#StandUpOrStepOut

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This piece is a response to the most recent occurrence of racially motivated assault that happened at Providence College this past weekend. For more information, please see Channel 10’s coverage of the events.

Many members of the Friar Family like to think of themselves as “colorblind.” They don’t see race, because it doesn’t matter. Our society is “post-racial,” where men like Barack Obama hold the highest office in the world, women like Oprah and Beyoncé are our queens, and Lebron James is a household name. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gave black people the opportunity to fully participate in the American dream. That was over 50 years ago; so, many Friars struggle to understand why we have a diversity requirement in our curriculum, why students of color need to have clubs and safe spaces specifically for themselves, and why a list of demands have been sent to Fr. Shanley by people of color in the PC community.

Some Friars might hesitate to engage in the discussion because they are white. They might be afraid of saying the wrong thing, asking the wrong questions, or being accused of something they don’t think they are guilty of. Some might think that as a white person, this isn’t their battle to fight.

Other Friars might shy away from this discussion entirely. They may believe that incidents of racial discrimination are a coincidence, or that there are two sides to every story, or that there simply aren’t enough occurrences to classify the situation as a high priority emergency at our college when we have other projects such as the business school, the new soccer stadium, and new Ruane practice arena to worry about.

Let’s take the plunge together. Let’s talk about race. Let’s learn about what’s happened in history, what’s happening across the country, and what’s happening on our campus.

First, I want to tackle what the term “colorblindness” means. In the United States, many people believe in the American Dream. This is the idea that if people work hard and are given opportunities to succeed, it’s possible for anyone to achieve economic prosperity. This perspective leads us to believe that class and culture, and not institutional racism, are responsible for social inequality. The consequence then, is that we completely stop thinking about and talking about the social, political, and economic arrangements that privilege white people in our country.

I find that my peers at Providence College are hesitant to acknowledge their white privilege. They say things to me like: “My family is working class. I didn’t come from privilege.” Or: “White people can be discriminated against too!” In an effort to dissect these arguments, I’m going to talk about the difference between institutionalized racism, and discrimination.

For most college students, it is helpful to look at institutionalized racism from a business perspective. One noticeable instance of institutionalized racism happens in a person of color’s early life: during elementary school. There have been studies done which show evidence that teachers who have more minority students implicitly expect them to achieve less than their white counterparts, which influences a person of color’s ability to obtain the same resume as their white peers from very early on in his or her career. Later in life, there are studies that show a strong correlation between the ethnicity of a job applicant’s name, and his or her likelihood to receive a call back. If two identical resumes to an accounting firm with the names “Scott” and “Jamal,” Scott will always be called back more often. Another example of systematic discrimination can be seen in the U.S.’s criminal justice system. According to the NAACP’s criminal justice fact sheet, while the drug usage rates for white men are 5 times higher than the reported drug usage of black men, black men are sent to prison for drug offences at 10 times the rate of whites.

Let’s take these macro examples down to the Providence College level. Our university is what some call a PWI- a predominantly white institution. This means that our president is white, our board of trustees is white, most of our professors are white, most of our administrators are white, and most of the students of PC are white. That’s not unlike the rest of the world. We also are similar to the rest of the world in the way we unjustly treat students, faculty and staff of color on this campus.

Within the past several years, there have been numerous issues of racial discrimination of which the student body might not even be aware. For example, our black faculty are stopped at horrifyingly disproportionate rates by PC security than their white counterparts. The normalization of the “white-wave” (the idea that a white student or faculty can cruise by security without question) is representative of a larger concern. There have been numerous incidents of Friars both drawing and uttering racially discriminatory epithets about their peers. Some departments on campus are so notorious for their bias against students of color, that the percentages of students that drop the major merited an outside review.

