The Collegiate Catholic Box

I am not being paid to write this post, nor am I receiving any portion of the sales of this box. Thank you to Liz and Allison from the Collegiate Catholic for partnering with me on this post! None of the links I share are affiliate links. 

Hello, everyone! It’s been a little while since I last posted, but classes have kept me very busy this semester! I’ll write an update on my sophomore year soon, but for now, I’m back with a new post! Subscription boxes are so much fun to receive in the mail, and there is a new one that just hit the market specifically for Catholic college students. When I heard about this box, I knew I had to see what it was about. Read on to see what I got in the first box of the Collegiate Catholic Subscription box and what my thoughts are on it! Thank you to the lovely ladies at the Collegiate Catholic, Liz and Allison, for reaching out to me on Instagram. I am so excited to be partnering with them for this post!

Before I launch into what I got in my box, I’m going to share a little bit about the mission of the Collegiate Catholic Box. The mission of the box is “to share the faith and to be a means of encouragement while supporting Catholic religious orders and artisans. The college years are a pivotal point in one’s life. It is our goal to cultivate their faith through prayerfully curated care packages and other Catholic goods.” The box is not monthly like most subscription boxes are. During the fall 2017 semester, the box will be shipped out twice before the team starts shipping out three times a semester after Christmas break. Each box will contain a devotional, a bunch of snacks and treats, Catholic items, a practical item for school, and Catholic art.

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I got my box in the mail at school a few weeks ago and I was so excited to pick it up from the post office on campus. I nearly ripped open the package when I got to my room (I’m glad I didn’t- Otherwise, there would have been blue paper stuffing all over my dorm room!) to see what I got inside.

At the top of the box sat a devotional book titled “Veritas” which means truth in Latin. Each page has a few questions to answer and think about with a Bible verse. I’m really looking forward to sitting down and diving into this devotional now that my schedule has calmed down!

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The next item was a print of St. Joan of Arc. This print is really cool because the shape of it is made up of quotes from St. Joan of Arc. The artist, Kathleen Caswell, can be found on Instagram! Check out her page: @kcaswellco

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Next, I got a beautiful handmade cross made by Rough2Rustic and an image of Our Lady of Consolation in Lezajsk.  Lezajsk is a town in Poland where the Blessed Mother appeared in 1578. My mother’s side of the family is Polish, so receiving this image and prayer was really exciting especially since I had not heard of this image of Mary before I received this box.

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My practical items were pens and a highlighter, which are always handy to have when taking notes. I forgot to take a photo of them, but I think we all know what pens and highlighters look like!

This box contained a lot of snacks! Snacks are always a great thing to have, but I think there may have been a few too many snacks. I got a bag of Skinny Pop popcorn; a bag of Synders mini pretzels; a package of Milano cookies; a pack of Orbit gum; a packet of honey peanut butter (which I am so excited to try); a spiced apple cider drink mix; a caramel apple pop; and a bag of granola made by the Little Portion Bakery. I’m really excited to try the honey peanut butter (if you know me, you know I LOVE peanut butter!) and the granola. Granola is one of my favorite things to eat at breakfast so now I have one or two day’s worth of breakfast, courtesy of the Collegiate Catholic box!

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Overall, this is a really nice first box for the Collegiate Catholic box. I’m happy with everything I received in it, and all of them serve a purpose for college students, whether it be spiritually nurturing their mind and soul or (literally) nurturing their stomachs. The box is originally $50 so this is something I’m putting on my wishlist for my birthday or Christmas (hint hint, Mom and Dad 🙂 ). I really love the concept of this subscription box and I cannot wait to see what the ladies at the Collegiate Catholic do next!

Thanks again to Liz and Allison for partnering with me for this post! Until next time, thanks for stopping by!

Workin’ Day and Night (It Certainly Seemed Like It…) – Life Update

Hello again, friends! It’s been about a month since my last post, so I thought I’d give you all some updates about what I’ve been up to this summer! I was hoping to get some more posts out this summer, but I have not had a chance to write up what I’d like to share over the last several weeks. I’ll try to share a post or two before I return back to campus in late August.

