Memories of Sophomore Year

May 7, 2006 § 5 Comments

This was a very memorable year for me, and I've tried to encapsulate it in a collection of a few of my favorite memories and a list of thanks. I accomplished a lot this year, by the grace of God alone. Never would I have been able to do it myself. I took 22 credit hours, audited three more and kept up with the readings for that class, lectored at the Shrine two or more times a week, kept up with my spiritual life, went to selected social events, grown closer to friends, synthesized a new molecule, commuted, remained a parishioner at St. Mary's, spent time with my family on weekends, and still managed to make cookies for my normal recipients once per semester. That said, here are the memories: 

My installment as a Extraordinary Minister at the Shrine: Earlier in the Spring semester, I was blessed enough to be installed at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. This was one of the happiest days of my life: Fr. Fisher's homily of St. Tarcisius was so inspiring it made me cry. Afterwards, the liturgy committee had a beautiful luncheon. It was so nice to introduce my own family to my Shrine family! 

Newly Installed Extraordinary Ministers with Fr. Fisher

Holy Saturday phone calls from Maloney: In the morning on Holy Saturday, Mr. Dr. Brewer called me from Maloney Chemistry Dept. He was ecstatic: I had my first crystal structure/molecule and it was beautiful! We talked about it for an entire hour before I said I had to go so I could help get ready for Easter celebrations. I'll never forget the sound of his voice over the phone, so excited and happy he was tripping over his words.

75+ hours in lab with the Brewers: Of course, I spend most of the time in lab with Mrs. Dr. Brewer. Ah the conversations we would have! From discussing books and politics to joking about boys, we wiled away our time working in the fume hood. Mrs. Dr. Brewer regaled me with stories about she and her husband when they met and dated in school, while Mr. Dr. Brewer stood at the sink and washed the glassware. Other fond memories include Mr. Dr. Brewer's "recrystallization station", my episode with the chloroform, me scaring Mr. Dr. Brewer half to death because he thought something exploded in my face, Mrs. Dr. Brewer and I teasing Mr. Dr. Brewer by describing the chemical color changes in ultra poetic terms, (midnight blue? sunset orange? dusky rose?), and listening to the Brewers haggle over what Mr. Dr. Brewer would make for dinner (not hamburgers). I can't wait for next semester!

Research Lab

Mr. Dr. Brewer's Recrystallization Station

sitting on the wall with Dr. White during the Luau, talking philosophy, the Human Genome project, M. Night Shyamalan movies, and everything in between: Spending time with friends is the finest way to end a year! Dr. White and Dr. Noone both came to the Luau, but anyone seeking their wise company had to seek them out behind the vans across the parking lot in front of Caldwell, away from the raucous crowd. What a choice was presented to me – either standing in the sand in front of blasting punk rock music or sitting on the wall talking to Dr. White. Believe me, there is no choice involved.

Alys and Me!

having my father call me as soon as I get on the Metro with my friends to ask me where I am going, and wondering if he has fitted my phone with a GPS tracker: Poor Daddy! Early this semester, I stayed overnight with Alys in the dorms. This, believe it or not, was the first time in my life I had stayed overnight by myself anywhere, and I think it was miserable for Daddy. He called every hour, and confessed to needing self-restraint to keep himself to that schedule. Alys and AJ teased me by "confessing" that they are really paid agents (by my dad) to keep an eye on me. Haha, very funny.

staying up late watching Strong Bad emails: On the night I stayed over with Alys, Alys, AJ, and I stayed up until 3AM watching Strong Bad emails on her laptop. It was so late and the entertainment so brainless that we laughed hysterically at every joke and snide comment.

listening to Physics TAs passionately argue about Physics: I sat in a classroom adjacent to the TA office every Tuesday and Thursday morning before my classes began and seriously, these guys had the most absurd arguments. They were so cute, getting awfully worked up over whether you conventionally represented the velocity of an electron in a magnetic field with a "v" or with a "q". I am really going to miss them next semester, as most of them are moving on to other graduate schools around the country.