We also have micro-aggressions within clubs on campus. It’s been just three short years since our official source of news on campus, The Cowl, published an editorial questioning the importance of our Martin Luther King scholarship, claiming that it was unfair to white students. It’s been one short year since Student Congress looked at the proposers of the club Women Empowered and learned that black feminism and feminism are not the same thing. It’s EVERY year that clubs and organizations complain about the unfairness of putting in the extra effort to recruit and retain members of color, resenting the fact that a quasi-quota system exists.

Racial discrimination exists on our campus. That being said, an important distinction for people to make is to understand the difference between implicit and explicit racism. Most PC students are not explicitly racist. However, something that needs to addressed is that implicit racism is just as serious, because students can have the best intentions, but still be racist. Something as small as the spreading or believing stereotypical jokes is an example of implicit racism. But, most of the time, what implicit racism involves is being a complacent bystander.

The students of color on this campus are in physical danger. Both male and female Friars of color have been attacked physically and verbally. However, despite these very real and present threats, the college continues to delay the release of an Official Action Plan to target the demands made by our Friar Family.

The goal of our diversity requirement here at PC is to make sure that students understand that the ramifications of hundreds of years of systematic, cyclical enslavement and segregation have not disappeared in the past 50 years. We cannot expect racism and prejudice that was built up over half a millennium to be alleviated in just a few decades. We need Moore Hall as a safe space multicultural center as a symbol that this college cares about more cultures than just those developed in the West. With this comes a change in the way we structure our DWC program. Slowly, instead of solely using Western Culture as the core curriculum and ethnic studies as electives, we need to rework the curriculum to reflect the diverse mixture of cultures throughout history. We need a VP of Inclusion and Diversity to be a tenured faculty member so that they can safely advocate for the needs of minority students, without risking his or her job. We need diversity training for faculty and students, so that when this next class of 2019 arrives, the most diverse class in PC history, they can learn and grow in a safe environment that isn’t afraid to address the sectional loyalties that divide us.

This is my plea to the students of Providence College: let our loyalties transcend race. We are the Friar Family. We care about each other. So, when some of our members are hurting, we stand up for each other. What does this look like?

It looks like Ithaca College. If Fr. Shanley continues to deny the Black Coalition a 10 year strategic plan, then as a family, we should be willing to walk out of our classes in silent protest. The safety of our Friar brothers and sisters is too important to not prioritize above all else.

It looks like what athletes did at Mizzou. Friar athletes, Coach Cooley: we’re looking at you for leadership. We need to make the administration at Providence College care about this issue as much as we do- and that might look like showing solidarity on their uniforms, or a statement from our nationally ranked program to get their attention.

Father Shanley, we’re looking at you. We’ve heard from the Black Studies Executive Committee, the Women’s Studies Executive Committee, and from the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs. Each has condemned the events of the past weekend, and have called the behavior what it was: racial discrimination. Your turn is long overdue. Now, not only do we want an email from you stating the college’s zero-tolerance policy for racial intolerance, injustice, and aggression against Providence College students and faculty, we also want the more comprehensive, systematic changes laid out for you in the demands of the Black Coalition.

You have a choice. Next year is the college’s centennial. We have the unique opportunity to take this incredible moment and make history: and be hailed in newspapers across the country as being a Catholic liberal-arts school who attacks 21st century issues of race head on. Or, you can choose to continue to focus on fundraising, while putting racial discrimination on this campus on the backburner. It’s no secret that your time at Providence College is coming to an end. The orchestra you’ve conducted for a decade has played some sweet tunes: a hockey National Championship, a basketball Big East Championship, Ruane, the new business center. But I promise you that your legacy, all that you have worked so hard to be remembered by, will mean nothing if you continue to be an implicitly racist leader.

By: Taylor Gibson ’17

Original Photo: Humans of Providence College: by Minggui Yactayo, Class of 2018

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Come Think With Us.

Whether you actually believe it or not, you have probably heard the phrase, “College will be the best years of your life” countless times from multiple people.

Maybe you’re reading this thinking that your college years have in fact been the best years of your life so far.

Or maybe, you’re reading this and you’re not sure if your college years have lived up to the expectations that you and the rest of society have set for them.

