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molly

Blog posts by molly

A Little Dirt Never Hurt

Over this past spring weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to complete my first trail marathon at Luton Park in Rockford, Michigan The name of this marathon was called “Hurt the Dirt.” This course was so challenging and filled with twists, sharp turns, winding curves, tree roots, mud, sandy hills, huge rocks, and so much more! This did not matter because I knew that I had put in enough training by all of the trail running I had done throughout Grand Rapids, like the scenic trails on the shores of Reed’s Lake located just 5 minutes away from AQ’s campus. Not only was I challenged with this rugged course at Luton Park, but I was also challenged mentally and had a great amount of time to think about why I am running, who I am running for, and how blessed I am to be able to run in general.

After finishing the 26.2 mile trail run, I was able to rush off back to Aquinas to lead an on campus event called the “Be Nice. Festival.” The “be nice.” campaign is putting an awareness out to the world about suicide prevention and how suicide is real thing that can affect many people, even the people you might not ever suspect. The “be nice.” campaign is run by the Mental Health Foundation of Grand Rapids, and on Saturday, April 26th, was able to partner with Aquinas to put on a festival supporting the awareness of suicide prevention. This was filled with resume building, a fashion show on how to look professional in goodwill attire along with loving the “skin you’re in,” hair stylings, nails, free food, various bands, drawings to win “be nice.” items, and interactive games! Overall, the “be nice” festival was a huge success! Whether, I am training for a trail run by Reed’s Lake or leading an “be nice.” festival on campus, there is always some way to be involved at AQ.

I truly love what AQ has had to offer me in these past four years, and I hope to carry on those passions to wherever I end up in this world.

After finishing the marathom

After finishing the marathon

At the 'be nice.' festival outside of The Moose Cafe

At the ‘be nice.’ festival outside of The Moose Cafe

Finding My Arete

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the Arete biking retreat through Aquinas. From the moment that I first went on this retreat as a shy and quiet freshmen, I knew that this was the retreat for me! This retreat encompasses your mind, body, and soul which is really what makes it such a unique retreat. Having attended this retreat for the past 4 years, you would think that I would become bored of the same retreat, but there are new adventures with every single journey. Not only have I been able to meet so many people, many of whom I would consider close friends now, but I have also been able to grow in my faith while deepening my relationship with God and those around me. While this retreat can be physically demanding, it just goes to show that biking about 40 miles in the course of a weekend is nothing when you are constantly being pushed to new limits by meeting new people, diving into your faith, and putting your trust in the Lord and remembering that He created you strong enough to do anything you that you put your mind to.

Arete is the focus of “being the best you can be.” Why wouldn’t we want to we the best versions of ourselves? After all, look at how God sacrificed His one and only son so that we could be on Earth to live life and be our Arete! We all should focus on being the best versions of ourselves.

That being said, this motto of constantly “bettering” one’s self was constantly running through my head as our group progressed through the retreat. While there were many great memories that I will forever be fond of, such as staying up until 2am singing songs, playing games, and finding those glorious views of the Grand River while biking on the trail, I know that my true tests came in when really digging deeper into my own faith in discussions and powering through the hills and many fallen trees along the biking paths.

If you like biking, meeting new people, nature, playing games, singing songs, deepening your faith and relationships, then you will love this retreat because it will help you find the path to finding your true Arete. In correlation to the theme of “being the best you can be”, I will end with one of my favorite quotes from the Dominican Sister, St. Catherine of Siena, as she proclaims, “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze”.

aretemolly

Fond Memories of AQ

Spending the past four years of my life at Aquinas College has really been an amazing experience. I know that I will look back on my time at Aquinas with fond memories because of everything that AQ has offered me. Recently, I have been really thinking about my time here at Aquinas because I am graduating this May with Elementary Education certification and focuses in Reading and Math. I have taken advantage of all of the opportunities that Aquinas had to offer. From traveling to Guatemala on a service learning trip, participating in the “March for Life” in Washington D.C., or leading the South Manitou Island backpacking retreat, I have really been able to grow as a person. I have learned more about myself and have become much more confident in my beliefs and am ready to take action!

In the midst of all of the traveling I have done through Aquinas, I have come to a few realizations about life. You can travel on retreats or go on service learning trips, but the place doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of life. It’s the connections you make with the people in those places that really creates some great life experiences. It’s important to have positive attitudes, practice what you preach, and take time for those important “people connections.” I have really thrived at Aquinas because it is a community where it is so easy to become involved in what you love to do. This is really due to the fact that I have really connected with so many people on campus and throughout the Grand Rapids community. Remember, the people really make the place and make sure to count your blessings.

