Sophomore Truc Nguyen is a human science major in the NHS. Here, she reflects on her time at the Montserrat Retreat. Catholic Ministry’s annual sophomore retreat.
How has the school year been for you so far?
As a sophomore, I feel more confident and self-assured than I did last year. Since I am an introvert, I have a hard time reaching out to new people, but I have learned from current friendships that courage goes a long way in making new connections. I have a great group of friends who I was so excited to see after a long summer apart, and it’s amazing that we can continue these friendships right where we left off.
What made you sign up for the retreat?
Coming into my sophomore year, I am more aware of what I need and where to get it. If I don’t understand something in class, I’ll go to office hours or email the professor. If I need a place to study, I have an extensive repertoire of go-to study spaces. If I need to recharge and calm myself, I’ll go to a sacred space (like Dahlgren Chapel or Copley Crypt) and physically immerse myself in silence. However, at the beginning of this year, I still felt a disconnect between myself and my faith, and I craved a renewal of my relationship with God. I signed up for this retreat hopeful of the change that could happen and patient for what God has to say to me when I am wholly invested in listening.
Have you been on a retreat before?
Other than the Montserrat retreat, I have only been on one retreat, which was the Freshmen Loyola retreat. My first few weeks of college weren’t going very well; I didn’t like my classes and I had a hard time putting myself out there and making friends. The stress over my grades, making new friends, and doubts about my major were suffocating and burdensome, so I decided to escape and go on the Loyola retreat. It was one of the best decisions of my life because I realized that God can be found anywhere, if only I let myself find him. It was also on this retreat that I met one of my best friends, who continues to be a great companion on this faith journey.
What did you take back to campus from your experience?
Coming back from every retreat, I am always delightfully shocked to find something I didn’t think I needed. The things that mattered to me at the beginning of the retreat paled in comparison to the true worth of more important things, like the peace that God gives me, the assurance that everything will work out, and the goal of living with God. Did I still want to do well in my classes and get those pesky chemistry problem sets done? Yes, of course. But these seemingly important tasks were sidelined when I realized that my life does not revolve around grades or my resume.
A simple reminder that resonated with me on this retreat was that, unlike parents or employers, God doesn’t care what my resume or transcript looks like. He won’t care if I get an ‘A’ on an exam or if I get an internship. I realized that if the things I considered important weren’t what God considered important, then why do I worry about them? This is not to say that I’m going to blow off all of my midterms. The privilege of a Georgetown education should never be squandered, but at the end of this school year and eventually my time here as a Georgetown student, I’ll remember that to God, “faithful” looks better than “straight-A-student,” and what I’ve done matters less than who I’ve become.