Thursday, October 28, 2010

St. Jude Thaddeus is the Reason I Reverted

Happy St. Jude Thaddeus feast day! I will keep this post very brief since I have a lot to do but I just wanted to, like every year, say how much I appreciate all the intercessions St. Jude Thaddeus has done for me.

First off, I would not be here, writing this blog entry, if it wasn't for his intercession. A couple of years ago, when I was so sick that things like "she won't make it" and "she has little time" were thrown around, I began to pray. It's something I hadn't done in years since I'd drifted away from the Church during my teens. Since my mom was/is a huge St. Jude devotee I decided to ask his intercession. That was the beginning of my reversion. From that moment on I made the promise to learn more about my faith and to keep other promises I made... including one which I said that as soon as I graduate college I firmly intend to go to Vatican City to give thanks to him and especially God for giving me a second chance at everything. :D He has since interceded for me, as well as for many of my friends, countless time and I wholeheartedly recommend his novena whenever you're in a bind. I have never, ever, been let down and I don't doubt that if you ask his intercession, and if it's God's will, your prayers will be answered.

As much as I would love to write more, I have so much to do. No rest for the wicked, eh? lol. Anyway, I hope everyone is having/had a great day. :D

'Til next time, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Monday, October 25, 2010

CINO (Catholic in Name Only) and Double Majors

Have you noticed anything new on the blog layout? No? In your left side bar, under the Personality Profile, is a counter that shows just how long I have until graduation. Currently it's 1 year, 6 months, 1 week, and 6 days. *sigh* Seems like such a long time but then I think about how fast these past 2 (nearly 3) months have gone and that makes me feel better. Being at a CINO (Catholic in Name Only) college is hard and getting harder.

I'm beginning to see certain assignments marked down. The tension between professors and certain students (myself included) is beginning to increase. My anxiety's also beginning to get a lot worse. My anxiety had been under control and had gone months without an actual attack and now I have them every other day. Yesterday I was told by several people that I should just leave the school; to finish out the semester and transfer elsewhere. My poor mother, who's seen me at my worse, has been noticing the same pattern which I display before the anxiety gets really, really bad. Yesterday I nearly fainted while standing and had the worse panic attack I've had in a really long time. I don't know if my being at that school is bringing this on but it certainly looks that way.

On Friday I was talking to another faithful Catholic and she was talking about leaving the school as soon as the semester was over... and she's not the only one. Many of us who do not agree with the "teachings" that happen at that school are considering transferring elsewhere, even if it means losing this semester. I had the good fortune of meeting a former student and she said she left after a year because she went through the same that I went through with the professors... and she had the same professors, years ago, that I have now. You can just imagine how bad things are. I don't 100% regret going there only because it's taught me a valuable lesson, but I wish I would've really looked at the school before even applying. I knew things were bad but I didn't know the extent of it until I actually got there. I think I can withstand the abuse (and I feel like it is a form of abuse) for another semester or even until I graduate but I am not 100% sure. As I said, my anxiety is getting worse (so much worse) so I am really thinking about what to do.

My advice to those who have children, siblings, or friends thinking about going to a Catholic college/university is: do your research!! Avoid the CINOs (Catholic in Name Only) colleges. I can tell you that in Southern California the only two that are geniunely Catholic are Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula and (according to The Newman Guide) John Paul the Great University in San Diego. If Thomas Aquinas College accepted transfer students I would've gone there years ago. I still think about it -- about going there -- but having to start over as a freshman and have a lot of loans prevents me from attempting to go there. A recent list of Catholic colleges and universities came out in the publication First Things (you need a subscription to view the article) which listed the Most and Least Catholic. I'm surprised my current college didn't rank in the bottom 12. The list seemed to echo what The Newman Guide recommends as far as which schools are recommended, plus a couple others the Guide doesn't have. I'm actually using both to help zero in on which Graduate schools to apply to. Even though I'm only a junior, I'm already seriously thinking about where I want to go for Grad school.