The biggest thing I have done this summer is work! I am working at the pool I have worked at for the past 4 years again, and I scored an internship! The internship has nothing to do with what I want to do with my life (becoming a Special Education teacher) but it has given me so much experience in working for a non-profit asociation; reaching out to members; writing; and creating various PowerPoints for a number of meetings and events. I’ve learned a bunch of medical terminology and training procedures, as well as more about the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Besides working all the time, I have been working on scholarship applications. My Dad has been unemployed for over a year now, and applying for scholarships is my way of helping ease the financial burden on my parents. The topics have been all over the place! I wrote an essay on how computer viruses impact the economy; what type of ice cream flavor I picture myself to be; and I even made a video on how I save money as a college student. The essays have been fun to write, and I’m hoping that I win a scholarship or two after all that writing.

Afternoons at the pool can be slow some days, so I have been slowly choreographing a dance to perform at Small Show this fall for PAC. My style of choreographing is pretty strange, but everyone has their own creative process. I always sit and listen to the music, and then I choreograph the movements while sitting down. One would think that sitting down and choreographing would be silly, but I find it works. I’m about three quarters of the way finished with the dance now, and I hope to finish it before the end of the summer. I don’t want to give anything away about it, but if it is selected as one of the dances for Small Show, I’ll be sure to share a video!

I will admit, I’ve done some shopping over my summer break. I like to shop! Is that such a terrible thing? I got myself a few goodies from Tarte, a new backpack and planner from Vera Bradley (which I got for 50% off each!! WHOO HOO!!) and a new backup portable hard drive from Amazon Prime Day. There is plenty more shopping to do as soon as textbook lists are available and as move-in day get closer.

At the end of June and the middle of July, I got to speak at a College Night for rising college freshmen that was hosted by the Associates of St. John Bosco. The College Night was geared towards students who want to remain active in their Catholic faith during their college years. I attended a night last summer and I was invited to speak at two of the nights this summer! I hope to have a blog post posted soon about the topic I spoke on: how to be confident in your faith at college. Stay tuned for that!

Finally, I’m getting my wisdom teeth taken out on August 1. I’m not looking forward to the whole procedure, but I am excited about all the ice cream, applesauce, and mac n cheese I get to eat afterwards! Please pray that the procedure goes well!

Well folks, that’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. I hope everyone is having a great summer! What have you been up to during June and July? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by to read! God bless! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Being Catholic in College: 8 Months Later

Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a month since I last posted, but I’m now home from UMW for the summer so I’ll have some more posts hopefully going up soon. In the meantime, enjoy today’s post! 

About 8 months ago, I published the short essay that started Adventures of a Catholic College Girl, titled “Being Catholic in College: A Freshman’s Transition from Catholic School to a Public University”. Since publishing that post, I finished my first year at the University of Mary Washington! I have learned a lot about myself and living out my Catholic faith on campus since September.

First of all, I’d like to mention some of the changes since the first essay: my wardrobe has expanded quite a bit! Before, I was worried about having enough pairs of shorts to wear to class by Friday morning. Now, I have plenty of pants, jeans, and shorts to last me through the week and then some! I have shifted away from a lot of the high school spirit wear (I say that as I sit here writing while wearing one of my House of Dominic t-shirts) and I can now be found wearing some form of UMW spirit wear at least two or three times a week. However, there are some days where I wonder if I put my high school uniform on, go back to John Paul, and sit in on a school day, would anybody notice? Catholic school will always be part of who I am, but UMW has quickly become part of what makes me who I am today.

Talking about my faith to my friends at school has come very naturally to me, especially to my friends who are Christians or who do not practice any religion. I am very comfortable sharing events the Catholic Campus Ministry is hosting with my friends and dance team teammates who are not part of the community, whether it be Supper Social on Thursday nights, a Friday Fun Night activity, or another special event like our Mass Under the Lights or the power breakfast during finals week. Even if those I invite cannot come, I always make it known that they are welcome at any time to stop by the CCM!

