I’ve just finished a five-day conference called SEEK, hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, in Indianapolis with 17,000 other Catholic college students from across the country.  

Regardless of religion, one of the things I took from the conference was community. I have never been in one place with so many people who believe in the same things I do.

At NAU, there is the Newman Center where Catholic students go, and although I attend events and services there frequently, there are other areas of my life where I feel alone in my faith. And that is totally OK because I know I have a community on campus I can go to for fellowship when I do feel alone in those areas. The conference just reaffirmed that the community of Catholic students is actually way bigger than I thought.

I was thinking about what I was going to write for my column this week. I wanted it to be about something that I learned from this conference. Indeed it was a Catholic conference, but it was also a college-student conference that offered a lot of good points on which to reflect.

There are many different groups on campus that students can join to feel like part of a community. From environmental groups to LGBTQ+ groups to academic groups, there is something for everyone.

No matter how big or small your community is, it is good to have at least one person to talk to about your interests and passions. One thing that was said a lot during the conference was it is really hard to carry out anything alone. It’s just like one of those weight-loss tips that people say at the beginning of the year to get you to be accountable for your goals: “Get a workout buddy.”

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People are less likely to skip out on things when they already have someone waiting on them at the gym. Working out becomes an activity that is more fun and easy to do because you had someone to do it with. It is the same with other groups and being in a community.

It is easier to make a difference in your city when you have a community of people that do street clean ups on the weekends to lower waste impact. It is easier to tell someone how you feel when they have the same circumstance as you or have gone through the same things you are going through. It is easier to do well in class when you have a community you don’t want to let down.

It’s easier to go to church when you know you have someone waiting for you, saving a seat.

Having a community is helpful in feeling like you’re not alone and that you can do everything that you set out to do.

As a freshman, I didn’t really find a community until I became a writer at The Lumberjack. I soon became an editor, and four years in I’m still working at The Lumberjack. I learned more about journalism from being around the people who also worked for the student newspaper. I’ve created a community of people there who support me. And that is only one of them.

The Newman Center on campus is also another community I have which has really helped me grow as well.

These communities have helped me be more successful in college. I thought it was really fitting that the conference talked community because it has impacted me throughout my time at NAU. Try and find your community this semester.

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Ariel Cianfarano is the circulation director of The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University's student newspaper. College Chronicles aims to connect Flag Live! readers to various aspects of campus life.


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