Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Back to the Scene of the Crime; CINO College Return

No, I did not commit an actual crime... but I did return to my alma mater. (insert smirk)

Before I go on, I'm going to point you new folks to the following blog posts from my time at that school because, well, I had a very interesting time at this school. A "traddie" leaning Catholic at a liberal "Catholic" college? Read for yourselves:
First Impressions
Back To School Week From Heck
- CINO (Catholic in Name Only) and Double Majors -- the most popular blog post for many years
- I'm Undercover at the CINO...
- The Lone Ranger Plus One
- It's Finally Happened...
- Quick Question... (CINO College Related)
- Ooh, My CINO College is in Trouble...
- Profs Don't Like Me But Like Abortion
- Well, I'm Not Stopping...
- Emmy, Defender of the Pope and Priests? 
- Lecture Notes from My CINO College Alma Mater

I attended my CINO college alma mater from 2010 to 2012, graduating in May 2012. The last time I was on campus (May 5, 2012) was for the Baccalaureate Mass since it's a "Catholic" (yep, still using those quotation marks) school. I said "I'm free! I'm never coming back here! Peace out, suckers!" Yeeeah. 4 years, 4 months, and 12 days later I set foot on campus once again and I've been there twice in the past week.

Prior to the beginning of this semester I couldn't find proctor that didn't charge an arm and a leg to get my exams proctored. Since I'm attending Utah State as a distance education/online student, I need to get all my exams (except, obviously, those that are open book) proctored. I didn't have that issue during my brief stint at JP Catholic because they trusted us to be truthful and not cheat during our exams but USU is a little more... cautious. I spent a couple of days emailing and/or waiting for responses from local schools about my exams. Only one said they were able to do it (and for free since I'm an alumna) -- my CINO college alma mater.

I was a little nervous about returning because of how I left; I was not liked when I was at that school. I shed a lot of tears and I was made to feel like a religious freak weirdo person because I wasn't a "liberal" like them. I still remember the looks I got when I veiled at the Red Mass my first year there; I was openly "traddie" and it was odd for them. I'm pretty sure at least one staff member/professor has read this blog at some point to make sure I wasn't outing them by name. (side note: for the record, I've never publicly named it for legal matters; they like to sue people.) I wasn't sure if I was going to see any of my former professors (who, I believe, are still working there) so it was going to be interesting for me. So far I haven't seen any professors but I still have 7 more months of exams that are getting proctored so there's always a chance I might.

The weird thing about my return was how at peace and at home I felt. No, really. It may because I've always felt at peace on campus (outside of the classroom, of course); being so close to the school chapel and spending so much time in there by myself when I was a student probably helped. Being surrounded by the beauty of nature, seeing so many beautiful statues... remembering what I went through, I loved it. I genuinely loved the couple of hours I was on campus this and last week. I even thought "well... this is always an option to get an Education MS with an emphasis on speech impaired and deaf students." (side note #2: yes, they offer the degree with that emphasis and it would go along with the current degree I'm working towards.) And, if that wasn't enough, it made me feel the way I felt when I was at that school: so in love with the Church and the faith that I couldn't (and still can't, to be honest) see myself doing anything else. It was like the return to campus rekindled the fire to learn as much as I could about the faith to teach younger generations the beauty and truth of the Church.

You know that horrible spiritual dryness I endured for weeks during this (late) summer? It's like it never happened. I was slowly coming out of it but my return to that school erased whatever remained of it. In fact, I was -- dare I say -- joyful. I was so happy; smiling and laughing and being a lot more charitable than I've felt in recent weeks. I haven't felt so at peace with everything for a long, long time. Passing 2 of my 3 exams (I failed one) and not having much time to study for the exams hasn't dampered my spirits. I even said to myself -- while I had a private, prayerful moment, on campus, prior to the exams -- that if I didn't pass my courses well enough to finish the degree, I would return to get my Theology MA. I was happy and at peace with that thought, too. For the record, I'm not saying I'm jumping ship on this degree or returning to JP Catholic but I'm open to whatever God has in store for me. If it's His will that I don't finish this degree for whatever reason or if He wants me to do something else, I'm totally onboard.

The point to this blog post is to say that I'm really glad I returned to my alma mater because it's helped me find myself and renew that faith once again... at the "Catholic" college where there are female (occasionally nun) professors who drag priests and Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI through the mud... and say it's okay for us to say that God is a woman. It's weird, right? Yep, keep surprising me, God. Now that I've quit making long-term plans, I can't wait to see what He has in store for me next. I have a feeling I'll get a lot more clarity as I continue to spend time on campus before and after exams.

Anyway, I want to rest my eyes and mind from all the non-stop studying and screen time so I'm going to go try to finish My Beloved: The Story of a Catholic Nun by Mother Catherine Thomas. Shout out to the Los Angeles Public Library for having a copy for me to read! (Shameless plug, you can also check out my author profile at Goodreads  -- if you haven't already -- while you're on the Goodreads website.)

I hope y'all are having a lovely start of the week!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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