Since I started at UMW, I have faced a few situations where I was uncomfortable with a discussion topic or a presentation in class. My faith has helped me through those tough situations, especially when they were during my Intro to Education class. As a teacher, I’m going to face very tough situations in many ways. I will need to think quickly and assess situations to make smart decisions. The Serenity Prayer is a short prayer I try to say each day to help me “accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Short prayers like that one give me peace of mind during the day- any challenges I face can be changed, but sometimes I can’t change the hard situation, so it’s up to God to turn something bad into something good.

I have met so many great people through UMW’s Catholic Campus Ministry. The friends I have made are so inspiring, bubbly, and enthusiastic about their Catholic faith. Their example of holiness has inspired me to increase my prayer life and get more involved in the community. I joined the communications committee and serve as a photographer and am in charge of sending out weekly email updates, as well as a lector at daily mass. My involvement has given me the chance to grow in my faith life throughout my freshman year, and it can only go up from here.

My freshman year has come and gone, and it’s hard to believe I have three years of undergrad left! There is so much left for me to experience in college, and with my faith behind and before me, I’ll be ready to take on the world and what it throws at me.

Silence is Golden

A few weeks ago, the Catholic Campus Ministry held an all-night adoration service in preparation for Holy Week. I was only able to stay for the first hour since my friend Emily and I were walking a 3K for a fundraiser at our high school the next morning, but it was still a great way to prepare my heart and mind for the events of Holy Week.

Father Vaccaro, the CCM’s chaplain, spoke briefly during praise and worship about silence. We can build an intimate relationship with God if we make time to go to adoration and be with Him. However, time is not easy to give up, especially as an adult. Sometimes I feel like I need to add time with God to my schedule, which isn’t a good thing. God isn’t someone I should have to write into my schedule like it’s a rehearsal, meeting, or special event!

Silence is something very hard for me to reach. My mind is constantly buzzing with new choreography ideas, organizing my schedule, and trying to complete assignments. I’m always surrounded by noise of some kind, whether it be music from Spotify streaming from my speaker, the noises outside my window from the Vocelli’s Pizza delivery guys riding around campus on their bikes with cart attachments, conversations floating down the hall from my hallmates, etc. When I went to adoration tonight at St. Mary’s down the street from campus, I was surrounded by silence.

When I went to adoration tonight at St. Mary’s down the street from campus, I was surrounded by silence. It was amazing. The silence allowed me to stop, take a breath, and focus on prayer for a little while. Father Vaccaro said that silence allows us to calm our racing hearts and minds and focus on God.

With the end of the school year quickly approaching and finals beginning next week (AHH), I am bound to be stressed. I think I have had a good semester academically (with a few hiccups at a couple spots). Next week is going to be packed with writing papers, submitting assignments, and studying for exams but if I take a few moments to sit in silence, I think I’m going to be fine.

“… And to Dust You Shall Return”: An Ash Wednesday Reflection

This post is a few weeks late, but I am posting it anyway! Have a blessed Lent, everyone! 

Every year for as long as I can remember, I have always gone to mass on Ash Wednesday and heard the words,”Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” as a priest draws a cross of ashes onto my forehead.

In the past, I’ve never had any problems with wearing my ashes during the school day, but that was because I attended Catholic school since Pre-K, so everyone got them during the all-school mass on Ash Wednesday. However, this year was different. I’m no longer at a Catholic school where everyone gets ashes on their forehead on the first day of the Lenten season.  In the past, my classmates and I would walk to class and try to figure out what shape our ashes took on. (They almost never looked like a cross. They always looked like a blob.) My friends and I would joke around and say “On Wednesdays we wear ashes!” Everyone at school would have ashes on their foreheads, so there was no judgment or questions about what that smudge was on our heads. However this year, Ash Wednesday was a different experience for me.

