All Good Things Must Come to an End

“Every day, each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments—we hear a word that sticks in our mind—or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out of ourselves, if only briefly. And if we were to collect these small moments and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection—certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us all along. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether; one we didn’t even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real—this clunky day-to-day world. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.” ― Douglas Coupland

This quote seems to sum up my experiences at Walsh University perfectly. As I try to think of all of the small moments that have made up my experience here, I realize that it would be nearly impossible to name them all, and yet each one has helped to shape me into the person that I am now, four years in the making.

I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to attend this university, and the things that I have learned personally and professionally are truly beyond comprehension. I have grown in so many ways, and my experiences here have undoubtedly given me all of the tools necessary to be successful in this crazy world.

A piece of my heart will always be here at Walsh. I know that I will always feel like it is my second home. I intend to give back to this community as much as possible throughout my life, in whatever way I can. I want to wish everyone who is here at Walsh already the best of luck as they finish up their college career, and I encourage each of you to enjoy every moment – yes that includes every test, every late night study session, every seemingly stressful thing, because trust me, you will come to miss it when those things are a part of your past.

For those of you who may be considering to come to Walsh, I encourage you to come and see for yourself all of the wonderful things that Walsh University has to offer you. It is a wonderful place, full of endless love, support, and opportunity.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my blogs over the past few years, and who has taken the time to listen to my stories, my contemplations, and my small “moments” like the ones mentioned in the quote that I began with today. Here is to the wonderful place that allowed me to achieve all that I could have hoped for and more, and here is to every small moment that I hope you will come to find in your lives too!

-Emily Ohman
(Soon to be GRADUATE of Walsh University!)

Thursday, April 24th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

I’m Sure Gonna Miss This Place!

As the semester comes to an end (and it is coming to an end SO quickly it seems, with only two weeks left in the semester), I am of course getting more and more anxious about graduation. I was walking across campus last week, and I began to feel nostalgic, as I was realizing that these next few weeks will mark the last times I will walk on Walsh campus as a student, rather than the alumnus that I will soon be.

In my contemplations of campus, and of my four years at Walsh, I began to think of all the things that I will miss the most about Walsh. There are about one hundred little things I could think of, but I have tried to narrow it down to the top ten. So, here you go, with as much bittersweet excitement as sadness in my heart, the top ten things that I will miss the most about Walsh University.

10. Volunteering and making a difference as often as possible.Though it is always possible to volunteer and get involved, Walsh has truly made volunteering not only easy, but fun too! There was always an opportunity to give back, whether it was through the MLK day of service, through Habitat for Humanity, through service learning courses, through Project Homeless, or through volunteering at local nursing homes, the spirit of volunteering and giving of oneself in service to others is always alive at Walsh. It is such a joy to look back, knowing that I have been able to make a difference, in big and small ways both locally and globally, thanks to the encouragement of those at Walsh, and thanks to the many opportunities that I was always given to uphold the mission and purpose of our fine university.

9. Hiding away in the library to prepare for big exams and presentations. Even though certain times of the year felt so stressful, especially when there were countless projects, papers, assignments, and reading to be done, there was always a place that I felt comfortable and even dare I say confident, that I would complete all of my work on time and do it to the best of my abilities. The library was truly my safe-haven, and I would regularly find myself lost in the hidden spaces of the library, doing some of my best thinking, and being more productive than I could be anywhere else. I have many fond memories of my “hiding places” in the library, and I know that I did some of my best work because of it’s solitude, it’s quiet, and it’s comfortable atmosphere. I am going to miss having the chance to be a bookworm as often as I want, I could not have gotten through college without my little getaway at the Walsh Library, that’s for sure.

8. Late night breakfast during finals week(s). A favorite to all Walsh students, and something that makes our university unique is the way that our students are supported during finals week each and every semester. The university funds a “late night breakfast” each finals week, taking place around 10:00pm in the middle of finals week. During this time, the professors stay late to help serve the meal, and they do their best to make sure that students take a much needed break from studying and have some food to nourish them to continue fighting their way through finals week, and to appreciate the successes that will come with the conclusion of finals. It is such a wonderful tradition, and something I always look forward to. I will miss this type of support and kindness shown by the faculty for each and every student on campus.

