SECOND-YEAR STUDENTS EXAMINE BIG QUESTIONS
An early morning begins with a not-so-simple question: “How do you want to be remembered?” Whatever the answer, the idea behind examining this question is about refocusing, contemplating and evaluating one’s life.
For the past five years, University Ministry, in collaboration with the Career Development Center, the Mulvaney Center and other University of San Diego campus and community partners, has hosted Half Time, a two day, reflective retreat for second-year students to evaluate the direction of their life.
While this retreat is not dissimilar to years past, a new group of wide-eyed students took the time this spring to take stock, look toward the future and examine ways in which they might take the next step toward discovering exactly who they want to become.
Gathering in the comfort of a campus residence hall, students engaged in discussions that encouraged the exploration of their ultimate hopes and dreams. Occurring halfway through these students’ undergraduate experiences, the program is designed to connect with students in a comprehensive way.
Program coordinator Aly Monteleone says that is precisely what a USD education is all about.
“One of University Ministry’s ultimate goals is to support students holistically, and Half Time provides an opportunity to do so quite well. The experiences taps students academically, socially, spiritually and communally,” says Monteleone.
“They see — perhaps for the first time — that their education comes with great responsibility, that authentic and healthy relationships are crucial to a life well-lived, that God desires the best for them, but likewise asks the best from them, and that there’s opportunity, joy, human need and resilience just outside the walls of this campus,” she says. “Given this, we hope students walk away with a renewed sense of purpose and a stronger understanding of who they’re called to become.”
Through career panels, vocation discussions, reflective exercises and community engagement experiences, students are provided with an introduction to their futures and given the tools to contemplate what’s next.
“Who am I called to be and become? What am I called to be, rather than what things do I want to have in my life?” asked Reverend Christopher Carter, PhD, an assistant professor of theology and religious studies. Silence filled the room as the students absorbed the seemingly simple yet complex statement.
The retreat’s emphasis is for students to find the thing that brings them joy. Rather than material goods, students are encouraged to explore their life’s purpose. As a blend of career advice and spiritual self-exploration, the program presents students with thought-provoking questions and encourages contemplation.
These are, again, big questions. But simply determining what career path a student should take after graduation isn’t the point. Rather, understanding who they want to be as contributing, passionate human beings is of primary importance. As a university focused on educating a student’s mind, body and spirit, retreats such as Half Time encourage spiritual contemplation and the exploration of a meaningful future. — Allyson Meyer ‘16