Or maybe, you were reminded of those words towards the end of your college career and feel like you have missed out on what should have been the best years of your life.

But maybe, your college years have been good but you think life has even better years in store for you.

Or maybe – you’re somewhere in between.

No matter where you fall on the debate that the ages of (roughly) 18-22 will be the “best years of your life” and no matter where you currently are in that stage (i.e. reading this as you are deciding on which college to enroll in or reading it as a college graduate thinking back on your college career), we can all agree on one sentiment about this time: College is a place where you will grow and transform and no matter your experience, you will come out of your four years a much different person.

Your college years will make you think and talk and act and see in many different ways. You’ll probably wear many different hats – from an intramural team member, to the kid that sits in front of me in class, to library buddy, to the neighbor down the hall on my floor, to the familiar face I always see on campus but never know if I should say hi to or not but we both know that we recognized each other. You will meet many different people. You will learn different theories and read many textbooks. You will become friends with different people and learn different things that you always wanted to. And you will become friends with people that you never thought you would meet and learn things that you never thought existed. These years will be different. And maybe these years will be very important to you. Or maybe they won’t be everything that you had hoped and imagined. But wherever you are and what you do during these “best years of your life”, you will learn more about yourself and the type of person that you want to be.

And I think that is exactly the point.

Friarside Chats is a forum which began in 2012 by student leaders on the campus of Providence College who wanted to investigate bigger questions and grapple with societal topics and their effects on the collegiate, local, and global level. These leaders were individuals who collaborated the use of their education, knowledge, informed opinions and an online blog space to create a free forum for ideas to be dissected and shared amongst their readers.

Sometime, these chats discussed the PC community suggesting ways that we as a community could grow together. Others wrote about controversial administrative decisions made on our campus. Other articles were written to talk about topics outside this campus. Articles were written about combating problematic societal norms and stereotypes that we can agree need to change. Sometimes they shared advice for the next generation of students on the campus that they have found as their home. The posts were very personal and touching,  sharing their stories, passions, and even reflections over their own college years. Regardless of topic, the common theme throughout all of the writing, reading, reflecting, and sharing of these articles, or “chats”, is that through thinking, we can discover many things.

College campuses are giant think tanks where many different types of people come to learn, think, collaborate, live, enjoy, invest and grow. And during this process, growing leads to discovery.

This is exactly what Friarside Chats has done, and it is exactly what we are hoping it will continue to do.

We, a group of current PC students, have been lucky enough to, in a way, “inherit” Friarside Chats from students who we looked up to as role models when we first got to campus our freshmen year. We still look up to these students. They left their mark on campus and on the next generation of PC students through their writing, collaborating, and discovering.

And now it is our turn.

Maybe college won’t be the best years of my life or maybe it will. But hopefully through this forum, I will be able to learn through engaging this dialogue now as an upperclassman.

So, let’s start this again. Let’s be a part of each other’s stories and discover things we didn’t know but can only learn together.

Come think with us.

