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My first semester at Arcadia was the fall of 2019. Back then, I was a pretty shy first-year commuter. College was a different kind of experience that I had to get used to. It didn’t help that by keeping to myself a lot.
Then, right when I started to come out of my shell and make some friends, we moved to online classes. Of course, just my luck.
Coming back to campus, I knew I wanted to improve my college experience by making some like-minded friends. While we were online, I had joined a couple of clubs and was looking forward to meeting everyone in person. One of these clubs was the Newman Club, Arcadia’s Catholic Campus Ministry. I was surprised and delighted when I learned this club existed and joined immediately. After meeting throughout the online semesters, I wasn’t so nervous that I might repeat my lonely first semester since I would have familiar faces to come back to.
Newman Club is a relatively small group, which has actually been helpful in making us all fast friends. Our meetings are once a week, and we usually discuss aspects of the church, Catholic teachings, and our experiences as Catholics in the real world. Meeting with the club has been a lot of fun. We all get along really well.
While our meetings are technically scheduled for one hour between 7 and 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, we usually end up staying late, chatting and having a good time. We were having such a great conversation at one meeting that we didn’t realize it was almost 10 p.m. And our “friendsgiving” potluck was a great meeting to have after a long day of classes. The club is the perfect combination of discussing our religion and getting to know each other. Having these friends that share my faith values is invaluable to me because religion has always been an important aspect of my life—but also because having good friends improves my college life exponentially.
A lot of my family members mistake Arcadia as a religiously affiliated school. While that may not be the case, I make sure to tell them about this religious club that brings together like-minded students, among other similar clubs for other groups. College is about a lot more than just classes and credits. Clubs and extracurriculars bring students together and foster a larger community. I went to Catholic school my whole life until now, so I really appreciate still being able to have faith as part of my school experience in higher education.
And when considering how many alumni still stay in contact, along with the positive experience I’ve personally had with the club so far, I feel confident that I can make lifelong friends in the Newman Club.