by Devin

Is Catholic College Right For Everyone?

May 23, 2014 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

I attended a small liberal arts Catholic college in Massachusetts until I graduated just a few weeks ago.  Honestly, the main reason I decided to go to this school had absolutely nothing to do with religion; in fact I almost did not attend this school because it was a religious school.  The real reason I ended up there was because they offered me the most money.  It was going to be the same price for me to attend this school as it would have been for me to go to a state school in Connecticut.  I convinced my parents to let me go to the out of state school since it was going to be the same price.  I wanted to get out of the state for my four years of undergrad.

I have never been very religious, I made my first communion but that was it.  I never felt the need to follow an organized religion in order to practice spirituality.  I loved college and I loved all of the friends I made these last four years, but if I am being honest, I am not sure I would decided to attend a Catholic college if I was able to go back in time.  I was not entirely satisfied with the total experience associated with a Catholic college.  I attended public school my entire life so I did not really know what I was in for.

I completely understand why it is a requirement to take religion classes at a Catholic school; that is obvious.  However, I wish I had evaluated this requirement before making my decision to enroll.  Since I am not a practicing Catholic I found it more of an annoyance to take these classes rather than a learning experience.  I think I would have enjoyed theology more if I could have taken classes that explored other religions.  For this reason I do not think I was a good fit for a Catholic school, I would have rather have used those six credits of theology classes to explore a subject matter I found to be more interesting.

Outside of the classroom I found my school to be much more strict than other schools.  I visited several of my friends’ colleges over the years and I found they have more freedom than I do at my school.  We have very strict guest polices that require us to sign in anyone visiting, even if they do not spend the night.  They are also strict about guests of the opposite gender, especially if you live in underclassman dorms.  Several of my guest have gotten in trouble while visiting simply because they were unfamiliar with the strict polices in place at my school.  It got to be very frustrating.  My friends would drive an hour and half to come visit me and then they would get in trouble.  I even had one friend get spoken to by the police because he was taking a nap in my apartment, while I was not there, and a fire alarm when off.  After the police saw him exit my apartment I had to explain to them that he was my guest and it was okay.

Looking back I am slightly disappointed I decided to attend a Catholic college. While a Catholic school is a good choice for some people I do not think I was appropriate for me.  I think I would have enjoyed attended a more liberal college.

Catholic College

Catholic College

To Prospects of Life and an Alive Campus Farewell

February 5, 2014 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges, Events, Health, Infographics, Love, Reviews, Sports, Style, Tech, Travel

Hello Camper,

Aim and shoot for beyond the stars…

Alive Campus provides an awesome experience for individuals receiving and sharing information about their colleges. It provides an avenue for incoming freshmen, transfers and overall prospects to view an institution in light of the person-student. It is better than a commercial about an institution that attempts to sell the environment to the student. Still- the able, productive and willing student will learn to use an institution as a useful platform: Students excelling in academics and sports will be able to promote their selves through the institution or their merits for their personal reasons. College may be an expensive or inexpensive experience but SallieMae is always willing to assist the educational process toward their profitable return.

Every collegiate institution will vary by academia, cultures, privatization, religions, regulations and traditions. My attendance from Lock Haven University to Centenary College has been a fulfilling and tremendous rollercoaster of experience. El Torro and Kingda Ka in a blizzard cannot compare with my college tumbling experience. After completing then paying for one class and test I will have the opportunity to graduate from Centenary College in May, elated.

It has been a great experience writing for Alive Campus. It will no longer be my place to discuss Centenary College’s environment as I improve away from it. I do have bits of advice for individuals seeking to attend an institution or transfer from an institution. The future is changing dramatically with the variety of institutions available; chiropractic, culinary, dog training, masseuse, music and etc. type of schools exist for individuals seeking a particular career path of growth.

Do not rush any decision about the future. If you feel an inclination toward a different direction for your life then find the avenues prospering in the direction of your inclination. If you are unsure about attending a large university then attend a community college to save money and receive half (or more) of the credits at a four year college. You will have enough time to think and prepare financially for the future ahead of you without risking valuable time especially since community colleges are very affordable avenues. The one class I am taking at Centenary is more than my co-worker’s semester tuition at a community college.

Don’t let others make decisions about your life either: If they’re not offering financial backing and a place in their home with their advice about your future then take their advice like an open wound with a grain of salt; take careful thought thinking about the next steps in your future. Don’t rush your life. Advice is another option to think about especially when various walks of life will have advice readily available for a variety of purposes. Be patient thinking about decisions, and even more patient making those decisions, to enhance your life in the long run.