Organizing and Acting for Justice

Andrew Konnerth ’17 & Taylor Gibson ’17
The last Monday of the 2014-2015 academic year seemed to be an ordinary sunny first day of finals week. The PC student body was migrating towards the classic IG photo spots to take pictures, and I was prepping my own camera for a community event on campus. I had been looking forward to this dialogue for some time; PC faculty and students had organized a peaceful rally in support for labor rights, specifically in the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Providence, as well as for racial equality here on campus. For some time, the hotel has violated the rights of their workers, spurring a series of boycotts to demand more humane working conditions. Within our own college community, there exists similar injustice in the form of racial profiling against persons of color. The hope of this rally was to continue the conversation on these issues and petition the college to act on a series of demands put forth by the key organizers.
Upon arrival to the iconic Harkins gate on River Ave, I realized very quickly that this was not something that I was going to photograph, export the pictures, and be done with it. One of the first things that I learned was that this rally is nothing new. In fact, just two short years ago, Providence students and faculty gathered in the same way to make very similar demands. The result of that petition came in the form of a new Anti-Racial Profiling statement issued by the college, along with some new training for PC Security.
However, these changes were not enough. Today, I heard the story of Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery, an Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Department Head of Black Studies. This morning, Dr. JZ heard that she received tenure. Typically, this is a cause for celebration and relief for professors. For Dr. JZ—it was only bittersweet.
In the past eight years she has worked at Providence College, Dr. Jordan-Zachery has been profiled by PC Security no less than seven times. Some of her white, male colleagues spoke up saying that they have been teaching here for over ten years and have never been stopped—only being given the “white wave.” Dr. JZ spoke about how people explain Security’s actions in a variety of ways: it’s the way she dresses or the car she drives. Jokingly, she pointed out that with her level of intelligence, she knows how to dress. She drives a car that’s a dime a dozen here at PC. The only thing that’s left, she said, is the color of her skin; the one thing she cannot control.
Faculty members are not the only ones that experience the profiling described by Dr. JZ. Graduating senior Bini Tsegaye also spoke out through his own experiences here. “I am tired and weary, those who are behind me and will come after me will go through this.” He spoke not just about one but several instances where his membership was questioned, every time making him feel less and less a part of the “Friar family.” In an encounter with another student, his place in Providence College was summed up in terms of “need” instead of “want,” referring to the idea that the school recruits to fulfill diversity quotas instead of choosing valued applicants to enrich the Friar community. If the concept of race is being utilized as an indicator of both enrollment and safety and security factors, than we must question the ethics and standards of our community.
That was what this rally was all about: the Providence College community is currently sending a message to people of color that they do not belong here. When students, such as Bini, were confronted by Security guards, they defended themselves by saying that they were just making sure that he wasn’t a “neighborhood kid.” As Matt Smith said in front of the crowd in the Ray circle this morning—he is a neighborhood kid. What PC is guilty of is systematic exclusion based on race. We dissociate from the neighborhood community because it is dangerous—this is a way of explaining away racism. We then allow our staff members, people in positions of authority, to protect this system. Students and faculty are the overwhelming majority of those stopped and questioned by Security, that much was made clear today.
We can understand that there is a call to address an injustice in our community: the persistence of racism. Whether we are affected by this in one way or another regardless of our skin color, we have a civic duty to protect the rights, values, and dignity of those we call our own. As Friars, we engage with the college’s mission in welcoming “qualified men and women of every background” based on their “God-given dignity, freedom, and equality.” If we are to uphold these morals, then we must act to change how we look at one another and how our school defines who we are. If race is a determining factor in opportunity and potential, then we must persist with what we began today: organizing and acting to achieve justice.

Never Lose Your Passion

Emily Kennedy ’15

When I came to Providence College as an eager 18-year-old, I was brimming with passion and the sense of possibility. The campus was filled with energy and excitement as 1,000 young, fresh minds arrived glossy-eyed and nervous, but ready to be inspired. Everything was new and we had nothing to lose. Our potential had yet to be molded. As my fellow classmates and I were ushered to the field for Play Fair, I saw a similar sense of passion and excitement for what we could do in the next four years and beyond. I met classmates who enjoyed history, had a passion for public service, wanted to change the education system, were interested in becoming a doctor, and were budding entrepreneurs.

Now four years later, when asked the question, “what are your post-grad job prospects?” I am increasingly aware of the common response, “I am working at Liberty Mutual, PWC, Deloitte” — or insert other prestigious Wall Street name. I hear about the aggressive recruiting from “Insight Global” and the promising accounting jobs at “Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd.”  But why does it seem that, like herded cattle, many of us are just following the crowd?

So what happened? Where did the history buff go? Or the girl who wanted to change education policy? Will that kid still start his own business? How have these bright, inspired, hopeful freshmen morphed from being driven by passion to being goaded into conformity along with thousands of other post-graduates?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the need to be practical, and finding a decent job after graduation is a massive accomplishment. I also know that some people really do have a passion for finance, or accounting or consulting. But I’m also not convinced that the volume of new grads the big recruiters hire is the best use of our talent and ambition. We were tossed in a sea of liberal arts education for a reason. We learned to think critically and reason practically. We understand the trajectory of Western Civilization and learned more than a little bit about ethics and theology.

