I graduate from the University of Southern Indiana in May, and all I can do is look back at my college career and see how much I have changed from my first day of freshman year. Not just growing as an individual, but spiritually.
I grew up in a Catholic family. I routinely attended religious-education class every Wednesday, church on Sunday and youth-group events throughout the year. I became involved with many activities over the years while I was in middle and high school. When deciding to go to college, I chose the best institute for my major … no, not USI. I went to Purdue University to begin my college career. I loved the campus, had a few friends going there with me, and joined a fraternity; I was set up to have the best time of my life and get an education on the way.
When the semester started, however, it became clear that classes were going to need more time than I anticipated – on top of chores, intramurals and other events through my frat house. Throughout all the madness I realized that I had lost connection with my faith. I stopped going to Mass every weekend and praying daily; I lost a connection that I never thought I would lose. Every time I would attempt to go to Mass, I would get caught up in my duties; and when I did go to Mass, I kept thinking about what I must do afterward.
I was at the lowest I had ever been in my life. I took a class and worked at Purdue the summer going into my sophomore year. Two weeks before classes started, I went home to see my family and to blow off some steam. I was depressed; I slept most of the time, and my parents knew something was up. The day I was supposed to go back to Purdue, when my dad hugged me and said that he loved me, I broke down in tears. I didn’t want to go back to a place where I felt blue! After talking for what seemed like an hour, the tears subsided when I concluded that I would be transferring to the University of Southern Indiana; it was like a light switch was turned on for the first time in almost a year.
I successfully transferred to USI, moved into an apartment and bought all my books for classes within a few days. During orientation, I came across the religious-life table where I was introduced to the Newman Catholic Community. I thought this would be a great opportunity to start over and rekindle my faith, as well as make new friends on campus. I went to the first Wednesday meeting and I knew I was in the right place. It was an instant feeling that I made the right decision to join. I kept coming back to the Wednesday meetings, then Sunday Masses. Service events came next. I started to become the person I wish I had at Purdue.
I have gone through so much to get to where I am today. As the current President of the USI Newman Catholic Community, I want to instill in the current students that we can always be better in our Catholic faith. We will never be God, but we can all be saints under God. My journey at USI may be ending, but I hope my story can impact others to be better students, leaders and followers.
Nick Scheller is a senior Computer Information Systems major from Haubstadt. Saints Peter and Paul Parish is his home parish.