I hope the future progresses well for every individual!

It will progress well if you take your time for its true value.

Time is not money: It is your life.

Onward and Upward,

Kevin Dufresne

Thank you Radek Janowski and Alive Campers for being amazing and useful!

Oh, The Humanities!

November 15, 2013 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career

If you’re trying to decide which major is for you, you may be asking around and doing research on what might be the most profitable down the road. Or perhaps which will give you the most life satisfaction and satiation of your thirst for a particular field of knowledge. There’s no one “correct” reason for picking a major, but one common phrase you’re likely to hear “avoid the humanities.” Maybe you’ve already got a few years of humanities education on your credit grid-sheet, and you’re pondering the possibilities of life after graduation. There’s a chance you’ll hear someone say, “should have avoided the humanities.” It is unfortunate, but there’s an ever-growing stigma against humanities courses, branding them worthless, and that they should perhaps not even be offered as majors, or even as elective courses.This is a big enough issue that endless articles regarding this stigma can be found online.

There’s this push to pursue more realistic degrees, like engineering, computer science, or marketing. While right now a degree in a field like one of those will most likely give you the possibility to earn more cash than a degree in philosophy or religious studies would, that should not be the deciding factor when you’re choosing your degree. And it shouldn’t make your fine arts or language degree seem any less worthwhile than any other degree. Humanities have their uses. They may not seem practical, but that’s only because their usefulness is not as obvious or apparent.

What it feels like to be a philosophy major.

I brought up this issue with a philosophy instructor, philosophy being considered a joke and the prime example of a worthless humanities degree. I don’t agree with that, but I happen to love philosophy. I do, however, see how anyone could feel that way, since philosophy involves the mind and not the hands. But this professor explained to me just how useful a degree in philosophy could be, not only for financial gain but also as a way to develop one’s mind and become a better person. He pointed out to me that many students who wish to eventually pursue a career as a lawyer decide that criminal justice would be the best course of action to take for an undergraduate degree. Instead, he told me, they should consider philosophy, a great tool for anyone who wants to be a lawyer. It teaches you how to think logically and to be thoughtful of more possibilities and angles of argument; it teaches you how to write accurately and technically, and to develop an eye for detail; it teaches you how to speak clearly, concisely, confidently, and fairly. Above all, the professor said, it teaches you to be just and unbiased, because a philosopher knows the value of truth and the worthlessness of personal gain. “After all, you’re going to die someday. You can’t take your wealth with you anywhere when you’re dead. So what’s the point of being unfair?” He then went on to tell me about how a philosophy student is more likely to pass law school anyway.

A tool for infinite happiness.

When it comes down to it, life isn’t about the search for more money. It’s about developing as a person and learning about what gives you passion. If you like art, you should major in an art–you’ll develop a skill and knowledge that you’ll be proud of, something that advancing technology won’t be able to replace you with or make you obsolete. If you like music, major in it and learn to play the instrument you love–you’ll master a piece of equipment that will forever bring you and those around you joy, and that’s something you can be happy about for as long as you live. And if you love history or religions, major in them! That kind of knowledge will make you happy. And the ability to seek knowledge and skill for the sake of our own happiness is what makes us human.

So if you ever hear anyone scoff at the idea of studying the humanities, just scoff back at their lack of humanity.

Assumption College: An Atheist’s Nightmare

June 13, 2013 in Alive Campus

Catholic schools create angry atheists

Catholic schools create angry atheists

I’m sure you’re wondering why an atheist is going to a Catholic college, anyway. And I’ll tell you why. Growing up in the inner-city, my parents would rather have died than wave goodbye to me every morning as I drove away on a public school bus. When I was young and religious, this didn’t matter to me, but by the time I was in sixth grade, I began to question these teachings and I realized that I didn’t believe in this strange God-creature that made us out of nothing and yet was somehow always there without a creator of his own. I had gone to the same school from first until sixth grade, and because it went through to grade eight, I never thought of transferring into a public school which might actually foster my skepticism. I did not want to go to a Catholic high school, but my mother was not supportive of me and I ended up going from Sacred Heart School to Trinity Catholic High School, and from there, confused about the college process and unaware of what I wanted, I ended up at Assumption College, the holy grail of Catholic assholery.

