‘There is a Community for You’
Prepared for the 150th Writing Project of the Chaplaincy of Elmhurst University
By Aaron Blanzy
I came to Elmhurst University in 2017 to pursue my dream of playing college football while undertaking a pre-medicine curriculum. I struggled to maintain my religion and friendships throughout my freshman year, drowning to manage my time with football, studying and work. I never took the time to reach out to people for help or join student organizations.
My sophomore year of college tested me more. I started the year off by breaking my ankle. I was sidelined from football for the year and underperforming in my classes. I was lost. I needed direction … and that is when I found my faith and forever friends. My dorm neighbor invited me to Catholic mass that Sunday and I was introduced to a group of Elmhurst students called Blue Jay Catholic. This group immediately embraced me. They helped me re-find my faith and grow. Sunday mass and brunch afterward became a regular routine that I looked forward to. Throughout the week we met for Bible study and prayer. I saw myself change. I became more outgoing, I approached each day with a positive attitude … I was happier. I am thankful for the Catholic family that found me at Elmhurst University. I miss having a group to go to mass with. I miss having a student group that I could share with. I hope there are still Catholic communities on campus that have groups that walk to mass, go out to brunch and meet for fun activities.
Blue Jay Catholic introduced me to many new people, including select Elmhurst faculty with whom I appreciated our conversations. Thank you to Professor Joan Vilim for our conversations and for helping me transition into finance. Thank you to Phil Riordan for always keeping your door open.
To new Catholic students, there is a community for you. A community that cares and wants to help you grow in faith and as a person. Take the time to reach out.
Aaron Blanzy is an Elmhurst University alumnus.