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Four Years at the Mount

24 Hours at the Mount - Feb, 2012

Freshman Year: Morning

Kyle Ott
Class of 2014


The sound from my alarm clock always seems to fill me with a strange mix of dread and excitement. Dread: because thereís a part of me that just doesnít feel like getting out of bed before noon, and excitement because that means that I have a brand new day ahead of me in the college that I love. I start roll out of bed, a challenge made all the more difficult by the fact that itís lofted high above the actual dorm floor. In those beginning moments where my mind takes a minute to transition from the world of sleep into the waking world, I take a second to look out the window at the quad and the steadily rising morning sun. I start every morning after the alarm clock tolls by looking out of the window and taking in whatís happening outside. Sometimes Iím greeted by a blast of cool air, the sight of driving rain, or thick fog. Today, however, Iím pleased to see, is a sunny one. After a brief shower and the short amount of time it takes me to gather my belongings, Iím out the door and off to my destination.

Few people stir about in the early hours, save for the occasional student heading to their work study job or an early class. Some are like me, heading to get something to eat. Itís the solitude that suits me. I breathe in the quiet, calm walk across the campus where for five minutes I donít have to say, do, or be anything particular. In that small span of time I get to simply exist in peace. As I walk through the doors of patriot words from the famous online cooking show: Epic Mealtime come to mind. "Oh so you want to change the game? Well how you do that? You gotta stay ahead of it. And how you do that? You eat a well balanced breakfast." These words ring throughout my groggy, exhaustion choked mind as I make my way into Patriot.

Thereís something about breakfast that wakes me up, its not necessarily the food that does it, although it is nice to having something warm and healthy in my stomach, (and honestly what could be healthier then bacon, or chocolate chip waffles with syrup, or both if Iím feeling particularly charitable to my arteries). No, for me itís the mindset that comes with breakfast. The concept that Iím really starting my morning off on the most positive note imaginable with breakfast, and that all those TV commercials with talking tigers, and crazy coocoo birds might not have been wrong.

Itís a potent mix of a positive attitude, outstanding food, and above all else, some awesome fellowship. For me, it all starts with a hug. I saunter up to the desert bar and look at Bessie, who has to be one of the sweetest ladies in the entire earth.

"What can I do for you honey?" she asks in the same kind tone that sheís had since I came to this school.

"Your finest scone Bessie!" I below as I stretch my arms wide in an attempt to shake off the Monday morning blues.

"Here you go hon" She laughs as she gives me a big hug and then hands me a plate what has to be a phenomenal scone.

Thatís the attitude I begin my mornings with and it always gets me ready to appreciate a wonderful day. After the ritual hug and scone, the spirit of fellowship takes another form as I meet up with my breakfast buddies. It seems during the morning you can always find me and my friends Jenna and Alex at a table in patriot.

I look at Jenna and give her a sarcastic grin

"FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD" I half sing half moo, as I hold up the scone.

Its become a sort of running joke between the three of us that almost any time during a meal with Jenna someone says "FOOOOOOOOD", poking fun at her favorite statement when she gets hungry and likes to move us quickly along to patriot.

She laughs briefly then stops: pretending to be offended

"Oh shut up!" she says, trying hard (and failing) to restrain another laugh, as she slaps me on the back.

I canít help but chuckle to myself. Every morning like clockwork this happens, as predictable as the sun rising every morning.

From across the table I hear a quiet "Oh, jeez" from my friend Alex.

I look across to find her shaking her head at Jenna and I, who to be perfectly honest are enjoying acting like two year olds. She keeps shaking her head at us as she grabs the waffle on here plate, breaks off a tiny chunk and pops it into her mouth. Alex is more than a little more mature than us on these mornings. Sheís like the big sister that I never had but always thought it would be cool to hang with, and though she eats her waffle like she doesnít know us, sheís just as amused by our antics, as well as the predictability of our morning ritual in the ever changing sea of college.