Those are credentials too. The kind that make previous generations say we’re their hope and promise. Yet at every job fair I attended and every email I received from Career Education, I was invited in with a slick and well-worn marketing pitch. Few seniors have any idea how to get a job, let alone know what they want to pursue. But these companies are brilliant marketers. They know how to make us feel special. They personalize their emails and say they could really use our insight and creativity. Of course, how many of them really expect to tap our creativity? How many of them really think we’re special? We don’t know what we want, but apparently these companies know that we would be a good fit.

Maybe I’m too much of an idealist, but I think that most young, determined students want to make a positive impact on the world. We want to have a sense of purpose, to feel empowered. I know that kid who spent spring break traveling to rural Pennsylvania for Habitat for Humanity does. I know the girl who taught dance classes to little kids over the weekend does. Even the guy who spent his evenings tutoring English to employees on our campus does. Providence College students are driven to do good things. We can do anything. There is so much more out there than crunching numbers and spreadsheets to make more money for those with the most. If that’s what you love, I’m glad that you love it because the world needs you. But if your first job out of college is not your dream pursuit, please don’t let go. Do not forget the creative energy, the innovative spirit, and the carefree excitement that you brought to PC when you became a Friar four years ago. And remember, more than anything, never lose your passion.

Remembering Francis Smith

The Friarside Chats team and community offers its love and prayers to Matthew Henry Smith and his family. Matthew’s father, Francis Smith, died Tuesday morning. Mr. Smith was a devoted father and Smith Hill community leader. He was a friend and neighbor of Providence College. Read more about Francis’ life and legacy.

Please consider making a donation to the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation in Mr. Smith’s honor.

Smith Hill Community Development Corporation, 231 Douglas Ave., Providence, 02908.

The Thing About New Years’ Resolutions

DefaultUncroppedMegan Grammatico, ’15

Full disclosure: I spent the two weeks after New Years’ groaning about the amount of people at the gym. To be fair, it was always packed. Not college-kids-home-from break sort of packed, but the “every New Years Resolutioner that vowed to get healthy in the New Year descended on my tiny YMCA gym” kind of packed that ultimately convinced me to run (read: freeze and give up) outside rather than wait for a treadmill. As I was leaving, the woman working the desk said to me “just give it a week, and they’ll all be gone.” I laughed a little and left, but the comment made me think about New Years Resolutions in general, and how easy it is to get sucked into a mentality that is both unsustainable and unhealthy.

First of all, let me be entirely clear that if your resolution is to get healthy this New Year, good for you! Take up all the space at the gym that you need—a commitment, new or old, to fitness and health is something we should encourage and admire; not groan because there’s a tiny wait for a treadmill. With that said, if your anything like me, your list of New Years Resolutions can easily start to look like a “Things I’m Going to do in 2015 to Be The Perfect Person” list. When I went back on my computer to look at mine after leaving the gym, I actually laughed out loud. It was an entire page long, broken down into sections and sub-sections: academics, fitness, professional goals, and books to read. It was ridiculous, and it would have failed miserably. Despite my best efforts to resist, I had once again gotten sucked into the allure of doing everything perfectly. It’s a temptation that us first-born perfectionists have to be particularly on guard against—tying your identity to your achievements pretty much always ends badly.