7. Attending all sporting events, UPB events, and awareness activities. You would never know that Walsh was a smaller, private school, for how much there is to do on campus ALL THE TIME! Thanks to the sports teams, UPB, and a variety of other organizations on campus, the activities are endless and always entertaining. The basketball, baseball, soccer, and football games were always a fun time, as we had students paint their faces (and their bodies), bring larger than life cut outs of the players, and of course cheer as loudly as possible for our Cavs (most especially when we were beating Malone!). In addition, every Spring Formal Dance, concert, Improv show, Game Room Challenge, and Saturday Night’s Live event was fun and unique and gave me as well as all other students the chance to interact with one another and just have a wonderful time at school! I will miss these many opportunities and all of the good times that were had over the last four years, and I thank everyone involved in the planning of these events for making my time so great.

6. The kind people that work in all departments on campus. No matter where you are on campus, Campus Ministry, Financial Aide, the cafeteria, the Intermural Sports Office, the Cavalier Café, and yes even the President’s office, every single person was kind, inviting, helpful, and truly upheld the Walsh University Mission in everything they did throughout their job and in completing their responsibilities. I have always felt welcomed, and I appreciate every single person who has helped me, served me, worked with me, and assisted me in my time at Walsh, I will miss each and every person.

5. Seeing the Brothers of Christian Instruction as shining examples of how to live a good life. Hearing the story of Walsh from its beginning is always entertaining and impactful, but having the opportunity to see some of the brothers on our campus each and every day, helps the story truly come to life before our eyes. The two brothers that still live on campus are wonderful examples of everything our university stands for, and I am so blessed to have had the chance to meet them, know them, and learn from them. I will be forever grateful for all of the things they have helped me to achieve, and I will never forget them.

4. Going to mass every Sunday with my closest friends. I have grown more than I could explain in my faith life and spiritual wellness during my time at Walsh. The individuals that we meet on campus help to make your spiritual growth and development a top priority alongside your academic development while at Walsh University. Most especially Fr. Anselm, our University Chaplain, has helped to make church wonderful, exciting, and truly something to look forward to. He has taught me and all other students on campus so much, and he, along with all of the campus ministry staff, will be greatly missed.

3. The beautiful walk across campus no matter what the season. Walsh may be a small campus (which is especially convenient when you are running late for class and can get to any point on campus in less than ten minutes), but it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth to me. In the fall it is adorned with beautiful trees with leaves every color of fall, in the winter, the campus truly becomes a wonderland of snow, and in the spring, the green grass and the red and yellow tulips make the campus more picturesque than ever before! There is not a day that goes by that I am not in awe of my little campus, and I hope to continue to take as many mental pictures as possible so that I never lose the vision of beauty that campus is and always has been for me. I will truly miss seeing it every day as I wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.

2. Saying hello to everyone as you walk to and from class, and the smiles on everyone’s faces Walsh is one of the most friendly places in the world if you ask me, and I will always miss walking across campus and seeing the friendly faces of my friends, my peers, and my professors as I walk from place to place. I have always felt like I belong here, and having the friendly atmosphere between all people on campus has been so wonderful to me. Even professors and people that I have met once or twice will give you a smile and say hello, truly taking the time to ask how you are doing, and how your day has been. It is that human connection that makes Walsh so special, and it is this genuine caring that I will miss the most about leaving.

1. Walsh as my home away from home. I know I have said it time and time again, but Walsh University has truly become my second home. I remember the first time I called my parents after moving into campus and telling them that I was “headed home”. My mom was surprised and said “Oh! I didn’t know you were coming back to Rootstown today!” and I was quiet before I responded “No mom, I mean I am going to Walsh!” From that day forward, I have continued to call Walsh my home. I have always felt like more than a student, more than a number, I have been and will always be a part of the Walsh family. I am grateful for everyone I have met, every experience I have had, and all of the ways I have grown thanks to this truly amazing place. I am so excited to graduate, but not ready to leave!

