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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Thereís something about the Mount

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(1/2015) Iíve now completed my third semester at the Mount. Three out of eight semesters finished doesnít sound scary, but Iím almost halfway doneóthat has a different ring to it. I donít know if five more is enough, but I guess I donít really have a choice and when I stop to think about it, I know that what the Mount has done for me in just three semesters would probably take four years and three masters degrees elsewhere. Iíve met people, joined groups, and experienced things that I canít imagine happening somewhere else. Iíve grown in my faith, Iíve built my most dear friendships, and Iíve even learned a little along the way. Iím not anywhere close to being done learning and growing here, and each month seems to hold more value than the last. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the people Iíve met here at the Mount have had a larger impact on me than anything elseówhether it be my friends, mentors, seminarians, or honestly anyone here on our campus.

The first time I noticed that something was special about people at the Mount was the first week during my freshman year, when I donít think I walked through one door without people holding it for me. I remember calling my mom and telling her about it and her response was, "Arenít people so nice everywhere else?" So obviously instead of recognizing something special about the Mount, I assumed that people from home just werenít that great. I proceeded through freshman year realizing that I enjoyed myself and the people around me, but I never really opened up to the opportunities the Mount offered. This year, that has been different. Through my friends and people around me, Iíve begun to fully embrace the uniqueness that is the Mount. Looking back I think there were a few major things that led to this change. The first was joining ROTC, where I was not only introduced to my closest friends, but I was also forced to slowly change the way I think about myself and about everything around me. The second and third both seem to stem from the first. Second, I was led to the ROTC chaplains, who through their mere presence, bible studies, and meetings have taught me the importance of focusing on my faith in all things, including in the Army. Having this mentorship over the past 10 months has been the driving force behind major life decisions and a recommitment to my faith. This is so special because I know anywhere else I wouldnít have the same experience. Not only does that show me I should be at the Mount, but it also proves the unique qualities that the Mount adds to every experience.

The third is the friendships Iíve built, not only through ROTC, but through other experiences as well. There is a family environment that is slowly teaching me to trust other people with more than just my words or gossip. This extends to all friendships and has given me a strong foundation. There is something extraordinarily special about having people who consistently want the best for you and from you. I never imagined that my college friends would be the same people who held me accountable. I never thought I would find my best friend in ROTC. I never knew that my life could change because of a spur of the moment decision to join a program, and I never expected to be able to recognize that as it happens.

I donít know if I can fully put into words the uniqueness that I can only attribute to the environment at the Mount. The atmosphere forces a constant desire for internal and external improvement, unique to the Mount because of the incredible people. There are role models who hold me accountable, professors who actually care, friends who are full of unconditional love, and Patriot workers who never cease to make my day. People like this canít be found anywhere else.

As we head into this new era with a new president of our university, Iím not nervous for the changes that may come. The atmosphere here is enveloping, a little bubble that may separate us from the "real world," but prepares everyone for it in so many ways. It is impossible to be here and not fall into the idea that there really is just something about the Mount. Now that you have an insight into the past year of my life, I have a confession to make. I just sat down to write this article in an airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 12 hours, while being distracted by the interestingóand probably falseóstories of the man sitting two seats down.

I sat down to write without a plan, but I knew that I wanted to write about how special I think the Mount is because of the people Iíve been introduced to during my time here. I didnít realize until midway through writing all thatís truly happened in the past few months that led me to believe that thereís something special about the Mount. I didnít realize until approximately 45 minutes ago that coming to the Mount and joining ROTC were two of the best decisions Iíve made, regardless of how instinctive they were at the time. I wouldnít be writing this article had I gone anywhere else. I wouldnít have the same people in my life. I probably would never have opened myself up to what I have this year. I wouldnít get the Mount family that I have now. I wouldnít get the opportunity to go to mass every day and relearn my own religion. I certainly wouldnít be sitting in an airport ready to leave for a month without any fearsóexcept navigating the airportóbecause Iím comfortable that when I get back to the Mount, everything I love about my mountain home will be there waiting for me.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary