Have you ever had an amazing life-altering experience?

Mount St. Joseph News

An experience that makes your mind expand and your toes curl? An experience that makes your life better and your future brighter? An experience that introduces you to new people and challenges you to experiment with new thoughts and ideas? An experience that leads you to being a better person? An experience that takes your breath away?

Well, I have had that. Over the past few years as a Mount student, I have had such experiences several times. I’ve had feelings of excitement and adventure. I’ve had feelings of complete calmness and stillness. I’ve felt everything from being stressed and overwhelmed to prepared and successful because Mount St. Joseph University provided people, places, and events which served as resources to reaching a pinnacle point.

Travel with me momentarily as I recap some of my best moments as a college student and share how even the worst moments became a catalyst to something greater. Escape with me briefly and let’s reminisce on how awesome our campus has been and continues to be.

Sometimes I took night classes and it was great that they offered such a flexible schedule. I even took a course at Cincinnati State so that I received a course that wasn’t being offered that particular semester at Mount St. Joseph. Sometimes I had to bring my son to campus with me, and he loved the attention he would get from the college girls who told him he was so cute. As a first-generation student, I didn’t have the opportunity to experience a college campus at a young age. I was always proud that my son was able to have the experience, although as he began to grow older, the novelty wore off but the seed has been planted. Plus, I remember how wide his eyes grew when he met Dr. Williams and learned that our President was a black man. He was thrilled and I saw his brain spinning with new opportunities.

I also saw two comedians on campus. One comedian was well known from a show on MTV, and the other from a show on another network. The Campus Activities Board arranged for us to have a few nights of fun. I was impressed that they were able to come to our campus. I often brag to the people around me when I see them on television. I have pictures with one of them from that night. We laughed so hard and the room was dark but very vibrant.

I gained so much energy from campus life. I learned how to play the piano. My mandatory music core selection allowed me to explore an untapped talent. The Mount offers practice pianos and I was able to fall in love with new levels of music. I also took an acting class. I absolutely loved being on the big stage. Then Covid reared its head and the big stage turned into a big screen. We had to rehearse and perform virtually. My classmates were wonderful though because “the show must go on” and it did--flawlessly. Maybe it’s providential that one of us will become a big star since we became so comfortable behind the camera.

Comfort was always one of my favorite experiences. There was a weekend retreat once where a large group of us loaded the Mount van. We played music, ate snacks, and took a road trip for a weekend away for those of us who didn’t have plans during Spring Break that particular year. They planned so many activities for us and kept us outdoors having fun. Plus, I had my own room and bathroom, which made the experience peaceful. By the end of the experience, I made new friendships and strengthened old connections. Chances of meeting new people even though I’d seen their faces were always remarkable.

I went to many athletic events and cheered for the home team but I remember the two riverboat cruises that I took. I had dinner, dancing, and a cruise for only $5, plus I had a hot date. It was absolutely free for us to go to an escape room. Two small groups of us competed against each other as teams to be the first one to use the clues in a room to escape before the other team. It was hilarious problem solving, and I was impressed at how my teammates would decipher certain clues so that we could win.

Of course, winning isn’t everything and some of my favorite memories happened off of campus. I traveled overseas to study abroad in South Africa for an entire semester. I took four courses there and gained new perspectives from people of different nations. I hiked a mountain with a dress on because our original plan was to be at the beach on that day. So halfway around the world I learned to be flexible and enjoy the moment. I also drove four wheelers through the African mountains, went on a safari, and learned what it is like to have a national water shortage. I have pictures of me hugging an elephant and I learned something that I didn’t know prior to seeing it with my own eyes. Did you know there are penguins in Africa? I do now, and I loved the encounter I had with them.

The Mount absolutely opened up new doors that is often overlook and unconsidered. They offered free food on a monthly basis through their partnership with Be Concerned Food Pantry. They recognized that a large population of their students work, so they offered each student food according to our household size as a way to reduce food insecurity in our community.

About a month ago, I participated in one of those paint and sip virtual activities. We picked up our supplies from campus but those of us of legal age were permitted to participate from home. The artist led the class from home and still made it easy and enjoyable for us. He played music from his house and we laughed so much. It lasted about two hours, and whether we were laughing from the painting or the sipping is to be determined. It was a fantastic opportunity that they offered as a way to give us a mental break.

Mount St. Joseph offered Mass and nondenominational prayer in Mater Dei Chapel. I even took a yoga class in the sixth-floor chapel and earned credit for learning the life skills needed to handle stress. They taught us techniques to reduce anxiety and coping mechanisms to use if we become overwhelmed. The Mount was excellent at helping us to unwind, relax, and release some of the stored tension. I had several upper back and neck massages on campus. The Campus Activities Board arranged for massage therapists to come during final exam weeks. There was always food and games for me to have fun with my friends. Even if I was brave enough to attend solo, it was worth it because there would be people there that I knew and so many friendly faces. Plus, I walked away with gift cards sometimes. It’s always wonderful to have some money in your pocket.

Will you take advantage of all the Mount has to offer? Our campus will soon once again be vibrant and thriving. The Career Center, the Learning Center, the Wellness Center, and the Harrington Center are all available. When asked what final piece of advice I would give to anyone, I would highly recommend using academic advising and office hours so that you can find out about opportunities available to you. I’m proof that you can simultaneously work on your career and your karma.

I learned so many ideas and concepts during lectures. I will always have a vast collection of text books and essays to refer back to. Yet, the vast recollection of memories and experiences will always be phenomenal. I learned how to dine at high end restaurants for interviews and networking events. They offered us a four-course meal with an etiquette coach who taught us the proper way to eat soup. Who knew we were eating soup wrong our whole lives? Well, the Mount realized that there are many ways that they can prepare us for life after college so they provided entertaining ways to set us up for success.

Now it’s time to say farewell to the collegiate life that I loved so much. I’m leaving campus life to pursue the life afforded to me by earning my college degree. I enjoyed the food, travel, cruises, massages, laughter, challenges, games, encounters, and fun. The Mount taught me the most important lesson--how to live a full life. I loved the opportunities so much that I was delighted to continue my education and work towards another diploma at our beloved university. I will now be leaving with my MBA.  I am leaving but Mount St. Joseph will always be home. Thanks for everything, everyone. Farewell, MSJ. It’s been fun, and fulfilling.