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop” -Mother Teresa

Sunday, April 20th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Headed for A Holy Week

Well, ’tis the week of the draft and Super bowl for Catholics! Yep, you guessed by the title,  it’s Holy Week! Unfortunately, Walsh is unable to celebrate holy week in its entirety because we are an extension of the St. Paul’s parish, so the diocese of Youngstown likes to see people go to their parishes, rather than to Walsh.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that it was Holy Week already. For some reason, this past Sunday, I was really in tune to the Mass. It was unique to be serving and be able to listen to Matthew’s account of the Passion of Jesus Christ. It’s interesting because it is the only Gospel story that you will hear twice in a week (if you go to mass on Good Friday). Instead of one reader, there are essentially 4 readers; the priest portrays Jesus, one reader is the narrator, another portrays a main character, and the congregation plays the crowd. I was keenly aware of the dynamic this year. Instead of the usual Gospel which the priest or deacon reads, you get a real “scene” per say, because the different voices engage the congregation further into the story line, which is very deep.

I was reading the Pope Francis’s comments on the Gospel and I found them very fruitful. He points out that just as Jesus’ apostles fell asleep while Jesus was praying, so do we fall asleep spiritually, also known as sloth. St. Thomas Aquinas calls sloth, “sorrowing at the spiritual good”. In other words, we become lazy or indifferent to awesome things that God sets before us. And we just “yawn” at them. Also, the Pope points out that just as the disciples fled the “scene of the crime” when Jesus was arrested, so do we hide from situations which call us to be courageous in the name of faith. I thought that the Pope’s comments were good for “munchin” on a bit in contemplation. If you would like to read the article, follow this link: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/04/14/full-text-pope-franciss-palm-sunday-mass-homily/

Hope that this Holy Week is fruitful for everyone!

Monday, April 14th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Back to the Roots of Walsh University

It is always amazing to take the time to hear about the story of Walsh’s founding. How the campus has grown from nothing but a field with one building to the larger and more well known campus that it is today, with nearly three thousand students is nothing short of amazing, especially in a little over fifty years. Much of the history of this campus, came from the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who founded our university, and who still have a presence on our campus to this day. These brothers are living history and have defined our university’s mission and vision from the very beginning and still today.

The past two years, there has been an organized trip of faculty and students that travel up to Alfred, Maine where many of the Brothers of Christian Instruction reside. They go at the beginning of the summer for a week to live in community with the brothers, learning from them and their experiences all while providing service for the brothers by helping to clean, organize, and remodel the campus on which they live as needed. This year is no exception, as a group of around twenty students will be attending the trip this May! I am so pleased to say that I will be a part of the group, and I know it is going to be such a wonderful experience.

While there, we will help the brothers to complete outdoor work, painting, remodeling, organizing and spring cleaning, but we will in fact be doing so much more than that. We will be providing the brothers with fellowship and community and we will have the chance to learn so much from the brothers as well. We will participate in daily prayer, Sunday mass, and all meal times with the brothers, and we will have the opportunity to learn firsthand more about Walsh, and how it has grown and changed from it’s beginnings.

This trip is so important to me, as a soon to be graduate of Walsh University. I am so blessed with this opportunity to know more about this wonderful place that has done so much for me over the past four years. I know that it will be the perfect way for me to end my time at Walsh, because I am already so proud of everything this campus is and everything it stands for. I cannot wait to give back to the men who have unknowingly played such an important part in the person I have become through my experiences at Walsh University. May 7th can’t get here soon enough!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” – John F. Kennedy

Monday, April 14th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Going “Trayless”

Walsh, with the help and support of Student Government and the group called Walsh for Justice and Peace, has recently begun a new initiative on campus in order to conserve water, reduce waste, and ultimately help the environment in one small way – going trayless in the cafeteria! This idea arose at the beginning of this academic year when it was proposed to student government by a group of concerned Walsh students, and was then voted on by the various club representatives on campus. Ultimately the recommendation was passed, as the student government approved the movement for the 2014-2015 school year.

