When I made the decision to attend UD, I already knew that I wouldn’t 100% fit in.
While raised Catholic, I had chosen theism instead, and I knew some of my moral and behavioral choices wouldn’t match up to the high standards of faithful Catholics. I had just registered to vote as well and had chosen to be unaffiliated, meaning that I wouldn’t be able to blend in with UD’s conservative community.
While not a fundamental aspect like religion or politics, I didn’t like cigs or beer, and I thought that I’d have to blend into the social spheres without taking part in the full experience.
These differences may mean that I have not experienced “UD” as fully as some of my Catholic, conservative and cig-loving peers. But to make such a statement would degrade my four years of academic, moral and social development to a mere comparison of others’ personal experience and growth.
These aspects of my identity that set me apart from my peers haven’t really changed over my four years here: I’m still not Catholic, I’m still opposed to joining a political party, including a conservative one and I still hate cigs — although I do like beer now.
Nevertheless, I’ve always felt a sense of belonging here. I consider UD a home. I feel like I belong to a community, and even groups of communities within the general one. The camaraderie of my Rome class still stands, and extends itself to other students; a friendly relationship with a professor can be a source for relationships with other students and faculty.
There is a basis of general respect and regard between people here, and at different levels and types depending on the particular environment. Despite all my ideological differences, that respect and regard is — usually — extended to me.
Such a state of affairs evidences a deeper foundation to UD’s identity and mission. I believe that UD is built on something not entirely reliant on religion or politics — if I dare make that assertion.
I return to the age-old and maybe overused phrase of “independent thinking,” and to the indispensable thing called “truth.” If truth is our aim, and if it is accompanied by charity and justice, it seems to easily and logically follow that UD is a community which respects and includes others despite their differences.
As long as the individual and the community remember the ultimate aim of truth, charity and justice, UD is a place that anyone can call home.