So, rather than having a crazy list of resolutions that involve Doing All The Things and Being All The Things, I decided I would take a different approach this year. Rather than an obsessive list of goals and rules and obligations to meet, I decided to make a list of things I’m not going to try harder on in 2015. For me, this is about giving myself permission to be imperfect, permission to slow down, and permission to let some things just fall by the wayside. And so, I give you, Friarside readers, my 2015 anti-New Years Resolutions:

Things I am Not Going to Try Harder on in 2015:

  1. Being on time. Five minutes has never changed anything (except maybe brain surgery, and that’s not exactly on my list of daily activities). If the Dunkin line is going to make me 3 minutes late for class, so be it. One of my favorite things about living abroad was learning that an obsession with punctuality is more of an American cultural phenomenon than anything else. It’s just not something I’m going to worry about this year.
  1. Trying to make Not My People happy. There are important people in my life: family, close friends, roommates—they matter, and I will try as hard as I can to make their lives easier and happier. Everyone else? Not something I can control, so I refuse to worry about it.
  1. Counting carbs/calories/any number that has to do with food. If I can eat reasonably healthy, most of the time, that’s good enough for me. Brownies are good for your soul. And don’t dare try to tell me the amount of calories in Panera mac’n’cheese. Ignorance is cheesy, delicious, not-good-for-my-lactose-intolerance bliss.

That’s it. Those are my resolutions for 2015. Try it: go ahead and cross out any ridiculous resolution that you’ll abandon by mid-February. We don’t need to manufacture failure—real life does that well enough on its own.

Ms. Cleary’s Classroom

mhagandefaultchristmasMichael Hagan ’15

Ms. Cleary took a long due breath
As the children ran out to play.
At last the recess bell had rung
On that mid-December day.

But timid footsteps Ms. Cleary heard
A few yards behind her back.
“Ms. Cleary” spoke a nervous voice
The voice belonged to Jack.

Now you all have met a Jack, I’m sure.
Maybe you yourself were one.
No difference did the child see
In the meanings of mischief and fun

Just Tuesday Jack had poured his glue
On little Chelsea’s chair.
October’s prank of similar sort
Had cost poor Billy some hair.

Even Ms. Cleary was wary of Jack,
What tricks he might have up his sleeve.
She looked at him sternly as firmly she asked,
“Yes, Jack. What do you need?”

“That story you read about Santa,” said Jack,
As nervously nearer he drew,
“Ms. Cleary, I need you to tell me, please,
Is it… how can it be true?

I read, Ms. Cleary, I read a lot.
I read in a book last week;
There’s billions of people alive in the world,
Too many to count or meet.

How do they all get presents from Santa?
How does he not forget some?
And also, Ms. Cleary, my cousin Jake says…
Says believing in Santa is dumb.”

That mischievous smirk that Jack always wore
Was gone, and tears on their way.
She knew to put a hand on his shoulder,
But knew not what to say.

She took a seat on the classroom rug
Bidding him sit as well.
Struck, she was, for never’d she seen
In a child so much of herself.

Remembering well a winter’s day
Some twenty years before,
Ms. Cleary recalled what she was taught
On Ms. Webster’s classroom floor.

“You are right, Jack,” Ms. Cleary said,
“It seems like it just can’t be true.
But it is,” she began to explain to the boy
Not a lie, but the truth that she knew.

“There is a Santa Claus,” she said,
“I know that it’s hard to believe,
But I’ve met him myself, I’ll never forget,”
She said lifting her hand from his sleeve.

“I wasn’t much older than you are now,
When I began to doubt.
But I met him, Jack, and that’s when I learned
What Santa is all about.

Now I don’t mean the man in red at the mall
You’re a smart boy; he’s just an act
I mean the real Santa, I met the real thing,
And I promise that you will too, Jack.

One day, maybe soon, you’ll meet Santa Claus
He may not look like you’ve heard.
But Jack, he’s real, like you and me
And when you meet him you’ll learn.

We don’t have to rush, the time will come
For you to meet Santa Claus,
But if you could today, what would you say
To him?” She asked and paused.

“I’d say,” the child began to speak,
“I’d say thank-you. Thank you a bunch!
What can I do to repay Santa Claus
When I meet him? He’s given so much!”

“Exactly,” spoke Ms. Cleary, “Nothing,
And Jack, that’s just it.
Can’t thank him enough; you can’t pay him back.
You can only accept the gift.