After breakfast, the group parts ways and heads to the next class. For me, its poetry with the illustrious sister Anne Higgins, who stands in the center of our class, guiding discussions like a lighthouse. From our room in the bottom of the AC, to the auditorium in Delaplaine, and the polished halls of the seminary, students everywhere are enjoying the best that every teacher has to offer. A beautiful sunrise, a full belly, good friends, and great poetry-all just another morning here at Mount St. Maryís. As I smile into my notebook I can only wonder what kinds of adventures lunch time will bring...

Read other articles by Kyle Ott

Sophomore Year: Mid Day

Carolyn Shields
Class of 2014

Lunch. Mm-mm carbs. The conversation today was on Islam and its relation to the pilgrim sight Fatima. Then somehow the dangerous road of college kidsí thinking took a turn and the conversation centered on Darren Criss, the Harry Potter and Glee star with a buttery voice. Iím always ashamed when my sister pulls out pretzels and carrots for lunch, or Emily (my fellow Ireland traveler) eats a banana with peanut butter. Normally I have fries and chicken tenders, or a grilled chicken sandwich that kind of falls apart in your handsÖwith a coke, and maybe two cookies, if theyíre freshly baked. It was only day three of the semester, but I was doing homework since it was due next class, and occasionally giving my input on a Broadway show while chewing on cold fries, while fighting off yawns from the night before. It was our computer-game night, or in my case, computer-game-watching night.

Maria and David (my other fellow Ireland traveler) were talking about politics around the pool table as I entered the lounge, where we congregated near midnight. I slapped my book irately in front of Kate on the table, and then the conversation quickly turned into our readings about Ronald Reagan. Maria and Kate had a fit about the authorís biased writings about the former president, and David picked up Kateís book and with his Warcraft game paused before him and his rabbit-pelt Russian hat sitting aloft his head, he shouted out a biased statement.* My only contribution to the argument was an agitated remark about buying the wrong fifty-dollar book for this class.

The gaming soon continued, and circled around the pool table with our laptops on top, Ronald Reagan momentarily forgotten, they delved into the world of orcs and peons. I tried to catch up on homework (who knew it was possible to fall behind on day three?), but my eyelids were too heavy.

So I hit the sack at 2 a.m. last night and woke up at 8:45 a.m. today. And to be honest, lunch is kind of when I start my day. Even if Iím up before then, that doesnít mean Iím functional.

I rock in my chair as a pack of seminarians walk by and wave at booths filled with students. Kathy, my sister, comes from noon Mass with snowflakes melting in her hair.

"Did you hear about how Fatima has connections to Islam?" I asked to my friend, shoving another fry in. (Dublin starved me. I canít tell you how nice it is to walk into a cafeteria and not have to stare at the food shelf, wishing something would appear other than the neglected can of soup).

"Yeah!" Hannah, my former ROTC, rosary loving, ridiculously car knowledgeable, and sweetest friend said. Apparently she found this cooler than I did. "Mohammadís daughter was named Fatima andó"

Woa, woa, woa. She was stealing my thunder.

"And he said the next person who is holiest after Mary is his daughter."

"Yeah, and then when all the Muslims were kicked out of Spain years later the chiefís daughter fell in love with a Catholic prince."

"I know! And she converted and then the prince married her and named the city Fatima after her."

"Oh, and did you hear about Darren Criss the other night?"

Thatís about how all my conversations go. Or at least todayís. All right, pretty much my entire life is scattered. Iím thinking a billion thoughts about todayís homework thatís due today and tomorrowís homework due yesterday. Iím alternating between writing this article, watching a 1980s movie for class, and doing French homework. Iíve sat down three different times to write thisóduring the movie, in the library, and now at lunch when I just got up and realized this was due two days ago.

