. I was nervous about attending a Jesuit university and knowing nothing about the Jesuits, so now I feel a lot more prepared to represent my institution as a student and graduate assistant. The cultural competency training was some of the best I ever had, and it sure was nice to get closer to other students in my cohort at the same time. The bonding continued when we went out to Happy Hour together afterwards.

Besides my second airport pickup on Saturday, I had a decent weekend. Saturday I met up with my friend Kaily for coffee and we talked a lot about Seattle University and our life plans. Sunday night Zach and I went over to the apartment of someone in my cohort in order to cook sushi together and play some videogames. It was the most social weekend I think I've had since moving here, so that feels good!

When I started typing this blog post, I thought maybe I might have something interesting to say about my past week, but now I feel as though I really didn't. For those of you who read to the end, I'm sorry that this was slightly boring. I'm trying to work on my theme blogging, where I don't just ramble about my life between blog posts, but I actually get fired up about something and have a specific theme or subject to my posts. Yeah, we'll see how that goes.

Believe it or not, classes FINALLY start next week Thursday! I am stoked to order my books once my GAship check comes in! Until next time... (^_^)

Saturday, September 1, 2012


My decision to apply to Seattle University was a light one in comparison to the research, guidance, and work that other grad students put into finding the right program. Simply put, SU had a good reputation, a highly appealing course load, and I couldn't see anything I didn't like about it besides the fact that grad students here don't get much financial help, even with a GAship. Sometimes I think that I should have sought after an institution that would help pay for my masters, but eventually I realize, and will continue to realize, that Seattle University is going to be worth my money.

And so I find myself, an atheist, in a Jesuit university. When I was awarded a graduate assistantship, I learned that all GAs were to read sections out of two books that they sent to us: Ignatian Humanism and Heroic Leadership. When I first heard this, before I knew what the books were about, I was apprehensive to read them. I didn't want to be preached to, I didn't want to read about 'god,' I didn't want to learn to pray. I had accepted the fact that I was now enrolled in a private institution and would have to accept the differences, but I wasn't ready to be converted, by any means.

I put off reading them. I put it off and put it off, joking with my friends that I had to read "Jesus books" as part of my graduate assistantship, something I now realize could be offensive, and I regret saying it. But one day I cracked open Ignatian Humanism and dove into 15th century Spain and the life of Ignatius of Loyola, someone I didn't know existed until recently. I was fascinated by his life, failures, and successes on his way to becoming the founder of the Society of Jesus. More reading taught me about the incredible lives of other pioneers of the religion such as Matteo Ricci, Francis Xavier, and Pedro Arrupe. Ignatius's soul searching pilgrimages and deep dedication to generosity, Ricci's introduction of China to the western world, and Arrupe's incredible experiences learning from and befriending the Japanese, including living through Hiroshima with them; it is a fascinating story. I think that in the near future I will find myself reading the rest of the book, and much more than what was required of us for training.

Right now I'm still working on the other book Heroic Leadership and it is proving to be a very valuable read. According to the text, Jesuits became leaders by: understanding their strengths, weaknesses, values and worldview; confidently innovating and adapting to embrace a changing world; engaging others with a positive, loving attitude; and energizing themselves and others through heroic ambitions. No matter where I turn at this university, in readings, in work, in course preparations; I find myself learning necessary lessons for not just my future career, but also to make myself a better person. A book that I honestly thought would preach to me what I need to do in order to be a religious leader is turning out to be a no-nonsense book about how to be a real leader, from the inside, out.

Which brings me to the title of this post: reflection. It is somewhat of a joke amongst students in the SDA program that there is such copious amounts of reflection required for each course, internship, and assignment. It wasn't until I began reading these texts that I realized its necessity. The Society of Jesus was founded on the large amount of time that Ignatius had to reflect while he was ill in bed for months. Since then, his followers have known and utilized the value in reflection, and it is a practice passed down and practiced to this very day. After reading portions of these texts, the reason the students in our program have so much reflecting to do is obvious.

I never thought I'd find myself in a private university, but I'm glad I chose to come here. Thank goodness it is finally September, because I am quite impatient for classes to start! Countdown: 19 days. At least I'll get to order my books soon! Later today Zach and I are volunteering at Bumbershoot, and after our shift I get to see City and Colour perform. All in all... HAPPY WEEKEND!