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!