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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Twenty Four Hours at the Mount - Mid Day

Carolyn Shields

(Feb, 2012) 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