During the five years prior to the beginning of my college education, I attended a Catholic homeschooling co-op. It was there that I grew up, made most of my friends, and had my first crush. After high school, I was enrolled at Rock Valley College at the age of seventeen.
My first semester was quite emotional and overwhelming. I suppose it was a combination of social shock and the overload of confusing technical homework for my mass communications courses which also took up hours of my out-of-class time. Seeing some of the high school friends once in a blue moon was a great consolation, which gladdened my heart. They were Catholic, like me, and I felt safe and comfortable with them.
My next semester I was more familiar with the campus and more used to the atmosphere there. During this second semester, I took a public speaking course. The professor said the first brief, five-minute talk could be about anything that a student viewed as “important.” So being somewhat of a bold guy when it comes to sharing and defending my Catholic faith, I wrote and gave the speech about the roles that my faith plays in my life.
It was my first speech, and it was in a room with unfamiliar people. I had no idea what they would think or what their reactions would be. I discussed how my faith gives me meaning, teaches me to love, unites my family, and how God is a big part of my life. To my surprise, while delivering the speech, I saw kind smiles and nods of approval. They were very supportive which was nice.
As the semester progressed, I talked with one guy in particularly and came to know him pretty well. I also noticed that in almost every one of his speeches he quoted the Bible. I knew he and a friend of his were both Christian, but I learned something more about him late in the semester. In chatting with him before class I found that we were both altar servers and that I used to go to Mass at his parish. Though this was just a small coincidence, it warmed my heart. I now felt like I knew and understood this young man in a deeper way. I don’t think I will be forgetting him anytime soon. RVC was the home for this friendship to be born and to grow.