But part of that gift is a lesson, Jack
To remember as long as you live.
Expecting nothing in return
He teaches us to give.

There’s another part you’ll just have to learn
More than the rest, it’s true.
The most wonderful part of meeting Santa
Is learning how much he loves you.

You’re more like Santa than you think,
One day you’ll make miracles too.”
The two walked to the door, Jack’s grin lit up.
Like a bolt to the playground he flew.

A very merry Christmas and blessed New Year to you and your families. “God bless us, everyone.”

Attention Seniors: Stop Freaking Out!

Guest Chat – Submitted 12/15/14

Dan Hogan ’13

It’s that time of the year again at Providence College where stockings hang over the fireplace in Slavin, a tree sits in the middle of the Great Hall in Ruane, Ray has holiday decorations making it seem a little less dismal, and the student body is freaking out about finals. As I’m standing in line at Dunkin waiting to get my first coffee for the day this reality is all too clear. It becomes even clearer as I overhear two seniors discussing their plans for the future, essentially freaking out waiting for Armageddon, aka Graduation Day. Yes, it’s the time for people to freak out about being one semester closer to graduation and for the senior class this is all too real. Seniors have one more semester left until they leave the PC bubble and enter into the real world. They have one more semester to “live it up” before total responsibility hits them in the face. They have one more semester to be able to go out on a weeknight and be able to still function the next day. They have one more semester to see and live with their best friends every day. In essence, they have one more semester until life ends, as they know it!

Well 2015, I have a message for you, STOP FREAKING OUT!!!!! Yes, it’s true come May you’re lives, as you know it are going to change. The people you met at Freshmen Orientation or walking around your floor are not going to be the next room over or two houses down. You won’t be able to put off a paper until the last minute and be able to easily get an A-. You won’t be able to go out four nights a week and still be able to function the next day. However, this does not mean life ends. In fact, it is only the beginning. Yes, I know it is a scary time for most of you not knowing what you are going to do after receiving your diploma while many of your friends may have jobs or internships already lined up. Yes, I know it is daunting for those of you who do have a job who may have to move to a place where you do not know anyone else. Yes, I know you do not want to leave your roommates or friends and want to spend as much time with them as possible. However, it is okay.

As Bob Marley once said, “Don’t worry about a thing,’Cause every little thing gonna be alright.” He speaks the truth. Throughout your first year out in the “real world”, you will experience many different emotions. You will be excited to be making money. You will be sad come September when you see people heading back to PC for another semester. You will be frustrated with your job or living with my parents and still be asking the question “What am I doing with my life?” You will step onto campus for Fake Alumni and Alumni Weekends wishing you could stay and wanting to tell the freshmen to go back to high school.

Your first year out of school will be one of the biggest learning experiences in your life and you will grow more in this year than any of your four years in Friartown. You will meet new people and keep in touch with the friends you want to keep in touch with. You will start thinking about going back to grad school to pursue a new career path or new opportunities within your company. You will want to travel and see new places you have never seen before because your responsibilities are still minimal. You can still go out and have a good time, but you won’t feel like going to a place with loud music, tons of people, where you drink out of a plastic cup every weekend.

So if you are freaking out about your life after college, relax. You have your entire life to ask, “What do I want to do?” Enjoy the present and have fun. Don’t stress too much. God Bless and Go Friars!

Remembering Siobhán Ross

Ross-siobhan-WEB

“…She was a petite woman who drove motorcycles and loved adventure cycling. Her accent — she would speak about a cup of ‘cawfee’ — did not even hint at her love of English soccer and rugby, he said. And she insisted on riding her scooter, a Buddy International Saint Tropez 150, to work, whatever the weather.