TA Office, Hannon Hall

Union Station and Oklahoma! with Alys: About a month ago, right before the flurry of exams, Alys and I made an evening of it. We went to Union Station for a very nice dinner at Uno's, overlooking the two floors of shops and the train station itself. After dinner, we enjoyed ourselves poking around the stores and chatting. When we got back to campus, we went to the opening night of the student production of Oklahoma!, which was fantastic. A very memorable night, all together, and I can think of no better person with whom to have spent it.

watching Anne make her funniest faces at lunch in the Shrine: Anne and I had some really fun lunch dates at the Shrine, although the second semester was so busy it was difficult to find time to get together. I remember one particular day fondly, when Anne looked around quickly to make sure no one was really looking, and then showed me her funniest faces. What a beautiful, ebullient person she is! So confident, happy, gentle, and good. I am proud to call her a friend (even though she wears flip-flops!), and can only hope I am worthy of the same title in her book.  

Anne on the Mall

picking out vestments for the Shrine in the Liturgy office: After making fun of Sonja and I paging through our Ann Taylor and J.Jill catalogs in the office ("Oh vanity of vanities" he cried in mock piety), Fr. Fisher pulled his vestment catalogs out of the closet and forced Sonja and I to pick out our favorites. I picked out a lovely royal purple one trimmed with gold for Fr. Rossi and a cream one with rose trim for Fr. Fisher. I had no idea they even had vestment catalogs for priests… 

teaching Dr. White to play seven-handed solitaire: The feeling of beating your own (wisest) teacher in cards is…interesting. I have to admit that I was glad he held no sway over any of my grades this semester. :::smile::: When he came over for dinner early in the semester, we "broke him in" to our family life by teaching him how to play the rowdy game of seven-handed solitaire. Afterwards, qua philosophers, we discussed what a more appropriate name for the game would be, since solitaire is obviously a misnomer. (As soon as we come to an agreement I will be sure to post the results.) When we invited him to come over for dinner again, he accepted with a wry smile and said: "Why? You didn't beat me enough last time?" 

Dr. White at Dinner: Pre-solitaire game

early morning conversations with Bl. Miguel Pro while walking to class: Okay, so this is a little weird, but I have the odd urge to speak to Bl. Miguel on beautiful mornings after Mass when I can feel his presence as I walk across my lovely campus. I tell him of my eccentric musings, and how difficult it is at times to be joyous in spirit. I know he is listening to me as a dear friend does, and surely presents my concerns to Our Lord with a smile and a joke.

lunch with Dr. White on Kenny's big day out with me: Dr. White seems to pop up a lot in these memories! Halfway through the semester, Kenny came to school with me for one day as is tradition. Kenny and I had a wonderful day at classes together – Kenny is a really special person to be willing to spend an entire day with his older sister, slogging to Physics and Chemistry and Metaphysics. After classes, we had a pleasant lunch with Dr. White at the Shrine, and chatted about this and that, Fulton Sheen and C.S. Lewis, old age and St. Bonaventure (where the philosophy faculty resides).

Kenny on his day at school 

looooong conversations with Danny at the Shrine:I met Danny, a philosophy graduate student from Ventura, CA and a dedicated Platonist, late in the Fall semester. He's been a great friend and we have had some really fun conversations over lunch at the Shrine, talking about hackeysack, California, road trips, the East Coast, philosophy, undergrad-grad student relations in general (which at times are strained at CUA), and country music.

exam week with Kenny: What would I do without this brother of mine? On the Sunday before exam week, he sat me down and told me my "attack plan" for exams. I was only to study from 8AM to 3PM when he finished his schoolwork, and then Kenny had a DVD picked out for de-stressing every evening. To top it all off, he slept on my floor all week to make sure I didn't wake up with nightmares and to say "good luck" in the morning. I'm not sure how I would have retained my sanity without him.  

falling asleep on Daddy's shoulder on the bus: One morning Daddy and I were soooo sleepy, I just put my philosophy homework away, lay my head on Daddy's shoulder (which was very comfy and cozy in his brand-new winter coat), and fell asleep. He laid his head on top of mine and fell asleep as well. There are not too many more comforting feelings that falling securely asleep on a supportive and loving father's shoulder.

pinning on Mr. Mazzucca's 45-year pin at the Shrine because Rosemary wasn't there to do it: Mr. Mazzucca's dear wife Rosemary died a year ago, during a visit to Italy. He, a former Navy Admiral and physicist, has now been a tour guide at the Shrine for 45 years. As most probably realize, in the Navy there is a ceremony where someone, generally the wife and another officer, pins the new rank onto the newly-ranking officer. Well, when Mr. Mazzucca was presented with his 45 year pin, he turned to me with tears in his eyes and said: "Genna, Rosemary would have done this for me was she here. Would you do me the honor?" Naturally I accepted, and fought back tears myself as I pinned his new pin onto his tour guide sash.