Scarfing down the remaining of my cold fries and collecting my thoughts, I leave for my second class of the day, which is Women of Faith at 1p.m. It may be my favorite so far. The thirst Iíve recently experienced to learn about my faith half makes me ancey because there are so many books to read and so many philosophies to study. This course explores women in the Bible, and we read the most beautiful things like, "As long as there is someone, somewhere whose life breathes in time with my own, I know down deep that I am indeed needed, that I have no right to die" by Jean Chittister.

As long as we have friends (to discuss Islam, to play computer games with late at night, or to run to when our lives seem like they are out of hand), we no longer live just for ourselves.

*I emailed Maria asking for a good quote from the section, and she responds with a page long email filled with five quotes, opinions, and a link on Reaganís enthusiasm for communism.

Read other articles by Caroline Shields

Junior Year: Afternoon

Samantha Strub
Class of 2013

Rushing, rushing, rushing across the parking lot with my heels tapping the payment. This is how youíll find me on a typical afternoon. I get quite a few looks as I cross campus in my professional clothes and high heels. I should really stop wearing heels, but as any young women would say, they tie the rest of the outfit together so well that you just have to wear them. I donít ever have time to explain this to those who give me the funny looks, so I just hurry by, click-clacking awayÖ

If you see me, Iím in the process of returning from my internship at West Fredrick Middle School. I only have about 45 minutes to get back from teaching all morning and hurry to my afternoon classes. As Iím driving back, listening to music and drinking my coffee, I try to shift my brain from being a teacher and classroom assistant to my eighth-grade students back to being a student myself. From the outside, it might not seem like it would be very difficult to switch back and forth, but trust me, it really is. It will become second nature after a while, but right now I have to force my brain to shift back to linguistics, sentence diagrams, and American literature after focusing on synonyms, antonyms, grammar, worksheets and textual interpretations. I have to remember not to correct college students who arenít paying attention and get them back on task. I have made the transition to being a teacher so thoroughly that I donít even realize that I always seem to be in "teacher mode," as one might call it.

Everything that I look at seems to take on a whole new perspective when I see situations through the eyes of a teacher. The activities that I once took for granted as a student I appreciate more now that I myself have to create lesson plans and find engaging material. As a student, you never realize how much time is spent creating the material that you will be learning. The activities that you practiced in class are very important because they are strategies that teachers use to increase comprehension. If I were not studying to be a teacher, I would never have this perspective on classes, assignments, lessons, and literature. Now, I find it easier to relate to my professors and strike up relationships with them.

As Iím cranking music on my car ride home, Iím usually thinking about what happened that day with my eighth-grade students and what I can do to help and guide their education. I do get to a point, though, when I flip the switch to become a college student once again. Once I park, I click-clack across campus to either my American literature class. It is always thoroughly enjoyable to escape from the realities of life into the world of literature. During class, nothing matters except for the novel before me. It is wonderful to sit, a book in hand, with my fellow English majors and dive into its secrets. I suppose that is part of the reason I want to be a teacheróto show others how to escape into this magical world.

Afterward, I click-clack across campus once more to go to work. I work in the Education Department as a secretary. Being an Education major has given me a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with all the professors in the department as well as have a great job that I go to for a couple of hours. What I do there really depends on the day, but generally Iím making copies for professors, answering phones calls, running errands across campus and doing random odd jobs. On slow days they are generous enough to allow me to do homework. This is a very nice bonus, because few jobs offer that option when days are slow.

Being able to do homework is helpful because once I finish working I usually click-clack back to my apartment to grab a quick bite to eat. After I get home from work Iím normally in my apartment for less than an hour before I have to rush out again to go to my night class. Iím in class again from 6 to 9 p.m., learning all those important and necessary strategies that I need to help my students learn to the best of their abilities.