Of course I’m used to seeing dying, emaciated Jesus judging me from his T-shaped guilt-device on every wall, so the little things don’t bug me too much. But being forced to take two theology classes in a college setting is highly disturbing, especially when I’m barely going to make it through in four years with all of the classes I need to take, anyway.

There’s a chapel on campus, which doesn’t worry me to any extent other than than the vague notion that I might burst into flames upon entering it (which didn’t happen, as I’m sure you can tell). But I steer clear of it, even though we get emails every week reminding us that, surprise, surprise, there is mass that weekend and anyone can attend. How nice. Assumption College, as a whole, not individually (the opinions of the faculty are quite different from the overall message of this establishment) reminds me of that self-important Christian who offers to pray for the atheist to find God. We even prayed before a game of Bingo, once. Hey, why would God care about the prayers of the homeless when He can respond to those of middle-class white kids?

I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what going to a Catholic school is like. For a girl like me, with intensely heavy periods which are accompanied by mind-blowing pain, the only solace is the Depo Provera shot, which literally stops menstruation. Birth control pills, for me personally, causes me to have my period twice a month– extremely counterproductive. The Depo shot, which actually works, needs to be given to me by a professional. Unfortunately, my school refuses to provide me with this service (who knows what kind of debauchery I could fall into unless I go through my monthly womanly unclean-time), so I must go to a clinic off-campus, by taxi. This clinic is in dire need of some funding, because the spiders have taken over, and for someone with arachnophobia (AKA me) this place causes some extreme anxiety.

The school also refuses to give out things like free condoms in a strange, stereotypically Catholic attempt to rule the lives of legal adults. We have a yearly sex-talk panel, where some faculty members (including someone from campus ministry… what?) answer the students’ questions. Women are not allowed to sleep over guys’ rooms, and vice versa– a solid piece of heteronormative bullshit. The president tried to use his influence to get the school to vote a certain way by sending out an email tot he whole campus.

It’s an all-around uncomfortable place. The only things getting me through are great friends, great professors, and knowing that I’m already halfway through.

Being at a Christian School

February 16, 2013 in Admissions, Campus Life, Colleges

Vanguard University is a small, private Christian school, and most people wouldn’t consider it because of its religious affiliation. It’s not for everyone, but if you are looking for a positive environment, I think that considering a small school with a religious affiliation is not a bad idea. As with any school, my biggest advice is to visit before you make a decision. You may love a school, but visiting it may make you realize how much you hate it, and vice versa.

Anyway, what makes a Christian school different? Well, I first want to say that every school is different but I will be talking mostly about my school, but you can use it as a general reference to other schools.

Vanguard is one of the stricter Christian universities out there. Some religious schools have very loose rules, and Vanguard’s rules are stricter than many. I, personally, like the rules because it makes me comfortable in the environment. Others, of course, don’t for whatever reasons they have. Some of the rules we have are no drinking/doing drugs on campus or at all (even if you are of legal age), no premarital sex, the opposite sex cannot be in your dorm at all times (only during certain times), and others. You can see why some people don’t like the school. My point of view is that you know (or should know) the guidelines your school has before you choose it. If you get the opportunity to choose what school you want to go to, don’t choose one where you don’t like the rules.

Another quality about most Christian schools are chapels. They are required, and to my knowledge, my school is a little more flexible in chapel requirements than other schools. At most schools, you are required to attend a certain number of chapels. At my school, it is at least 30. Some schools require you to go to all, but Vanguard gives you the choice to go to any of the chapels offered throughout the week, giving you five chances on a regular week. Some weeks there are special events that allow chapel credit and are not done in the typical way.

Despite all of that, my favorite part about being at my school is the community. My school has roughly 2,000 people and you can feel a community within the whole school, not just a certain club or your floor or anything like that. Everyone, for the most part, genuinely cares about you even if they don’t know you. For example, a friend of mine was in the mini-mart on campus and the cashier just randomly asked to pray for her. He didn’t know her or have ever talked to her before. Or once you make friends, they are usually very trustworthy and are easy to talk to. For most that go to Vanguard, we really appreciate being able to talk about almost every different subject out there, and talk about God as well, whether it’s answering questions others have about him or just talking about what each person is going through. It creates an atmosphere to bond on a deeper level.

I’m definitely not saying that my school is perfect, and I know that a Christian university isn’t for everyone, but if you are open or like the Christian environment (or any religious environment), consider a small, private religious-affiliated university. It may be just what you need in your life. It’s exactly what I needed for me.

Going to a Christian School: The lovely girls of the floor I live on at a photoshoot.