Born To Be Wild!

Hi everyone!

This past Saturday, I went on an AWESOME retreat through the University of Scranton Campus Ministries called Born To Be Wild! For the entire day on Saturday, we went hiking through PA’s Grand Canyon!

The retreat focused on the four elements: Water, wind, fire and earth. As we hiked to the top of the mountain and back down, we stopped along the way to listen to different talks concerning one of the four elements, and how those elements relate to faith, life and college. The talks really hit home with me, and opened my eyes to nature in new ways. It helped me view nature as a constant part of life – as something which affects us daily. I have never through about nature as something that was a part of who I am, but this retreat made showed me that it is. The entire experience was extremely reflective and inspiring.

I love that the University of Scranton holds such cool retreats! Not only was Born To Be Wild so much fun (I mean, who doesn’t love hiking, right?!), but it was also so faith-based and inspirational. Before attending the retreat, I was not expecting to be so impacted by a simple hike. But that’s Scranton for you. As a student at the University of Scranton, you do not realize how inspirational opportunities are here until you jump right into them. I feel so fortunate to be given so many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and jump into exciting and inspiring adventures at the University of Scranton.

Here are some pictures from the retreat!

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Even though it started raining towards the end of the hike, we still had a blast! (And hey, at least the rain went along with the retreat’s “water” theme!)

For all future and current students, I definitely recommend attending retreats through Campus Ministries! They truly are life-changing, and I feel so fortunate to have so many opportunities to go on them.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Africa Here I Come!! (All Thanks To The Wonderful UofS!)

Hi all!

IT’S OFFICIAL, I will be studying abroad in CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA next fall!! I could not be more excited. I cannot wait to share my experiences and adventures with all of you :)

While I am studying abroad in South Africa, I will be living in a house with other students from Jesuit universities around the U.S. Together, we will attend classes at the University of Western Cape, participate in service learning and TRAVEL all over the place!

At the University of Western Cape, I will be required to take two specific classes: Theology of Forgiveness: Reconciliation and Justice and Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis. I am SO PUMPED to take these courses, as they both allow me to gain a unique perspective on South African values of forgiveness and empowerment, especially considering all of the history these people have endured. I will also be taking three African literature classes (and since I’m the biggest book nerd ever, I am SUPER excited to see what these classes have to offer!

Furthermore, I will be participating in service learning. I love that I will be able to continue performing service learning in Cape Town. Service learning is such a prevalent aspect of student life here at the University of Scranton, which I love so much. Continuing my love for service in South Africa is a dream-come-true. I have not been placed at a service site yet; however, the options look AMAZING! As a Secondary Education and English double-major, I could serve in a ton of different places. I could work anywhere from the Hector Peterson Secondary School, tutoring and working in restorative justice peace-circles, to Dance For All, teaching children how do dance as a means of empowerment and expression.

Last but certainly not least, I cannot wait to travel! I was recently added to the Cape Town study abroad Facebook group, and my housemates and I have already begun brainstorming ideas for adventures! Everything from hiking up Table Mountain, to bungee-jumping, to Safaris, to beach trips, to vising the prison where Nelson Mandela was held – I cannot wait to step out of my comfort zone and do all of these AMAZING things!

My “RA” for the trip has been posting  gorgeous pictures of Cape Town on our Facebook group every day to jump-start our excitement! Here is today’s picture!

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I feel so fortunate that The University of Scranton has provided me with this amazing opportunity to study abroad next fall. As a Secondary Education and English double-major, it is generally pretty difficult to go abroad. But the lovely people over at the UofS Study Abroad Office and the PCPS Advising Center worked a miracle for me. I feel so incredibly grateful to attend a school which works so hard to make students’ dreams a reality.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Accepted Students Reception!

Hi all!

There is a lot of excitement on campus this week as students gear up for midterms and look forward to next week’s Spring Break! In the midst of all of the craziness between studying for three midterms, writing a 10-page paper (yikes!) and fulfilling all of my obligations to clubs, teacher candidacy, education observations, etc., I miraculously found time to participate in an amazing Admissions event for accepted students.

On Monday night, I was given the exciting opportunity to head over to my home-state to serve on the panel for the Northern New Jersey Yield Reception! At the panel, accepted students from Northern New Jersey could come get a taste of what Scranton is really like. Essentially, we brought Scranton to New Jersey!

At 3PM on Monday afternoon, I went on a road trip with two other current students and Kelly Connor (who actually is the Admissions Counselor that runs this awesome blog!!) Driving to and from New Jersey with them was a ton of fun! (We blasted 80’s music the whole way home and I was jamming out!)