So my evenings are spent in classes instead of enjoying all the crazy nights the seniors haveÖ

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Senior Year - Evening

Julia Mulqueen
Class of 2012

I just feasted upon Mount food at a table full of my fellow seniors, and now itís time for my crazy night to begin. I have to stop by the library for a few hours before I allow myself to head back to my dorm room. I can feel the weight of my textbooks digging into my back. My neck aches; my eyes are tired from the long day. Gingerly, I walk up the steps to our library, open the door and step inside. I climb the stairs to the upper level, and move toward the windows. Ah, my spot awaits! For four years, I have nestled into the same chair at the same desk to do my homework. I know the curve of the chair in which I sit. I know the number of bugs stuck to the outside of the window: 3. I know the initials carved into the desk: AMS+AMM forever.

So I force myself to sit down in "my" chair. I pull out my laptop and my Gathered for the Journey book. This year it has been especially difficult for me to concentrate on my schoolwork. I know that a job awaits me after I saunter across the stage at graduation, and I am ready for the changes that await me. Fortunately, I also know that I must graduate in order to keep that job, so I force myself to open up the book. I gently crease page 58, and I settle in.

After I finish this reading assignment for class tomorrow, I have to finish up a book by Hans van Balthasar for my senior seminar class. As a senior, I am required to take a seminar course in each of my majors. Last semester, I took German senior seminar. This semester, I am in Theology senior seminar. The course meets once a week. We read large articles or even entire books and then discuss them in class. I love it! I live for seminar classes in which all actively participate in the discussion. Having completed the Mountís core curriculum, too, I am able to connect our theological readings to more than just the Church. It is a great feeling to know that all of those hours spent in my core classes have truly helped me in other aspects of my studies.

I finish up my first reading assignment, and then I move on the van Balthasar book. Van Balthasar was a Swiss theologian, and his book Razing the Bastions is an intricate look at how the Church is to relate to the modern world. I am a geek, and I absolutely love reading van Balthasar. As a senior, I have perfected my reading style. I read quickly, but maintain my focus on the work. As I read, I underline and star sections and sentences which stick out to me. I scribble comments in the margins.

Pretty soon, I am finished reading van Balthasar, too. Next, I need to start reading a book for my honors project, but with my laptop in front of me I am easily distracted. I look at pictures of funny animals. I google current events. I watch pop videos from the eighties. After 15 minutes or so, I am ready to return to my studies.

So I pick up this next book for my honors project. For the next hour, I am beautifully focused. I am the model student. I look out the window minimally, and I do not allow myself to surf the internet. As the clock approaches nine, however, I find myself in need of a pick-me-up. I slowly peek my head out from the desk at which I am sitting. My roommate Dasha is sitting opposite me; we are divided by shelves on the desks. As I peak my head out, she starts to peak her head out, too; she gives me the look. The look is something that has been part of our friendship since our freshman year. The look signals that we need a break from studying. This break always includes a trip to the Mount Cafť for some sugary, caffeinated treat. So together we walk across the street to the cafť and order some snacks. Naturally, chocolate makes an appearance.

Once we have eaten our food, we trudge back to the library to do some more studying. Again, I am able to focus for an hour or so, and then my eyelids start to fall and my hands seem incapable of holding my book any longer. I realize it is time for me to head back to my dorm room. I start to pack up my books, and Dasha follows suit. We walk giggling back to our suite.

Upon reaching the room, I ground my backpack and flip on the TV. After waking up so early in the morning to work out, sitting through hours of classes, and then forcing myself to put some small dent in my homework, I am ready to relax for the night. Unfortunately, it is getting quite late as it is already approaching 11pm. I tear myself away from the TV and set two alarms for tomorrow morning. Then I get ready for bed and slide under my covers ready to fall fast asleep.

At 5:30am I hear the distinct beeping of my alarm. I jump out of bed into the chill and smack my alarm clock until it shuts off. As I brush my teeth, I think about yesterday. Sure, my night was none too glamorous or exciting, but I wouldnít trade it for the world. Soon my trips to the cafť with Dasha will just be a memory and my spot at the library will have a new occupant. I only ask that future Mount students get as much out of their time here as I have.

Read other articles by Julia Mulqueen

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