During my last few days on Hawk Hill, I, like many other graduates of the class of 2015, reviewed the past four successful years through self-reflection. Walking from Barbelin courtyard to on top of the Science Center, I thought over my involvements on campus, as well as the enriching coursework I pursued and, unexpectedly, themes of my experience began to grow visible. A seemingly peaceful walk across campus soon led me to review the pathways that have ultimately shaped me into becoming the kind of person I always wanted to be: a woman with and for others. The impact of a Jesuit education is potent. The Jesuit ideals have significantly shaped my beliefs, behaviors, values and passion. Now, as I am a post-graduate, I intend to ground these aspects of my Saint Joseph’s education as I venture forward with my next steps of acting as a Program Specialist at the Nativity House in Tacoma, Washington throughout a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest/Americorps programs.
You may be wondering how I came to the decision to invest in a year of service. And to answer your question, I have to admit that it’s a long story which I will happily condense. I decided on JVC Northwest after a long discernment process and after respectfully declining three job offers. After having hours of conversations with mentors, family members and friends, I was ultimately provided with a discernment process that allowed me the freedom to ask “What if?” and to accept my relinquished curiosity and love for the position and program in Tacoma, Washington. Based on the pillars of simple living, ecological justice, community and spirituality, I have found comfort and discomfort in imagining what my next year may look like. And, I have to say that today, I carry a sense of pride for listening to my voice and to deciding on a step forward that believe to be a step towards my calling.
If I leave you with any final “Aha moments” of my time at Saint Joseph’s University, it is to be at peace with who you are, embrace your truest passions and interests, as these aspects of life will guide you towards a more fulfilling experience with your time at the University and in deciding your next steps after graduation. As I walked through campus my last time before graduation, I was frantic and I questioned,“Who even was Saint Joseph?” After four years of thinking I had a good grasp on Catholic Social Teachings, as well as an understanding of the term magis, it became quite clear that I was uncertain of Saint Joseph’s patronage, the namesake of the University.
Sitting on a bench in the Barbelin courtyard, I did what any other curious Millennial would do when they were struggling with a question, I Googled the answer. As I sat on a bench in front of the Barbelin bell tower, I found out that Saint Joseph is the patron saint against doubt and hesitation. So after reflecting on a successful, meaningful undergraduate career that has been rooted in my passions, I know that I have been shaped into a more than capable and intentional individual. I feel prepared to move forward. I am ready to let go of any doubts or hesitations and walk confidently towards my next steps.
Aly Bartolomei’15 is a recent graduate from Saint Joseph’s University. She majored in English with a minor in Marketing. While at Saint Joseph’s, Aly was a Resident Assistant, the Intern in the Office of Undergraduate Admission, a Koinonia Leader and a member of the National Honor Fraternity Phi Sigma Pi.