Ice Skating/Shuffling Downtown

A few weeks ago, I found myself thinking about how this is really my last semester at Aquinas. As much as I am ready and prepared to graduate this spring, I know I will miss this place dearly. Yet, I was thinking about how I still have so much to experience in Grand Rapids. So, with this in my mindset, I felt a trip to the Rosa Park’s Circle ice skating rink was in need.

Not being the most experienced ice skater, I was a bit hesitant to just leap out onto the rink. Luckily, I was able to venture to the rink with many of my friends who were so experienced that they brought their own skates. Gripping the side wall of the rink for dear life, I slowly but surely started making my way around. I did, however, feel a little embarrassed when I saw a group of 3rd graders zoom past me on the rink. Eventually, I did let go of the wall and shuffled along the ice but not without almost taking out a couple on a date, an elderly woman, and some kids. Fortunately, I did know how to stop so there were no injuries during this time of me attempting to skate (or shuffle across the rink.) From this night of friends and skating, I can only think about how blessed I am to be able to step out of my comfort zone, try new things, and enjoy some fun times with friends!

March For Life

This week I will be venturing down to Washington D.C. for a very important reason: The March for Life. I never thought that I would have the chance to be a part of such a great cause. I owe this opportunity to Aquinas College’s Saints for Life Club. I am now less than 24 hours away from traveling to the March for Life.

The March for Life is held in Washington D.C. and provides national attention to the pro-life movement. I am so excited to experience the march in D.C. The Aquinas group will be traveling by bus with another pro-life group from the University of Michigan. Our Saints for Life group  has been doing many fundraisers on AQ’s campus to support the trip, including endless amounts of bake sales and selling t-shirts with the face of the one and only AQ President Juan Olivarez on it. I have heard many great things about this trip from other students who have participated in the march. The only reason I have had so many great opportunities such as the march is because Aquinas is such an easy place to become involved in what you love to do!

 

Chicago Wedding Adventure Part One

Christmas is really one of the most wonderful times of the year. There’s something about being surrounded by family, friends, and great food that really excites me for this time of year! Not only am I able to spend Christmas with my family this year, but we’re also spending some quality time together by venturing down to Chicago for a family wedding. Imagine that snapshot: my 10 younger siblings, my parents, and my grandma all walking to a wedding downtown Chicago in the midst of one of the busiest times of the year.

To say that my entire family (all thirteen of us!) is excited for this wedding is a bit of an understatement. We have all been talking about this event for longer than I can remember, and now it’s finally here. Currently, I am at home watching everyone frantically pack their bags, grab a quick breakfast, and find the best seat in our 13 passenger van. Regardless of how this trip ends up, I know I will treasure the moments that I have with my entire family because having everyone together in one spot happens on rare occasions. Stay tuned for my next blog posting to see how the Wedding adventures in Chicago played out!

Almost Done at AQ

As a senior at Aquinas College, I am in my last few Education classes. It’s exciting yet nerve-racking at the same time. I know Aquinas is preparing me so well for teaching a class of my own in the near future, but I also love the tight-knit community that I now refer to as my “second home”.

I just can’t believe how time has literally flown by. I can remember as a freshmen feeling like this campus was so huge and not knowing what all of the building abbreviations meant. For example, Aquinas has: AH, AB, CCH, JLH and so many more! Not to mention not really knowing anyone when first arriving to campus as a freshmen. How was I supposed to survive?

But somehow I figured out where all the buildings were on campus ( I found a map), and survived my first day of classes without getting that lost. And I guess you could say that I’ve met some pretty neat people along the way. When I look back at all that I have experienced here at AQ, I know that it has made me the person that I am today!

Life Long Saint

My parents met while both attending Aquinas, so I grew up visiting this “summer-camp” looking campus. Aquinas has helped me grow into the individual that I am today. Aquinas has removed any shy or timid characteristics that I had before coming here. It has also provided me with a confidence that I never knew I had.

For example, I am the President of the Education club, a former Orientation Leader, a Student Ambassador, a Young Life Leader, a Bible Study Leader, and tutor. If you would have asked me a few years ago to participate in any of those activities, I probably would have laughed because I didn’t think I had the confidence or leadership capabilities to fulfill those jobs. But Aquinas proved me wrong!

Being a student at Aquinas College has helped me network with my major of Elementary Education, and meet so many great and down-to-earth people. I absolutely love the fact that anywhere you walk on campus you will see at least five people you know! At Aquinas, not only can you have a solid support system with friends, but the faculty and staff truly care about your success. I love having that extra support when it comes to academics. It is such a great feeling to have so many connections with a variety of people. Aquinas truly feels like my second home, and I can’t thank everyone enough who has made my experience such a successful one!

I feel so comfortable at Aquinas that I am almost hesitant to graduate this May, but I know deep down in my heart that Aquinas has definitely prepared me to be a successful Saint out in the real world. Go Saints!!!!

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