Here we are in the final stretch to finals and the official end of the semester. These past two weeks have definitely felt that way. I’ve been feeling physically and emotionally drained which means that I’ve had pretty much no motivation to do anything haha. Luckily most of the students have been feeling the same way. That being said a lot of great things have been happening around here.
I had the opportunity to speak to one of the Knights of Columbus Councils in Naples two weeks ago. I was there to talk a little bit about FOCUS and ask for donations. I was pretty nervous since I’ve never had to talk in front of a big group about FOCUS before. I got all dressed up and made my pitch and it actually went really well. They were very welcoming and were genuinely interested in the work I’m doing. In the end they’ve agreed to give me a one-time donation with maybe more in the future. Yay!
But enough about money let’s talk about fun stuff. The Annual Spring Formal was recently hosted at a place called the Pelican Preserve in Fort Meyers. Formal is kind of a big deal here since it’s a great way to get off campus, eat good food AND it’s the last chance to have a reason to ask a girl out. The other missionaries and I got the chance to chaperone so we were able to get in on the fun. And I do have to say that it was fun to see everyone all dressed up and having a good time.
Now I always like to look good but when it comes to formal wear I tend to get a little lazy. I mean I don’t even own a suit. However, I do have to say that with a little help I managed to look pretty good myself. The actual dance was really fun. The food was delicious, the music was good and it looked like everyone was enjoying themselves which I always like seeing. They even gave out souvenirs in the form of sunglasses and beer koozies.
A few days later the school hosted “A Night on Broadway,” a variety featuring talented students performing numbers from various Broadway shows. If you know me at all, you know I have a secret love of theater so I was very excited to see the show. As an added bonus, a few of the students that I get to work with were performing in the show!
Overall, it was a great show. They did songs from Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, My Fair Lady, RENT and many many more. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that there are so many musically talented students here at Ave Maria. It’s always a pleasure to see them perform and I’m already looking forward to next year’s events.
Last week the school was graced by a visit from it’s founder, Mr. Tom Monaghan who actually also happens to be the founder of Domino’s Pizza. He came to give a talk to students all about his story and how he became successful. He has a very fascinating story and it may interest you to know that he actually never finished college. He worked hard his entire life and trusting in God to guide his decisions and here he is now. The thing that struck me most was when he was talking about why he started Ave Maria University. He said that one of the major problems faced in the Church today is ignorance of the faith. He wanted to start a Catholic University that wasn’t run by Nuns or by a Diocese that was grounded in strong Catholic Morals. I have to say that he’s vision has become a reality because Ave Maria is alive and thriving today. He also gave away free signed copies of his Autobiography which I look forward to reading. Thanks Tom!
The last event I wanted to talk about brings me back again to the many crazy talented students here at Ave. The Shakespeare in Performance group this semester put on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Let me tell you, it was the best Shakespeare production I’ve ever seen. The theater department back at CSU put on the same play a few years back but the Ave Students totally blew that show out of the water. Each of the actors was truly dedicated to their character performance no matter how big or small the role. I loved everything about it: the acting, the layout, the music, the costumers, everything! Just when I think I’ve seen all the talent the students here have to offer, I get surprised again. I wish I could already reserve my ticket for next years Shakespeare performance because I’m sure it will be just as good!
As far as Mish Life goes, I’ve kind of been growing through sort of a funk lately. I attribute it mostly to the fact that the semester is drawing to a close and I’m ready for summer. But I can’t help be realize just how hard it is being a missionary here. I keep saying that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I keep being proved right. I hate to say it but I really don’t fee like a leader here. Everyday I’m surrounded with people who have had completely different experiences than I have. In fact, this whole place is basically everything that I’ve never encountered/faced in my life. Most of the time my position as a missionary goes largely unnoticed/unappreciated and FOCUS as a whole has little success with any events we put on. It just still baffles me why I was chosen to get sent here. But hey I told God not to send me to a Catholic school and here I am so I guess he wants me here for some reason haha.
So those are things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately and it’s been a little discouraging. I want to feel like I’m actually leading people here instead of just hanging out with them haha. But as tough as it’s been, this place has truly helped me grow so much. In that way I’m thankful for the challenge. Plus, all the crap really is worth it for the students that I do get to work with. They’ve been the best part of being a missionary here and I thank God everyday for the amazing people he’s placed in my life here. I’ve made a lot of great memories and hope to make more in the future! Prayers for me and my students are greatly appreciated going into the last few weeks of the semester! This week the team and I are heading to Tampa for our final off-site. Check out my next blog post to hear all about that!