We encourage you to browse these student reflections, centered around the 2014-15 theme of Cura Personalis - Care for the Whole Person.
I am a perfectionist and a worrier, so naturally as a freshman pre-med student schoolwork has encompassed my semester thus far. I felt like I was caring for myself; I was studying and keeping up with school, yet I didn't realize that I was lacking Cura Personalis and the effects it could have on my life.
Recently I have found myself letting go more, laughing more, and really enjoying Rockhurst more. After reflecting on what changes I had made, I believe it has come from my emphasis on simply doing. I am not worrying about timing and planning; I am letting God's plan fall into place. Trusting and doing have allowed me to care for more aspects of me than just academics. Finding how Cura Personalis can shape my life, by letting go and trusting God, has given me a freedom to live and share my smile with others.
Andrew Ellwanger, '16, is from Magnolia, Texas, studying finance and accounting. He is a member of both the basketball and baseball team here at Rockhurst. He is also involved with SAAC, RAKERS and Campus Ministry.
Technology can be an amazing tool. However, I have found that many times all of our technological gadgets can hinder us from expressing care for others. When I look around while eating lunch all I see are cell phones. Instead of enjoying the fellowship of the people around them everyone is occupied by the technology in their hands. How are we supposed to be present to ourselves and, importantly, to the world around us if we do not look up? When I walk to class or back to the res hall everyone is buried in their social media. Please look up! Just a simple smile or "hello" can make someone's day. Show that you care more about the world around you than the social media and the technology at your fingertips. Most of us have grown up in a generation of technology and it will be hard to put it down. But just think of how much more fully and freely we could live if we lifted our heads! Think of how much more authentic we could be with our family, friends, teammates, and God! I challenge you to just LOOK UP!!!
Augusta Thacker, '18, is from Omaha, Neb., and her major is Nonprofit Leadership. She has been trampled by a horse but has never broken a bone.
There was a time in my life when I lived and breathed and dreamed horseback riding. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I was acting as a volunteer counselor at a summer camp, and for the first time in my life I had to care for other people. I had to worry about the happiness and the safety of others. But, I found interacting with two campers in particular especially challenging.
Cerebral Palsy had left both Alex and Sara wheelchair-bound. I had never been exposed to disabilities before, and I was petrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. I was struck by the fact that Sara and I were the same age. I looked at her and thought, "That could have been me."
Life had dealt us very different hands, and I felt blessed to have gotten the life that I did. But while I became hyper-aware of the differences between myself and Sara, I also became aware of our sameness. We both equally deserved to have the life that we wanted. Nothing about me made me superior to her, despite my ability to walk.
The final day of camp the campers were split into teams and each team was given a horse to paint. The Painted Pony Contest (where everyone was a winner) was my favorite day. If you have never seen a parade of horses painted with rainbow stripes you are missing out. That day I realized that joy looks the same on everyone.
Andrea Heinemann, '17, is a nursing and Spanish student from St. Louis, Mo. She is a Frosh Get-A-Way leader and part of Mission and Ministry committee. Andrea received third team all-conference last year for Rockhurst’s first women’s lacrosse season. This summer, she was a Lifeteen missionary in Haiti for 3 months!
Mother Teresa, my role model, once said “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” This past summer I spent living in Haiti as a missionary. I was constantly giving of myself to Haitian kids, teens, prisoners and the poor. We carried rice up mountains to feed the locals and hosted many bible studies. I gave and gave and gave. I wanted to give these Haitians the best version of myself, but I realized I couldn’t until I had become the best version of myself. In order to give of myself, I had to give to myself first. For me, that meant quiet alone time to process my thoughts. It meant running on the beach to rejuvenate. I had to fill myself up before I could empty myself with the intense love I desired to give to the Haitians. By Cura Personalis and giving to myself, I was able to give back to others in the way I desired. I couldn’t give of myself if I had nothing left. Thanks to caring for myself with the quiet time and workout I desired, I allowed myself to be the best missionary in Haiti I could be.
Lauren Pennell, '16, is from St. Louis, Mo. She is majoring in mass communication and English and minoring in theology. Lauren is very involved on campus; she is co-captain of the dance team, vice president of the English club, secretary for Theta Phi Alpha, steering committee member of social mentors, general member of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Sigma Nu, honors program, and her Christian Life Community (CLC).
College is such a unique environment. This is the place where we grow in every single way: gain a higher education, make and strengthen bonds of friendship, discover reality, become independent, appreciate and develop our faith, form our own opinions and ideas, learn about ourselves.
