SXU Gives Back

Ever since I can remember, serving the needs of others has been something that is of great importance in my life. I’m not sure why, but I have always had this huge sense of empathy for others. Even when I was young, I could always put myself in someone else’s situation and feel what they were feeling. I am very blessed to have this attribute because it gives me the opportunity to connect more with people, even if the things we deal with are not very similar. And I believe that because of my empathy for others, I will always feel called to do service for the less fortunate.

As I have stated in earlier blogs, Saint Xavier has eight core values that this school bases its mission upon.  They are Respect, Excellence, Diversity, Compassion, Hospitality, Integrity, Learning for Life, and Service. Obviously you can more than likely guess which one is my favorite…..respect! Justtttt kidding, it’s service! All joking aside though, finding a school that placed service at the forefront of its values was something that meant a lot to me. And it is because of SXU and all the service for the less fortunate that I have done that I am who I am today.

glenmary.

Glenmary group from SXU.

Every year, Campus Ministry sponsors Spring Break Service Trips to various service sites around the US. When I heard about this opportunity, I immediately signed up. I had only done service on a smaller level, but going out of state and serving others really intrigued me. My first year, I was randomly assigned to volunteer at Glenmary Farm in Vanceburg, Kentucky. It was at this farm that I not only bonded with twenty other SXU students and faculty, but also started the process of loving and accepting myself. It was through working in a food pantry, spending time with the elderly in a nursing home, and being away from all the craziness of everyday life that I began to reflect upon who I was. I’vealways struggled with perfection; wanting the perfect life, grades, and body. But Glenmary Farm showed me that I have so much to be thankful for, and if my life isn’t perfect, oh well! Life isn’t about getting everything you want, but accepting and loving what you have.

Me and Wild Woman in good ole KY!

Me and Wild Woman in good ole KY!

 

 

Working on Leotis' wheelchair ramp!

Working on Leotis’ wheelchair ramp!

My sophomore year, I went on yet another trip to Jerusalem Farm in Kansas City, Missouri. The group of SXU students and staff we went with was smaller, but the experience was just as rewarding. We worked on a wheelchair ramp for a man named Leotis, learned more about and advocated for composting, did lots of physical labor, and cooked/ate lots of delicious vegan and vegetarian meals. Just as I learned a valuable lesson at Glenmary, I did so as well at Jerusalem. Even though I’ve attended Catholic schooling my whole life, I’ve never really believed in any higher power…until this trip. I gained a sense of spirituality and created a sense of who I believe that God is. It doesn’t matter if what I believe follows a certain religion, or if it’s what society says I should think…it’s about you and what you need in your life.

jerusalem.

The Don Boscos!

 

Even if you don’t want to attend a week long service trip, there are tons of other ways to serve others. You can donate old shoes in the Share Your Soles containers here, join the service club, or talk with Campus Ministry about their weekly service opportunities.  I promise you, if you’re looking to do something outside of your comfort zone, immersing yourself in service is the way to go. Plus, it shows you just how truly beautiful humanity and life really are.

Peace and Love,

Torie

 

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” –MLK.

Hearts full of love, and a lives fulfilled through service.

Hearts full of grace, souls full of love, and lives fulfilled through service.

 

Spring Break, Heck Yeah!

All my life I could never go on a real Spring Break because of sports. Once I started attending college, I couldn’t go because I didn’t have enough money saved up due to car payments, insurance, credit bills, school loans, etc. Now that I am a Junior in college, working 3 jobs, and am 21 years old I finally made it out on a Spring Break! I started setting aside a little money from each pay check for bills, necessities, and fun. It payed off because when this opportunity came along, I didn’t have to pass it up!

A little bit of Broadway!

A little bit of Broadway!

Where did we go? NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE! Yee Haww

It all started with a little country love. Most people correlate Spring Break with the Panama City Beach or South Padre Island. Not us! Our Paradise was right on the strip of Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee!

13 of us made the plans to get together and we jumped on a Mega Bus (cheap tickets) to Nashville on the first Friday of Spring Break. The bus ride was 10 hours! The bus rode from Chicago, through Indianapolis and Louisville, then finally into Nashville. The long ride just made us more excited to finally get there so we could finally enjoy what we had been waiting for.

Some of the group on the River Front

Some of the group on the River Front

Once we got into our hotel, we were ready to get out on the town! Every night, we went to bed late, every morning we woke up early, spent a lot of money, and made a ton of memories with our friends. We did everything from karaoke, to hot tubing, to cuddling 4 to a full sized bed. We really enjoyed the FREE continental breakfast every morning and FREE Happy Hour every late afternoon. The weather was real nice, too! On day one as we walked the strip, we had to stop in every store, bar, and facility we passed. One of my favorite parts of Nashville was that there was live music all day every day! We got to the strip and started shopping as early as 10:00a and some of the live bands were already in the middle of their first set! We were even allowed to get up on stage to sing with some of the bands! We took every change and didn’t pass up an opportunity. The walk from the River Front to our hotel was just over 2 miles. Perfect to get some exercise in on the break, as well! We did too much dancing, just enough eating, and not enough sleeping. Our 10 hour bus ride home was really quite because we all slept most of the way.

Janine is one of my best friends! I wouldn't have wanted to spend my Spring Break with anyone else!

Janine is one of my best friends! I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my Spring Break with anyone else!

My Grandparents live about 2 hours from Nashville, so they drove to come see me and my friends. They took one of my best friends and I out to lunch, they showed us around the city, and drove around the Opry. Just the hotel of the Opry was amazing in itself. It was great to be able to find time for each other since that part of my family only congregates about once a year. For lunch we went to Dick’s Last Resort- please take my advice and NEVER take your grandparents to a place like Dick’s. I’m fortunate enough that they found the place humorous, but I was a bit uneasy when we sat down! All-in-all our visit went very well.

On the last day of our trip, I was more than ready to come home to my dorm. I was getting tired of living out of my duffel bag. Now that I am home, I am more than ready to go back! I am already searching for great spots to visit in the future. We have to go everywhere at least once! And if we didn’t enjoy it, maybe give it another chance! I am very fortunate and satisfied in all of my heard work that allowed me to take the time off of work and reality to go on a vacation with my friends. I can’t wait to go somewhere new.

My very first Spring Break was a success. I can promise, I will be back! So, Watch Out Nashville!