‘She would always look for new things to try out to help the faculty be better teachers, to help the staff use the tools we have, and to foster student creativity,’ said Hauerwas. ‘But she always kept the focus on the people who were using that technology — supporting them, and making them feel capable and better about themselves whenever they had a problem with something. That was magic.'”  Read the full obituary at PC News

A memorial Mass will be celebrated in St. Dominic Chapel at Providence College on Friday, Dec. 5, at 11:35 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation in Siobhán’s name to the Providence Animal Rescue League

“Someday” is Right Now


DefaultUncroppedMegan Grammatico ’15

I had a very thought-provoking conversation with a sophomore that I was working with in the Writing Center a few days ago. She was stressing about her study abroad application, due in a few short weeks, and she asked me if I had gone abroad. When I told her that I had spent some of the best months of my junior year (and my life, if we’re being honest) in Copenhagen, Denmark, her face fell a little. “Everyone keeps SAYING that,” she said, almost exasperatedly. “But there’s so much to worry about here—I’ll just travel someday when I’m older. I have to plan my classes and make my double major work and study for the LSAT and and and…” I listened, and nodded empathetically, and told her I understood, because I did. That girl, the freaked out one that has her life planned for the next five years, that makes a schedule broken down by hour because it’s the only way she can be absolutely sure not to drop any of the million-and-one-balls she has in the air at any given time—she was me. She was me, and she was stressed out and unhappy and so worried about planning her life that she was forgetting to actually live it. I wish I had had time to explain to her what living abroad had meant for me, how much it changed me, but the appointment ended, and I mumbled some tired cliché about seizing opportunities that present themselves, and we both headed off to the next thing on our to-do lists.

I thought about this girl all day, and all of the things that I wished I had said to her. I wish I had told her about the jumble of excitement and terror you feel when you wave goodbye to your sobbing mom and cheerfully waving dad at the airport gate. I wish I had told her about the feeling on that first morning, when you wake up confused because it’s five a.m and you’ve never woken up so early on your own and the snow is swirling outside and you’re so out of your element, out of your comfort zone, that you want to crawl back in bed for the day but the excited part of you insists on waking up, on getting started. I wish I had told her about buying a bike from a random Swiss graduate student, and learning to ride said bike in downtown Copenhagen traffic. I wish I had told her about the incredible friends you make; the visiting family parents that start to feel like your own parents, only better because they always seem to be refilling your wine glass. I wish so much that I had told her how empowering it is to plan a trip to a place you’ve only read about in books, to budget and figure out details and logistics and landmarks, only to wind up winging it, asking strangers for directions in badly accented French that you sort of remember from middle school, and sleeping on the floor of a one room flat with some of the best friends you’ll ever have. I wish I could have told her that map-reading is actually a pretty valuable life skill, that Wi-Fi is never to be taken for granted, that you absolutely can wear the exact same thing you wore yesterday, just as long as you change your scarf. I wish I had told her that you should do one thing every single day that terrifies you, even if it is jumping in the frozen ocean in the middle of February because that’s what the local people do.

On the plane ride home from Copenhagen, I read a quote that stuck with me. Terry Pratchett, the author of A Hat Full of Sky, says:

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving”

Pratchett is right. Though I don’t live in Copenhagen anymore, and I don’t spend my weekends and exploring Europe, I try, everyday, to live the way that I did when I was all of those places. I think that you should try it too. Stop planning every second of everyday. Stop to notice sunsets, and resist the urge to Instagram them. Linger over meals to talk a little bit longer with people that love you. Do something scary, or do something brave, or do something you’ve always wanted to do but could never quite find the time. I can’t tell you what those things are. They’re different for everyone.

Most of all, most importantly, stop living for someday. We all do it; the conversation in our heads usually goes a little something like this “I’ll be happy once finals are over, or I finish this paper, or once I find a job for next year, or get accepted to graduate school or finally meet someone I really like—then I’ll have time to be happy”. Though I could have told the girl in the Writing Center hours of stories about the joys of living abroad, what I really wish I had told her is this: “someday” is right now. “Someday” is happening this very minute, not tomorrow or next week or next year. “Someday” is very quickly going to become yesterday, and what you can do right now is make sure it’s worth remembering.