There is one more thing I have to consider; one thing that will be decided in less than 24 hours from now (2:34 p.m. PST). I recently took my Foreign Language placement exams and, well, I very did well. I did so well that the head of the department asked me to consider pulling a double major in Religious Studies AND Spanish with an emphasis on Translation/Interpretation. This only happened today, and it was sort of a fluke that I even sat down with her in her office to briefly talk about it. I was really discouraged about school yesterday but the chat I had with the head of the Modern Languages department kind of sparked a little something in me. A friend suggested I drop Religious Studies and focus solely on Spanish but I don't think I can. At most schools (and I think at mine as well) you can't change your major once you transfer into one. I want to major in Religious Studies but if I could do it elsewhere, I'd be uber happy. If I'm going to stay at this soul sucking school I'm seriously considering adding Spanish so I have something else to focus on. So, that's where I'm at now. I have a big decision to make and I don't know what to do. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

By the way, if anyone knows of a college/university that allows transfers with a cap of about 70-80 units, let me know. I will have 82 at the end of this semester but I'd consider losing a semester's worth of units to go elsewhere. I'm kind of desperate at the moment. lol.

Alright, I have to go write a 7-page essay on the New Testament... which I don't expect to receive full credit on because (like the other assignments) I fail to write what she wants us to write... because I don't agree with what she's teaching or her beliefs. That's right, I am purposely refusing to write what she wants us to because I can't, consciously, agree with it. And the professor is supposed to be open minded. Go figure.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and will have a great week.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

*EDIT on 12/7/2010: I have since posted two separate posts on the subject last month and this month, including a detailed post last week. Thank you for the comment and advice but I already made my decision weeks ago. :)*

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Online "Spring" Cleaning and Catholic New Media

If you're following me on Twitter then you saw my "tweet" about going through my list of nearly 500 people and trying to "clean" it so that I would only be following those I actually communicated with or those whose posts I follow regardless. At this point, I have less than 300, which is huge for me. I am not done yet and would like my list to be closer to the 200 mark. Part of the reason for this is that I felt bombarded with information that seemed superficial. Twitter, which I originally joined to keep in touch with friends who weren't on Facebook or who were too busy to email long messages, has become more and more impersonal. The data overload was making me feel disconnected from people, not to mention I was missing a lot of important information some of my closest friends were posting because they were buried in between posts that I wasn't interested in. It's been a long time coming and I'm glad I finally got the bulk of it done.

I'm current going through some major online "spring" cleaning. Taking a cue from Dan and Dustin, I've decided to make my life online just a little easier. They've bravely deleted their Facebook account but I think I would have a hard time doing that since I keep in touch with family and friends when I'm too busy to email. I am, however, going to delete a lot of information and photos that are unnecessary. We have so much information overload every time we get online, and much of the time it's information that is irrelevant or damaging to us as Catholics, and I'm tired of it. As my free time has now become precious due to the insane amount of homework the professors have assigned to us this semester, I need to have my priorities in order and I want to keep my friendships intact and the only way this can happen is with the "spring" cleaning.

I was able to step back and see how much time I was wasting online when I could be doing other productive things. Since the semester started mid/late August, I've spent more time playing games, taking quizzes, looking at sites like eOnline... and none of it was contributing to making me a better person. On the contrary, it's sites like eonline (which I like to read for movie news) that were actually hurting me. Is it really necessary to read who's being cast in what movie, what these so-called celebrities were doing on their off-time, and spoilers to shows I don't even watch? Not at all! Slowly I realized that I would often skim stories of celebrities that were gossip... and I hate gossip! I have a "no gossip policy" that I enforce: I don't gossip about people and don't like to listen to gossip, even if it's about me. It somehow didn't click that by my skimming these articles I was partaking in what I didn't like. *facepalm* Those were the first things I cut out when I started my "spring" cleaning (and since I'd only recently started reading them it hadn't become a bad habit.) The games were easier to cut out because I only like playing the games that take a couple of minutes to finish (i.e. puzzles). I still occasionally do quizzes on Blogpost but it's because it only takes a couple of seconds and I can do them after I am done with what's more important.