And now, for some well-deserved thanks:

To my family, for being there for me every single minute of the day, even though every member of the family has lives and schedules of their own. For making the effort to remember my schedule. For asking me how my day went at night. For making me hot cups of tea and snacks on long bad days. For praying for me. For supporting me every step of the way. For integrating me into family life even though I feel sometimes like I don't live here anymore. For being infinitely patient with me even when I don't seem to notice. More specifically, I want to thank:

– Daddy, for being the best father a girl ever had. Without you I would never have been able to go to CUA, met the friends I have, work at the Shrine, or gain the knowledge I have gleaned in two years. I appreciate every moment you are putting in and every cent that you are earning for my sake. I appreciate you making sure I am awake in the morning to get ready for school, for trying to memorize what tests I have during the week, for making me a decent breakfast on exam mornings when I am liable to skip it, for reading/discussing Plato with me on the bus, and for caring enough to wonder where I am, how I am doing, what kind of people I am with, and how they are treating me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

– Mommy, for being the best friend a girl could ever wish for. For waking up ultra-early and driving me down to school every Thursday morning just to spend time with me, listen to me gab, and watch me lector at the Shrine because you know it is important to me. For watching late-night movies with me that I know you would rather not see. For asking me how my friends are doing and being involved in their lives as well. For supporting me in all my spiritual and emotional ups and downs throughout the year. For being ever so patient and gentle even when I wholly disregard every little thing you have done for me in my own selfishness. For coming to events and opening your house to people that I care about but you have only heard of. For letting and encouraging me to have fun even when I feel like being sensible. Thank you so much for being my mother.

– Kenny, for supporting me in everything I do even though you feel pushed aside for the sake of my friends at times. For meeting and being kind to everyone at school that means something to me. For sleeping in my room on weekends to keep me company even when you would rather be at a friends' house. For pointing out my faults when I would rather you not, because you often know me better than I know myself. For warning me against hasty decisions because I might get hurt. For loving me, simply and without judgment. For making me so proud as you advance in learning and wisdom. Thank you.    

– Celeste, for being a wonderful little sister. For kissing me every night even when I am grumpy after a long day. For sitting down and chatting with me while I ate a hasty dinner most nights. For trying to help me in every little way that you thought possible. For washing/drying my clothes when I forgot to do it in my breakneck schedule. For making me proud that you could learn so much and be so much smarter than me. I can't wait to see you grow up – what a beautiful flower for God you will be. Thank you.  

Celeste at OCB

– Elizabeth, for being a wonderful little sister as well, but in your own way. In the past year you have come into your own, not merely accepting what I say as gospel truth but correcting me in a Christian spirit when I say something wrong or am guilty of a fallacy in argument. For breaking up potential fights between Kenny and I when you felt the tension rising. For making me delicious snacks when I got home from school. For kissing me goodnight every night and saying "sweet dreams". For falling asleep next to me in bed just when I felt I needed comfort, almost like you could read my mind. For making me so proud, because like your siblings you are going to be ever so much smarter and wiser than your big sister. Every day I learn something new from you. Thank you.  

Elizabeth and Me at Chilis

Fr. Joe Jenkins – for always being there for moral, emotional, and intellectual support, every moment of the day or night. This means a lot to me, because I often wonder at night what I would do if something awful ever happened. Then I remember that you are always there, and I am not afraid. For keeping me company on the cell phone when I am stuck at a lonely bus stop in the dark. For looking over my papers and offering helpful comments. For daily prayers, which I know help me more than anything else in or out of the world. For wanting me to advance in learning and spirituality, and for wanting me to make friends. Thank you.

Fr. Joe is a-salted!

Dr. White – for being a wonderful friend. For some of the most memorable intellectual (and non-intellectual) conversations of my life. For being interested in every step of my research work even though chemistry is not anywhere near what you do. For fostering "interdepartmental" chemistry-philosophy relations. :-) For making my family laugh and giving them such a pleasant evening. For wisdom of the ages for which I could not possibly pay you back. For the prayers and helpful advice. For caring. For being a example of patience, mildness, humility and justice. Thank you.

