Wait… I Actually Have to Go to Class?! (And other horrors)

This is the building where all my classes are. (Fun fact: JPII studied here!)

During orientation, our program director, Dr. Boyle, was very clear; “If anyone tries to persuade you not to focus on your studies, stay away from them.” Okay, so how do I stay away from myself?

When classes first started last week, I was in full vacation mode and not ready at all to get in the swing of school. In fact, I barely prepared myself at all for the fact that I would be sitting in lectures when there is so much more of the city to explore and so much more to know about the other people in my community. It’s almost like I thought I signed up for one thing but neglected to read the fine print.

The good news is that I have had great experiences in my classes so far. Plus, a lot of my classes take me on more site seeing opportunities such as a trip to Florence this coming weekend. Maybe, the whole school thing might actually be good…Maybe.

Here is the breakdown of all my classes.

God and the Poets with Fr. Murray: I would be surprised if anyone from our group didn’t say this is the best class. It is hands down everyone’s favorite! Imagine a lecture hall in which an Irish priest reads poetry in a soft soothing Irish accent and reflects on how God speaks to us through beauty. This class gives me an intense desire to drop everything and write poetry. It is really inspirational to me as a writer to think deeply about the idea that words can be beautiful and that beauty always leads us back to God.

Moral Theology with Fr. Giertych: In all honesty, I don’t always know what is going on in this class. Fr. Giertych is a very good speaker, and everything that he says sounds profound. The whole class, I am furiously trying to write down every word he says and having a hard time comprehending the material. I can tell that this class is going to require a lot of deep thought, but I have heard that it will change my life.

Social Dimensions of Catholicism with Fr. Grant: This is more of an American-style classroom setting. Students are strongly encouraged to contribute in discussion, which is 30% of our grade. At first, I was a little intimidated to talk in front of my peers because they are really smart and a lot of them are seminarians and theology majors. I am just a marketing major, so what do I have to contribute? However, I have found that the discussions are inclusive, and I’ve been able to relate well. We recently discussed Pope Leo’s Rerum Novarum, which is very economical and super interesting to me.

Art History with Dr. Lev: I am a fan of Dr. Lev, and her class is very cool. I am learning to appreciate all of the art in Rome for more than its face value. We recently talked about the evolution of the Last Supper portrait and how that eventually lead up to Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous piece. I never noticed before how Da Vinci was the first artist to create that scene with Jesus completely separate from the other apostles. My professor pointed out that Jesus creates a splash in the picture, like a rock being dropped in water, and the apostles are the water waves. This is depicting the moment that Jesus said one would betray him. It was like dropping a rock in the middle of a calm and quiet pond. We also noticed that Judas Iscariot is closest to us in the frame to symbolize that we are the betrayers.


As you can imagine, all of these classes amount to quite a bit of homework and absolutely no time to do it all. But, I’m doing the best I can! I am having a blast getting to know all of my peers and continuing to discover Rome. Thank you for reading about my experiences. I can’t wait to tell you about my trip to Florence this coming weekend!

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Published by Lizzie Lawson

Writer person.

4 thoughts on “Wait… I Actually Have to Go to Class?! (And other horrors)

  1. Hey Lizzie! I have really enjoyed reading your posts as I nurse the baby :) Thanks for updating us! They (of course) bring back so many memories for me! I loved the grounds around the Angelicum — the many fruit trees, the crazy water fountain, the coffee bar (mmmm…), the stone pillars that were reused from other buildings and didn’t match, and all of the beautiful habits from the religious sisters that attend classes there (so many gorgeous shades of blue and lengths). My least favorite part? That crazy busy street you have to cross to get there – every day I was unsure if those cars would actually stop when I went across the crosswalk – yikes!
    By the way, please say hello to Thanos for me! He started working at the Bernardi campus in the middle of my semester – he is so great.


    1. Thanks Kari! Congratulations on baby Gabriel! Thanos (I agree, so great!) and my professor, Dr. Grant, both remember you. Wow! You have a great memory of the Ang. I was amazed the first time I saw the orange trees. I know exactly the intersection you are talking about. The motor bikes especially will not stop for anything. I miss you! I hope everything is going well back home. -Lizzie


  2. Dear Elizabeth, Grandma and I really enjoyed your description of the classes but Grandma said no way would she want to go to class but I would love to audit the classes. We are looking forward to hear your comments about Florence.
    Love Grandpa Jack

    Liked by 1 person

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