I've begun substituting a lot of what I browsed online with what has been dubbed "Catholic New Media." I've been keeping up with it since I returned to the Faith 4 years ago but I'd sort of put all the podcasts I once listened to (i.e. The Break with Fr. Roderick) on hold once I went back to school. Not only that, I haven't been keeping up with the numerous blogs and websites that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I'd gone into full on academic mode and had shut out anything that wasn't school related. Well, everything except the sites I previously mentioned. It was a BIG mistake to this. I missed a lot of great articles and blog posts that would've helped me, both spiritually and mentally. In light of everything that's happened at school, in my classes with my professors, I think it's important that I begin to use the vast online resources we Catholics have. I've gotten to the point where I know how to handle my classes and professors so I am having a lot more free time and I'm also stressing out less. Now that I've gotten the courage to speak up and defend our faith (in the majority of my classes), I have time to do research and to fully immerse myself in what is true so that I can combat whatever heresies my professors unleashed on us. There have been times I've felt I haven't been able to defend something properly and that's both infuriating and sad. (side note: I still can't defend anything in one class because the professor won't allow us but at least there's a growing support group amongst us conservatives.) I don't know whether it's my utter detestation of what we're "learning" at my school or Our Lady answering my petitions during the 54 day Rosary (I'm on day 34)... or a combination of the two things... but I'm definitely making some major changes in my online life (as well as my personal life).

Before I end this post, I was wondering if y'all can help me out on something. As I've previously mentioned, I started this blog to give y'all an insight on the life of a Catholic revert. I'm still learning (there's so much I have to learn and so much I will not get a chance to get to despite how long I may live) so that is why I keep posting. Since I have a huge mountain (school) I'm slowly climbing, I was wondering if it would be too repetitive for me to write about what's going on with that. Of course not a day goes by that at least one heretical utterance is said at that school but I've been thinking about writing about my progress at that school once a week, like on Fridays. I want to try to not complain about what's going on (although, the complaints are not actual complaints; I write them because of my amusement by what's "taught") but maybe just write about my progress with what's going on and how I'm handling my time there. I just wanted to see what y'all thought because I don't want to become repetitive with what I write. :) I hope that, if I do these weekly updates, it'll be a positive contribution to the evangelization we Catholics are doing online.

I actually want to get some "spring" cleaning done in my "offline" life (y'all should see my poor desk) so I will end this post here. I hope to post some back posts tomorrow and this weekend since I have a 4-day break from school.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

Okay, so this picture has nothing to do with what's going on with me because I don't have writer's block... I simply haven't had the time to do much writing outside what is needed for school and for Envoy Magazine. Still, I love it so I posted it. :-P

I have back posts I started but didn't finish because of time issues and a major change which has thrown my time management/schedule for a loop. Long story short: less hours sleeping, more busy hours during the day, and I dropped my math course for both time issues as well as, well, because my professor was insensitive and I was advised my faculty here to drop it after an incident between him and I. Anyway, since I don't have much time at the moment (I have Lit in about 40 minutes for so) I just thought I'd answer some questions I've been getting through email, on here (via comments) and twitter.

First: Did I do it? Did I end up wearing a mantilla two weeks ago? The answer is: YES! If you're a Facebook buddy you saw the photographic evidence (which a friend/classmate took inside the chapel). I did indeed wear a mantilla. There were dirty looks and a lot of pointing and whispering (and not discreetly) as I had predicted. I won't go into how... *shudders*... the Mass was and how the Eucharist (which wasn't really one) was basically shoved into my hands despite my efforts not to but I will say that I did wear it and I'm happy I did. I already know that some of my classmates think I have a "holier than thou" attitude because I go pray in the chapel whenever I get the chance and because of other things so I wasn't too concerned with what they thought about my wearing my chapel veil. It's kind of funny because if they knew just how hard I am on myself, they'd know it's the complete opposite. I did get a compliment, from the school's president no less, about how "pretty" it was which I did not expect. Overall, I was glad to do it despite what others said/thought.

