When I was applying to colleges, I didn't want to come to CSB. My parents are a Bennie/Johnnie couple, and I had grown up hearing about CSB/SJU endlessly, and visited the campus regularly. At the time, I wanted to go anywhere else, just so long as it wasn't where my parents (and a few other relatives) had already gone. I had been waitlisted at my top choice school and so, I came to CSB in the fall of 2012. I wanted to leave the entire time: I even applied at other schools to transfer away from CSB after a very tumultuous first year.
I returned to CSB for my sophomore year, which was a little better; I strengthened my closer friendships, took classes that sparked my creativity and challenged me, started dating a Johnnie, and discovered that my true passion is veterinary medicine. However, I still didn't feel like CSB was really where I belonged. I applied to study abroad because a mentor suggested it. I figured I could come back and transfer after that, if I still really felt I didn't belong here. I went to Galway, Ireland in the fall of my junior year, and there, I realized I belonged at CSB/SJU, even though I was six thousand miles away. I was able to more genuinely live as a person and a student. I had adventures and mishaps and terrible evenings and wonderful nights with the people on my program. They were my support through adjustment to life abroad, a breakup, travel disasters, stress, and trying to make sense of life one we got back to the states. Through it all, I realized there was never another place that I could have found this incredible sense of deep community.
I'm graduating this spring, and it's bittersweet for me in a unique way for me: I spent two years of my time at CSB wishing it away, but in the following two years, I feel that I've more than made up for it. I met another Johnnie, made professional connections, figured out my future (kind of), and embraced everything that I refused to touch in my first two years at CSB. I've since gotten more active in the CSB/SJU community, discerned my career path, loved and lost, and come to know this place as my home. I've found my passions, my friends, and the path to my future. I can freely and easily say: CSB, je t'aime.
Catherine J. '16 | Duluth, Minn.