This week marked the “trial period” of the Go Trayless movement in the Walsh cafeteria, and it has come, of course, with its share of controversy. The students in favor of the decision have explained their reasoning through the use of various facts and figures that support the positive impact it will have on campus. These include: “eliminating up to 30% of food waste” and “saving a significant amount of water (1/3 to ½ gallon a tray)”. In addition the group mentions the importance of Walsh giving in service to the community by always working to make our community and world a better place throughout our actions. Finally “by going trayless in the Schervish Dining Centre, Walsh University can serve as a model of sustainability to other rival institutions. In fact, many colleges and universities have already gone trayless.” These include: Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, West Virginia University, and Malone University to name a few.

On the opposing side, those who do not agree with the movement have said that it creates more mess in the cafeteria, without the trays to pick up the excess, it is an inconvenience, as often students need to go back multiple times in order to move plates and cups to their table, and also argue that there is too much money that needs to be spent on changing the conveyor belt in the cafeteria to accommodate a lack of trays.

The initiative was in its “trial run” phase this week, as students practiced and experienced what it was like to go trayless in the cafeteria. The emotions and opinions were mixed, but nonetheless, the week ended in a success as the cafeteria ran without a hitch this week, despite not having trays to use. It is difficult to say, overall, what the outcome will be, although the plan is to maintain the Walsh cafeteria as “trayless” for the forseeable future.

Change is often difficult, and must be initiated gradually in order to be successful. There is always an uncomfortable transition period to anything that is new or unfamiliar, and I am sure that the new “trayless” initiative is no exception. It is truly inspiring, however, to note that a group of concerned Walsh students are stepping up and attempting to make a difference on our campus, in our community, and ultimately for our world. I hope that the transition will continue, and will eventually become more and more smooth, because there is truly no act too small when it comes to conservation that will ultimately make an impact far larger than we could possibly see.

“Never doubt that a small group of caring people can change the world, indeed that’s all who ever have” -Margaret Mead

Friday, April 11th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Give ‘Em Soemthing to Talk About

Hello All! It has been quite a busy week, and my long weekend certainly didn’t help this week either. Though I have not been on campus much due to my student teaching experience, I have been around enough to be well aware of the latest drama. And I am happy to say that I may have played a small hand in that drama. And it has indeed given the campus something to talk about.

This week has been designated as “tray less week”. A few “environmentalists” around campus have proposed the idea of dismissing the use of trays in the cafeteria in order to conserve water and promote a more conservative amount of  food consumption. It’s been something that has been building in student government since last semester, and with strong persistence. Though there was a lot of tug and pull, an allocation was passed to allow a “test run” and further investigation of the topic.

Well, with the amount of chaos this week-long “fast” has caused, you would’ve thought that they took away the plates, too! As an outside supporter to the movement, I truly believe that the chaos is awesome. To me, as a Catholic Institution, it seems that our purpose would be to challenge the students; Encourage them to wrestle with the truth, ideas, and new ways to live life. So, although I have a set mindset of what I believe should be done, I like that it has caused such a stir and there are opposing viewpoints. People’s minds and hearts are at work!

Tonight, there is a Student Government meeting in which the student body has been invited to come to. Out of curiosity, I am going to go to the meeting tonight to see what happens. Looking at the big picture, this type of action is a great time to come together and talk things out in a civil way. Even more, it is an opportunity to think about realities that are going on in various places in the world, and may become even more pertinent someday, in our own lives!

Two of the hardest things for people to do are to change and admit that they were wrong. I think it’s safe to say that this past week, there were a lot of students that were challenged to do both!