As families came into the reception, we greeted and mingled with them, answering any questions and talking up Scranton to the max! Before the reception began, we played a slide-show which showed off just how beautiful our campus is! (I swear, I could look at pictures of Scranton’s gorgeous campus all day!)

The night began with an awesome presentation given by Joe Roback, the Associate Vice President for Admissions and Enrollment. He definitely got the crowd excited as he spoke all about Scranton’s Freshman Move-In Day, Freshman Orientation, and a ton of other great programs that the UofS puts on.

After the presentation, Joe provided the audience with the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about the UofS to the panel. The panel consisted of myself and two other current UofS students, two alumni and two parents of current students.

It was so much fun to answer questions and share with the accepted students and their families why I love the University of Scranton so darn much! I honestly could talk about the U for hours on end without getting sick of it. I truly have so much love for the University of Scranton, and I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to share my experiences with so many perspective students!!

I am constantly inspired by how enthusiastic perspective students are about attending the University of Scranton. Their passion for the U helps fuel mine, as they constantly remind me of all the reasons I love this amazing school. Participating in events like the Northern New Jersey Yield Reception panel continue to solidify that Scranton is the best school ever! (maybe I’m a little biased…but really, what’s not to love?! :) )

Well, that’s all for this week! I hope everyone has a lovely Spring Break! Good luck to all of the accepted students I met on Monday night, and to everyone else who was accepted to the University of Scranton! Choosing a college is scary and difficult…the best thing you can do is follow your heart – And I can honestly say that my heart belongs to the University of Scranton.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Divinely Designed – The Impact of a Retreat at the UofS

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a nice weekend! I certainly did! This past weekend, I led Divinely Designed – a women’s retreat run by the University of Scranton’s Campus Ministries program. Honestly, leading this retreat was the best experience I’ve ever had.

Nine other girls, myself, and Amy (our Campus Minister) had been planning this retreat since the beginning of last fall semester. When I was asked to be on team for the retreat, after attending Divinely Designed as a candidate last February, I had no idea what to expect. I was filled with a range of emotions: nervousness, excitement, uncertainty. But I knew that being part of the team was an experience I could not pass up.

To plan for the retreat, starting at the beginning of this past fall semester, we met once a week for two-three hours. Each meeting revolved around a different retreat topic pertaining to women such as voice, body-image, relationships, etc. The team would discuss our own experiences with these topics at every meeting.

At the end of last semester, five of the ten team members were asked to write a talk pertaining to one of the various topics we discussed at the meetings. I was asked to write a talk, and again, I was filled with nervousness, excitement, uncertainty, and quite honestly – more nervousness. My talk was on a super personal topic, and I was scared to confront it and speak about it out loud in front of the entire retreat. But my team was so incredibly supportive, and after thinking about it, I agreed to write the talk.

So after months and months of planning, the retreat finally arrived! About 40 candidates arrived at Chapman Lake at 4:30PM last Friday, ready to kick-start the weekend. And it was amazing. The entire weekend was amazing. So many people opened up and shared their stories, and by the end of the weekend we all felt so connected to each other. After I gave my talk, everyone rushed to hug me. Never have I ever felt so much love, support and acceptance in my entire life. Seeing so many Scranton students come together on this retreat was absolutely beautiful, and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have led and been part of the experience.

I think something that really exemplifies how much the retreat impacted our Scranton community were the affirmation letters we all wrote each other on the retreat. At the beginning of the retreat, we all made affirmation mail boxes, where anyone on the retreat could write you a little love note, affirming you as a woman. Reading all of my affirmations after the retreat was such a humbling yet empowering experience. So many people shared that they had been through similar things as me, and reading their stories made me feel so much more connected to them. Now, seeing the girls from the retreat on campus, we greet each other with lots of hugs and love. Where I once regarded these girls as strangers, I now feel so close to them emotionally, and I feel so lucky to have expanded my Scranton family.

Retreats are honestly my favorite way to meet other Scranton students. Scranton students are so inspirational. It is really such a beautiful thing to get to know people so deeply and intentionally on retreats. I love that at the University of Scranton, when we return from the retreats, we still make the effort to keep close to those we went on the retreat with. There are no “Breakfast Club” worries – I am never left asking “Will we still be friends after this weekend?” No. The Scranton community takes care of each other, and I truly love and admire that about our campus. It is so comforting.

Here are some pictures from this amazing weekend:

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The retreat team

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Everyone who attended the retreat

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)