For students, summer is a time meant for rejuvenation in order to get refreshed for the start of a new school year. While that may be summer vacation’s intent, for some reason I find it increasingly difficult to actually find time to relax. Sometimes after a long shift at work or after finishing up a chapter for my summer class, I force myself to sit down and implement some of the meditation strategies that I have acquired through my two years working with the Manresa Program.
One key goal of Manresa is to help students become familiar with who they are going into college and to help them discover who they want to be in the future. Because of this goal, the staff plans quite a few different programs that involve mediation and self-reflection. We work to introduce the students to their real selves. Through events like the Manresa Retreat, Ignatian Meditation Night, and the Manresa Alternative Spring Break Service Project, I was able to get to know not only Nicole the student or Nicole the friend, but I was also able to get to know the real me and set a path for myself to push me in the right direction. This is a unique feature of the Manresa Program.
Last year at our Manresa Retreat, the students and I all sat in a circle and listened to a song called “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. It forced us to take a step back from all the craziness in our lives and realize that beautiful things do come from nothing and that it is possible to start over. So in your moments of chaos and doubt, especially with college and a new chapter of your lives beginning, just take a moment to sit yourself down, take a deep breath, and listen to this song (with your eyes closed, of course.) Remember that “all around hope is springing up,” and take the quiet moment to get to know yourself better. I promise you, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017
Manresa Program Student Intern, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016