Thursday, April 10th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Servant Leadership Banquet 2014

Thanks to the Brothers of Christian Instruction who founded our university, Walsh is dedicated to the principle of leading by giving of yourself in service to others. The brothers exemplified this through their dedication to founding this university as well as their outreach to those in need through their word and through their action.

This quality of servant leadership, exemplified through the brothers is respected, carried on, and recognized each year through the servant leadership banquet held during the spring semester. Today was the annual date, and it was a wonderful event as always, recognizing those students that go above and beyond in their classroom, but especially beyond the academic aspect of college and into their activities and volunteer participation both on and off campus.

Many scholarships are awarded throughout the event, and various other recognitions are awarded to students. Two of my favorite awards, however, are the Mentor of the Year Award to recognize an outstanding educator who also serves as a mentor and role model for all students on campus, and also the TOWER award, which is the highest award a senior student can receive in their time at Walsh, given to an individual who exemplifies the Walsh mission in their day to day life.

The Mentor of the Year award for 2014 was given to Fr. Anselm Zupka, the chaplain here on campus, and it was so well deserved. I was so happy to see such a wonderful individual who continually gives of himself to others in all that he does, win this prestigious award. One thing about Father that always reminds me of his dedication to others is the way he always reaches out to anyone and everyone in the cafeteria at Walsh. For example, he will go and sit one day with the baseball team, and another day with a table of freshmen, and still another day with that person who is sitting at a table all alone. He reaches out to others regardless of that person’s reputation, interests, or beliefs and he takes the time to get to know them, and to make them an important part of his day. Father is truly an asset and a blessing to our campus, and I couldn’t be happier at his accomplishment tonight.

The TOWER award is also important to the senior class, as it is given to one outstanding senior each year. I was blessed to be nominate not only for the top 15 in my class, but also for the top 5 overall! It was a very exciting afternoon as we all were able to share our various accomplishments, recognitions, and opportunities throughout our college careers. In the end, Kelley Manning, a wonderful friend of mine won this most prestigious award. I am so happy for her, and I couldn’t possibly think of someone more giving, more caring, or more deserving of this today.

I count myself as blessed for having the opportunity to be counted within the top five of my senior class, and to take a moment to be recognized for what I have been able to accomplish, but I think there is more to it than that, for me. I think that each one of us deserves that moment of recognition, for all the little things we do each day. Because really, when you stop and think about it, the world is a better place because of each random act of kindness, each smile, each positive word, and each moment of support offered from one person to another.

In the end, all that we do, we don’t really do for the recognition at all, and I think that is the beauty of what it means to be a servant leader. We continue to give, regardless of award or recognition, because it is simply the right thing to do, and in essence, the only thing to do to help us all lead a happier life. May we all take the time to serve others in all that we do, put others first, and recognize that each act, noticed or unnoticed makes a very real difference in our world, each and every day.

“Speak the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words” – St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, April 6th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Carpe Diem!

This weekend I will be participating in the first ever Carpe Diem retreat on campus. It is the first retreat at Walsh focused specifically on bridging the gap between high school and college by inviting high school students to participate in the retreat run completely by Walsh University students.

Carpe Diem is designed to educate high school students about issues surrounding hunger in the community while also strengthening retreatants in their faith and in their mission to make a difference in the world around them. The retreat will consist of speakers, activities, videos, and discussion about what hunger is, and how the issue of hunger is real not only in other countries in the world, but also within our own immediate community. But here’s the catch, the retreat is also an opportunity to experience hunger firsthand as we will all be fasting for twenty four hours.

Roughly twenty high school students will be participating in the retreat, and it will be organized and run by Walsh students ranging from freshmen to seniors. It will take place in the David Center on Campus, and will conclude on Sunday. Sunday morning, the students will serve breakfast to some of the local individuals involved in hunger relief efforts in the community, and these organizations will spend time sharing information about what they do to volunteer and what they do to combat hunger head on.

