Making the Most out of These Four Years
Jacob Flores ’16
Television shows and Hollywood movies portray college as four years of little to no studying, binge drinking, and casual hook-ups. With this message being constantly perpetuated by the media, college freshmen often leave their faith at home and get sucked into this destructive culture. Luckily, during my first few weeks at Dartmouth I discovered Aquinas House. AQ has made my college experience completely different from what has been portrayed in pop culture. When you get to college, your parents aren’t there on Sunday mornings to wake you up and drag you to church. In turn, this forces students to decide if church is really important to them or not. My faith became my own here at Dartmouth. Aquinas House has provided the community and instruction for me to learn and grow deeper in the Catholic faith. As a religion major, I have encountered some of the toughest criticisms of Christianity. AQ is often the place where I seek answers to the difficult questions that are posed to Christians. For example, why aren’t there women priests? Is the Bible truly without error? Was Jesus both God and man or was he simply a good teacher? St. Thomas Aquinas, for whom Aquinas House was named, was a brilliant philosopher and defender of the faith. I strive to follow in his example, and I’m fortunate to be able to turn to those wiser than me at AQ when I seek answers to some tough questions.
On another note, AQ has helped me to find fulfillment. On a campus like Dartmouth, many seek fulfillment through good grades or high social standing. I have come to realize is that true joy and peace comes from becoming the man or woman that God has made us to be. We must decide daily to actively avoid sin and pursue righteousness. Some, on campus and elsewhere, desperately try to find happiness in alcohol, drugs, or pre-marital sex, but those activities can only provide short term pleasure. True happiness and peace cannot be sustained from those temporary pleasures. I believe we should use the short four years that we have at Dartmouth to take advantage of the faith resources set before us. After graduation, it will be difficult to find a church and a church community that caters to young adults. In part, Jesus established the church on Earth because he knew the great benefits of community. In Hebrews, St. Paul says it perfectly: “Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Since we are all sinners, God tells us to run with perseverance not perfection. He knows that we don’t also live up to His standard, but this verse also highlights the importance of running together. Working out is tough to do alone. Seeking to be like Christ is tough work too when you go at it by yourself. Pursuing God was meant to be a team effort and the church provides the sacraments and community to make it happen. Let take advantage of these four years of close-knit Christian community to encourage fellow believers to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.