by Ejuma Adoga
When I returned to BC this fall, three months after graduation, everything had changed. Four years ago, I was a bright-eyed and eager freshman, experiencing a new sense of change and environment after moving 7 hours away from home. Everything, including my faith, felt new, vibrant, and fresh. I had several different choices when it came to Mass times, endless amounts of exposure to new people, and what seemed to be a million different clubs through which I could reinvent myself. Obviously (and this is the case for most people), college brings its own challenges, through which we eventually build endurance and find our stride.
My faith really developed and became extremely personal to me, because in my most difficult times throughout my four years at BC, it was what I leaned on. It was my first time living away from home, and so I had the choice to engage or disengage from my faith. I chose to embrace it, because it was something that was familiar in an environment that was foreign to me. Naturally, as my time in undergrad progressed, I was able to build my identity and relationship with God and the people around me, and I grew into my own. When I graduated this past May, I felt satisfied with my spiritual and personal growth, and was excited to return in the fall for graduate school.
Coming back to BC after the summer was comforting because the place felt familiar, but besides that, everything had changed. Most of my friends were working or had started school at institutions all over the country. I had entirely new classmates and a different affiliation with BC, and I felt in many ways like my freshman self. I spent much of my time alone because I hadn’t gotten the chance to know my new classmates very well, and my friends that were still undergraduates were adjusting to the new school year themselves. So, four years later, I found myself in a place of solitude.
What was different this time was that everything I did had more intention—especially my practice of faith. I found myself with more opportunities to reflect and pray, and I experienced a sense of spiritual rebirth, because I had more time alone. With that alone time came more responsibility and accountability with my faith. How was I going to maintain the spiritual connection and relationship with God that I had built during undergrad?
I still attended Mass daily, as I did in undergrad, but I realized that I needed a little bit more to keep my spiritual momentum going. I set aside time each day for my own conversation with God. Whether on the way to school in the morning, during a midday trip to St. Mary’s, or in the quiet time before I went to sleep, I made sure that I had that time. It has been something that I have enjoyed because it allows me to process my day and talk to God about what has been on my mind or what worries me, and it gives me a sense of peace. It is within those moments that I take a breath, slow down, and allow myself just to be with God.