I never thought that statement that parents, teachers, and mentors always tell you as you are applying to colleges would ever describe my experiences Marquette. I can’t tell you the number of times someone said, “You’ll know when you are at the right place. You’ll just know.” My response, as is probably typical of an overwhelmed high school senior, was usually “Yeah, right, okay. What does that even mean, knowing you are in the right place?”
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means feeling that way all the time and recognizing those feelings, even when things don’t always go as planned.
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means you have a really difficult time picking just one place or just one phrase when asked to talk about your favorite parts of this place.
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means that you can be the most authentic version of yourself, exactly who and what you want to be, because of the community that exists all around you.
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means you want to share this place and all that is has taught you with others.
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means knowing that finding a specific place isn’t the only thing that matters, but it’s the people that fill that place that are important.
Maybe knowing you are in the right place means you step into this place and know you’re home.
My Marquette experiences have certainly been different than I expected – although I guess I should have expected things not to go as planned – but I can’t tell you the number of times I have walked around this campus with all of 5 senses bursting with the desire to soak in everything this place brings. From its scent of car exhaust, Lake Michigan, and Schroeder Hall pasta to the gorgeous, humbling St. Joan of Arc Chapel and the chaotic pulses of conversation and pop music that flow out of the Brew to the feel of my hand cramping during a blue book exam or the taste of a hot cookie and ice cream in McCormick, Marquette – and my joy about this place –extends beyond what words can describe or identify.
Marquette has given me the opportunity to explore who I am and who I have the capacity to be – and supports my efforts to do that and my efforts to share what my Marquette experiences have taught me with those around me. By educating my whole person, Marquette has allowed me to become that whole person.
But, maybe I am not being fair. Is it really Marquette and my favorite places here that have educated my whole person? Or, is it the people that fill the Marquette-Milwaukee community that have made these places on campus into my favorite spots? Is it the people, friends, mentors, and professors that have made Marquette “the right place for me”?
When I think about the phrase “We Are Marquette,” I am always taken aback because of the power and strength that exists in three simple words. These words synthesize exactly what it means for Marquette to be the “right place” because they demonstrate the undeniable reality that Marquette (and being here in it and falling in love with it and thriving because of it) is never done without the people that are right alongside us as we walk through this crazy journey with each other.
Isn’t that what it really means to be “men and women for and with others?” Isn’t that what makes Marquette home – knowing that you do have and will always have a place here? Isn’t that what makes Marquette the “right place”?
And, the beautiful reality is that we never have to stop answering these questions or making these conclusions about whether or not we are in the right place; it is a constant process, but one that we never have to endure alone.