This year, I’m at a public university where some of my peers may have never seen someone walking around with a dark smudge on their forehead. I ended up going to the local Catholic church for mass on Ash Wednesday due to time conflicts, and I’m convinced that the priests at the church practiced their ash cross-making technique the day before because everyone’s ashes looked like a cross. As I walked back to campus with a big cross made of ashes on my forehead, I definitely got some weird looks. No one questioned me about it, but as I walked down Campus Walk to meet my roommate for next year, Rosie, for lunch and then into class at 2:00, I definitely noticed their confused facial expressions.

Did I really care about the weird looks I got? Nope. The cross on my forehead showed the UMW community that I am a Christian and I’m not afraid of being judged for it.

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#WhyIMarch For Life

Today is the 43rd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. As someone who has attended Catholic school for all of her school days, I’ve had the opportunity to go to the March a few times in previous years. I was not able to go last year due to an incoming snowstorm and this year, I did not attend either. With it being the second week of class for the spring semester, I decided that it would be better for me to stay here on campus and not miss class today. I would rather not miss class now so if I get sick during the semester, I can miss class and have it count as an absence.

Just because I’m not attending the March in D.C. doesn’t mean that I won’t show my support for the movement. Here’s why I march for life today and every day:

  1. I march because life is beautiful.
  2. I march because every life is a gift and is worth saving. This doesn’t only apply to the unborn. This applies to the poor, the elderly, and the disabled.
  3. I march for my friends in my high school’s special education program. Their parents chose life, and because of their choice, I want to work with students like their children.
  4. I march because my parents chose life and had me and my brothers.
  5. I march because there are other options besides abortion. Adoption allows the child to live a full life and it allows a couple who may not be able to have children to raise a child as their own.
  6. I march because abortion is not just a religious issue. It’s a human right issue. We have a right to life. That right needs to be respected and upheld for everyone, even the unborn.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which is something I totally and completely respect. However, this is my opinion and I stand by it. If you disagree with me, that’s cool but don’t attack me because of what I believe in. I’m open to discussion about this topic; I’m not open to verbal attacks on me or my beliefs. With that, thanks for stopping by and reading!

Featured image taken by me in 2014

Last Post of 2016: Christmas Break & the New Year’s Eve Ball in NYC!

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas holiday! I know I certainly did!

I’ve been on Christmas break for about two weeks now, and I feel like I’ve done so much already! I finished up my Christmas shopping and wrapped gifts; went to my home parish’s Latin mass, where I was surprised to see my high school chaplain as the celebrant; attended Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery with my dad and brothers; baked hot chocolate cookies to give to my friends as Christmas goodies; and was reunited with my best friend for the first time after six months of not seeing each other (I’m really surprised I didn’t cry)! Phew, just typing all that has me winded! And all that was just in the first week!

(Click on the thumbnails below to view the larger photos)

The day after Christmas, my family took off for New York to visit my mom’s family. We sat in the car for nearly 8 hours because of traffic in Maryland, Delaware, and NYC. Finally, we reached Long Island by 6 PM. On Tuesday afternoon, my family, aunt, uncle, and cousins went into the city for an event my aunt was invited to for her job. We took the subway to Times Square and rode an elevator up to the 21st floor of One Times Square (above the Walgreens). The view was pretty amazing!

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The event was Waterford Crystal’s New Years 2017 Ball party. I got to get my picture taken with the New Years Ball on the roof of the building! It was such a cool thing to experience especially since it was something that most people won’t ever get the opportunity to see in person. The ball looks so much bigger on TV that it was in person, but it was still pretty exciting! The gift bag included a Waterford Crystal Christmas ornament.

My family stayed in New York until Thursday. I went to work in DC on Friday morning with my Dad, who had a job interview that afternoon. He taught me how to navigate the Metro system so I can get to the office myself without getting lost.

Well, there’s a life update from me! It’s hard to believe 2016 is coming to an end in a few hours. Thank you to all my readers for sticking around with me and reading my adventures. See you in 2017! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me next!