Second: Do I have another article for Envoy Magazine coming up? The answer is: Yes! I've been trying to get it Patrick (and will attempt it again after my Lit class) for a couple of weeks now but my email is acting dumb (or it's going straight to his Spam folder because of that one time my account was hacked). Either way, it's written and it will hopefully be in the next issue. Can't say what it's about (yet) but I have a feeling y'all will relate to it... or at least that's what I'm hoping for.

Third: Why the lack of updates? Well, you guys probably know the answer to this by now. I'm not lazy and I don't have writer's block... I just have to rearrange some things so I can make the most out of my free time (like bringing a laptop to school so I can both work on school essays as well as update this blog). Since I have two very important exams this week (both placement exams - one for my Foreign Language requirement, the other for math), I want to dedicate as much time as I can to studying. I'm praying that I can test out of Intermediate Algebra (which is the last math course I took; they still make you take the test here) so I can knock math out of my life (forever) next semester. Fingers crossed.

Fourth: How's school going? It has its ups and downs. I "played" a game with my Catholic friends on Facebook called "Spot the Heresies." Basically, I posted a note with direct quotes from my professors and asked my friends to spot the heretical teachings. Now they see my pain. lol. The heresies are becoming a bit infrequent in all but one of my courses. I still dread coming to school (and still cry some nights at the thought of having to come the next day) but it's getting somewhat easier. I have a friend who's in the same boat as I am - both are regretting but learning from the decision of attending this school but we are both trying to make the most of our experience here. Today we talked about how we would've rather attending Thomas Aquinas College about an hour north of here but how "it is what it is" and now we must survive until graduation. Thank God (I'm literally thanking Him) that I am finding (or, I should say, that God's putting into my path) people with the same beliefs.

Okay, I have just a few minutes before class started and I still have to walk to the building and then up to the top floor so I am going to end this blog post here. I will try to update again on Thursday... at least the post on St. Therese and how suffering beads have changed my life quite dramatically. I wanted to post it on Friday but couldn't. :D

I hope y'all are having a great start of week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless!

Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Therese Suffering Beads

Happy St. Therese of Lisieux feast day! Since St. Therese has been in my life quite a bit lately, her feast day is a bigger celebration than in previous years. She's always been a favorite saint of ours but her story, as well as that of her parents, have really helped us these past couple of months. My mom actually passed down a book on St. Therese's life (written in Spanish) that she's had since before I was born because I've been trying to get my hands on all the books on St. Therese that I can. Basically, I'm trying to learn how to better handle things from her.

I'll be the first to admit that it takes a lot to push my buttons to the point where I actually get really mad. I'll be unhappy about something but I can usually get over that thing a minute or two later because I don't like dwelling on things that are negative. I don't see the point and I avoid drama like the plague. Unfortunately, the professors at my school have been pushing all the right (or should I say wrong?) buttons lately. I'm so passionate about my faith that it really makes me upset when someone butchers it and presents it the way they want to and not the way it is. I actually started keep track of how many things I was offering up because I tend to not say anything until I'm really riled up or until I feel comfortable enough to do so. A lot of things are quite irritating, such as saying that God can be referred to as either a man or a woman *sigh*, and when my professors are in a mood we can't even say anything without fear of a full on attack so offering up the assault on my ears is the best option. It wasn't until recently that I got my hands on some sacrifice beads to help me.

Lately I've been using St. Therese Suffering Beads that my good friend/soul sister, Angelica, was kind enough to send me. I've been trying to keep track of things I offer and on bad days I have to "reset" the sacrifice beads more than one or twice but it's okay because it's helping me cope with school a little better. I actually hadn't heard of sacrifice beads until Angelica mentioned them but I am glad she did because goodness knows that I seriously needed them. I don't always move a bead, signifying a sacrifice made, but I've begun to automatically catch myself so that I don't have an uncharitable thought about my professors. If you have a problem with impatience or have to deal with people or situations that make you unhappy more often than not, I strongly recommend investing in a "chaplet" of sacrifice beads. :D

Alright, well, I have loads to do so that is all for today. I hope everyone had a wonder day today. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!