But college provides such a large variety of opportunities that it can become overwhelming. It is easy to get so caught up in one thing that something else gets lost in the shuffle. Whether it’s foregoing church because it was a late night the Saturday before or losing track of valuable friendships because homework has taken on a life of its own, there always seems to be something that gets neglected as we try to do everything at once.
It is at times like these that we lose our grip on the value of Cura Personalis. Our personal values make up who we are and if we lose track of one or another, we fail to love and honor ourselves to the fullest extent. We must all strive to find balance in our lives so that we can take care of the things that matter most while still taking care of ourselves. If your friends, family, relationship with God and education are of utmost importance to you, my hope is that you’re able to give each the necessary attention, for cultivating those meaningful aspects of your life allows you to truly care for the whole person.
Janak Patel, '15, is a pre-med, a biochemistry major who will be attending medical school at KCUMB in the upcoming year. Janak is currently a Resident Assistant in the THV’s. A random fact about him is that he has his motorcycle license.
The previous year was the first time I had taken on a leadership role as extensive as being a Resident Assistant. I thought I knew what it meant to display Cura Personalis, but over the course of the year I was able to discover what “Caring for the whole person” really entails. As a part of my role as an RA, I was always making sure my residents were taking care of themselves physically, mentally and spiritually. This sometimes included making referrals to various departments on campus. In my mind, I knew they were being taking care of, yet who was taking care of me? I took a look back and realized that I had been in contact with multiple departments and individuals from Campus Ministry, Career Services, the Learning Center, and even Lionel who works in Corcoran. They all had one thing in common; they were there to make sure I was on the right path, succeeding and making sure I was taken care of. Cura Personalis is all around us and sometimes we forget where to find it, but at Rockhurst it is the fabric of who we are. I would like to finish off by adding a quote from the movie 2012. “The moment we stop fighting for each other, that’s the moment we lose our humanity.” Cura Personalis is just that, it is recognizing our shared humanity and, in turn, caring for each other and ourselves.
Katarina Waller, '16, is from Independence, Mo., and is double-majoring in English and secondary education. She came to Rockhurst halfway through her freshman year when she transferred from the University of Missouri in Columbia and has a mildly entertaining transfer story that she’d love to tell you if you ever wanted to ask. Since flying into the Nest, she has been a Retreat on the Rock leader, held two executive board positions in Theta Phi Alpha, become a writing tutor, as well as getting involved with other organizations.
Spring semester of last year, I discovered what my limitations were. Throughout the year, I had been piling extracurriculars onto my schedule and, by the end of the year, found myself struggling to find passion for the things I had joined. I found myself questioning what I was really passionate about instead of joining because it looked good.
During the last half of the semester, I realized that I was trying to take care of everything and everyone except myself. This wasn’t healthy for anyone. So I started focusing on the people and the organizations that I was most passionate about and that would also help me grow and feel fulfilled as a person. This is what Cura Personalis is about.
Here at Rockhurst, we are always challenged to live out our core values, including Magis where we are asked to give more. But it is impossible to keep giving more if we do not take care of ourselves. Experiencing growth and living fully does not always mean taking on more, but can instead mean admitting that you have limitations--and that’s okay. Sometimes taking care of yourself and others means stepping back and being gentle with yourself.
Helen Schultz, '15, is from St. Louis, Mo., majoring in elementary education and theology and minoring in Spanish. She is involved as an Orientation Coordinator, pianist in the Contemporary Music Ensemble, ASA sister and CLC member. She enjoys reading in her hammock, and the highlight of her summer was receiving a marriage proposal from a six-year-old boy.
Life is all about balance. Take the seasons for example. Summer is a time of relaxation, sunshine, swimming, and warmth, whereas winter has different things to offer: sledding, hot chocolate by the fire, Christmas. Likewise, my time at Rockhurst is filled with balance, as I juggle schoolwork, co-curriculars, work, prayer and sleep. I shouldn’t blow off school to go out every night with friends, but I don’t want to spend all my time studying in the library either. I love to eat pizza, ice cream and, my personal favorite, macaroni and cheese, but I also need to eat a colorful plate of wholesome food to nourish me. When my life gets off balance and one area takes precedence over others, I feel stressed and anxious. To maintain stability, I search for balance everyday as I work, play, rest and pray. Finding harmony in all areas of life is how I see and practice Cura Personalis. By caring for my whole person, I discover how to live more fully and freely as God intended.