The fast will be broken on Sunday with the Eucharist at mass and the lunch to follow. It will without a doubt be a powerful weekend to experience hunger, serve others, and get involved in relief efforts, one person and one day at a time. The motto for the retreat is “Did you know that 24 hours can change lives?” and indeed hopefully all students will have the chance to see the difference they can make one small act at a time. Carpe Diem…seize the day!

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin” ― Mother Teresa

Friday, April 4th, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

Ruff and Buff

One of my dear passions in life is agriculture. When I tell people this, they usually give me a strange look. Hey, what can I say? Even my own family thinks that I am a little strange. Well, that’s even before you factor in that I enjoy farming. Anyways, it has always been something that has intrigued me. I really got me first taste in it when I was a young boy. I would run out to the field behind my house and watch in amazement as the farmer and his tractor would be putting in some serious work. Amazingly, this fascination has never left me.

This summer, I am actually heading out to the Midwest to go on a wheat harvest run! So, I will be able to fulfill my childhood dream of driving a combine! I will be traveling to the following states: Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota. Quite the adventure! I am really excited for it, but I am also very nervous. Hopefully the Lord blesses me with good health and few mistakes!

Today, I met up with my friend Andrew to talk about agriculture on a much smaller scale. One of my aspirations is to get the Catholic Church involved in localized agriculture as a healthy means to raise funds, and to get the ‘church’ out in the community. He shares a similar interest in gardening, so we discussed the idea of growing a decent sized garden at a local parish. It looks good on paper, but we will have to see if we will be granted permission to use the garden, and then take it from there.

Towards the end of the discussion, we started talking about his personal life. Andrew is someone that I truly admire, because he is like the title says, ruff and buff. He is only a year older than I am, but he has already worked more jobs than my parents ever have, and has lived in more places than even the most traveled man. He is very positive about his life, which I truly admire, considering all the diversity. From my perspective, I would just like to see him get some stability in his life so that he can get ahead. Though he no longer attends Walsh, he is around quite a bit because his girlfriend lives on campus. Though his results might not portray it, Andrew has gained a lot of knowledge and character from his experiences. My prayer is that he can put it all together and find some solid ground to place his feet on. As of right now, he is resting his head on Walsh’s shoulders (figuratively speaking). What school would do that for someone that isn’t even enrolled anymore? That is a testament to Walsh’s integrity and mission.

Goodnight everyone!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »

One Exciting Weekend!

This weekend was full of excitement, as Walsh University hosted a country concert featuring Josh Gracin on Friday night, and the annual Spring Formal dance on Saturday evening. Both were major events for campus, and there was certainly no dull moments to be had with these awesome events.

The Josh Gracin concert was hosted by the University Programming Board (UPB) and was held in Alumni Arena on Friday. The place looked great, set up with a stage and enough room to rock out to the country concert that we had been looking forward to all semester. Complete with cowboy hats, plaid shirts, and boots, the campus was dressed up and ready to go long before the concert actually started on Friday. Seeing the tour bus parked in front of the PE Building was especially exciting, and had all of campus buzzing about the event to come. It was great too because the cost was free to all Walsh students, and only $5 for those who came from off campus to attend. This is surely an event that will not be soon forgotten as Josh Gracin threw his drumsticks into the crowd and jumped down off stage to sing side by side our students.

Spring Formal was also a great event this weekend. The theme for this year was “The Great Gatsby” and everyone who attended certainly dressed the part. Many of the girls looked like they came straight from the era with the appropriate clothing and accessories to match. It is always a fun evening to celebrate the semester coming to an end, enjoy good food and good friends, and above all dance like no one’s watching and have some good old-fashioned fun! This event was also put on by UPB, who did a wonderful job as always, making the evening fun for everyone involved.

It was bittersweet to enjoy this weekend, knowing that it will be my last Spring Formal, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It is always good to take some time to have fun in community together here at Walsh!

You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we’re playing a game. It’s a business, it’s our job, but I don’t think you can do well unless you’re having fun -Derek Jeter

Monday, March 31st, 2014    Subscribe  No Comments »