Dr. Cyndi Brewer – for being a motherly authority away from home. For reminding me to make dentist appointments because you are concerned about me. For lending me very interesting books to foster conversation in the lab. For opening your mind to a whole new way of thinking in accepting philosophical musings in your lab. For being kind to my philosophy teachers when you meet them. For encouraging me even when you know my grades are not so hot. For reprimanding me when you note I am not studying hard enough or am being unkind. For being a model of perseverance as you try to balance the responsibilities of a mother, lab work, and a teaching job. Thank you.

Dr. Brewer

Fr. Fisher – for being an inspiring spiritual director throughout this second year. For being on call even on Easter Sunday at the Shrine! For always waving and saying hello when you see me, and asking how chemistry is going. For discussing the Nicomachean Ethics with me, and pointing out to my surprise that I was falling into a Cartesian pit. For making sure I don't miss my bus when I fall asleep in the cafeteria. For ensuring that Sonja doesn't work me too hard. Thank you.

Fr. Fisher says Mass

Fr. Ray – it's the little things that count. Thank you for always giving me a friendly hello and "good morning" every morning when I pass you at the Shrine at 7:30AM. For reminding me to say my rosary. Thank you.  

Marcio, Scott & Chris – for making Physics a fun experience that I will never forget! For teaching me humility by setting up my lab reports as examples of what not to do in lab. For shooting steel balls at me after you expressly said not to play with them. For setting up circuits when I was lost in a jungle of capacitors, resistors, oscilloscopes, and banana plugs. For not making me work with Dan all semester. For appreciating the hard work I put into homework and being willing to help out if I needed it. Thank you so much!

Paul – for teaching me not to take myself so seriously, especially when you said that I should give up being mean for Lent. Thank you!  

Paul in lab

Alys – for being the best friend (other than my mother) that I could ever wish for. For listening to me rant and rave when no one else at school could even imagine me upset. For getting me out of the house once and a while. For showing me the "feminist" that I am (by your definition, of course). For accepting me for who I am with all my quirks and not trying to change me.  For never telling any of my secrets. For confiding in me, because no one has ever really done that before. For making sure I don't take myself or school too seriously in any fashion. Thank you! 

Msgr. Hughes and Fr. Baer – for editing/reading papers and offering support with my Ethics class this semester. For treating me as though you saw me every day although you only saw me once every week. For being proud of me. Thank you.  

Msgr. Hughes and Fr. Baer celebrate Easter Vigil

Fr. Pritzl – for always going out of your way to say hello to me at all social functions and when you see me around campus. For always asking me how I am doing even though I am only one student amongst dozens in the School of Philosophy. For complimenting my cooking. For driving all the way out here to the boonies for dinner when you barely even knew me, much less my family. For allowing me to do the dual degree because you knew it meant a lot to me. Thank you.

Fr. Pritzl

Mr. Mazzucca – for encouraging me to keep my chin up especially with regard to Physics (first semester was hard!) and to do the best I could under the circumstances. For telling me shocking though amusing stories about Judy Garland and life as a – what do you call it?-spook? For asking me how every exam goes. For noticing my moods. For helping me study Physics. For meeting my family and giving them a wonderful time at the party. Thank you.

Mr. Mazzucca

And finally-and quite simply-thank you God for such wonderful experiences and such blessed people in my life. I could not ask for more, and when I think back on the past year alone, I feel how little I really am. Thank you.

§ 5 Responses to Memories of Sophomore Year

  • peanut1red says:

    Wow – that post took up thirteen pages in word. WordPress is going to be on my tail soon! All my links got pushed down but I don’t care. The post will move off the front page soon and they will pop back up to the top again.

  • Father Joe says:

    Just edit the post by carefully reducing the size (width) of a few pictures slightly and the menu links will return to their proper places.

    Very nice tribute, especially toward your family, teachers and school friends. It was not necessary to mention me. My daily prayer for you is a given, but God is the one who showered his grace upon you. And you have cooperated with his favor by using your gifts wisely.

    Congratulations and much fatherly love,
    Father Joe

  • laura says:

    Your post made me sniffly. :-)

  • […] Genna is an Honors student at the university.  Several years ago she honored me as her sponsor for Confirmation.  I like to think of her as my god-daughter.  When she was very young she amazed us all by reading at Mass like an adult.  She is very bright and comes from a wonderful Catholic homeschooling family.  […]

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