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Halfway and Already a Wild Ride

This past week wrapped up my Sophomore year at SNC and what a wild ride it has been over these last two years! The academic year featured two very different semesters in their triumphs and challenges and over the last two years, I have grown so much, especially in my faith.

First Semester

Fall Semester was easily the hardest semester academically that I have been through. I was taking two very hard (and extremely different) math courses and a course in what was the most confusing language ever for me to understand for Computer Science. On top of those I was also in theology which required a lot more reading than I was ready for; I’m also very bad at understanding theological books, so it was another layer of challenge. There were many long nights and so many hours studying in GMS and doing math homework in the basement.

However, some of my favorite memories happened when we were all sleep-deprived, covered in homework, and just so slap happy. Here are my top 10 memories from that fall semester:

  1. Kairos Retreat at the Abbey
  2. Chiara Praise and Worship Adoration Night
  3. Pushing each other with roller chairs down the GMS basement after too many hours of doing Calc homework
  4. Reboot with Chris Stefanick
  5. Katie’s birthday at Red Lobster
  6. Going to the Abbey for Kylie’s birthday for Mass and pizza afterward
  7. Olive Garden with Maria and Blues Clues
  8. Sun peering through the church windows while singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet
  9. Magic School Bus Marathons (almost) every Monday with popcorn
  10. All the Knight Masses and Dales

and so many more moments of crazy pure laughter, joy, and even a few tears with friends.

January Break

I had a lot of fun experiences during the six-week break between the semesters including going back to work at Schreiber!

Other memories include visiting Kelsey and Leah in West Bend and going to Holy Hill, making gingerbread cookies with Eleanor, and making so many rosaries. During this break, I was able to binge-listen(?) to the entire Blessed is She podcast called “The Gathering Place” which has revolutionized my relationship with Jesus and my faith life.

It was a great mini “break” between semesters and a way to refocus my mind before hitting the books again.

Second Semester

As we all know, these past few months have brought us into a whole new set of challenges. I’m going to break the semester up to two different parts because it was two very different experiences. I don’t know if I have any major memories from this semester (sadly most of them were canceled), but here’s a bit of a recap.

The first half of the semester (pre mid-March) was going amazing. I was loving my classes, especially computer science, and was starting to develop some great new friendships. Compared to the first semester, I had so much free time and was really able to grow my faith relationship. It was the first semester that I was able to daily mass and on average spent over twelve hours a week in church. Getting to spend so much time on my relationship with Jesus was truly the highlight of my semester and I loved every minute of it (especially Adoration).

Then suddenly everything changed. In the course of two days my world was flipped upside down. We were being sent home, everything was closing, and so many fun events I was looking forward to were cancelled. Honestly, it was originally such a rough transition. I went from not coming home for spring break because I was supposed to be in South Carolina, to living solely at home and not really leaving the house for the past two months with not much end in sight.

I am very thankful for all that I have and especially that I have a loving family and home to safely come back to; however, this doesn’t mean it was all sunshine and flowers. If you have known me over the past two years, you probably know how much I love St. Norbert with all my heart. During breaks, I am usually counting down the days until I get to go back and see my friends again. So being taken from this environment, especially all the seniors I so deeply love, it took a while to accept and get used to.

Also, online learning is just so different. I took a few online classes during summer in high school and I didn’t love it, but it gave me the opportunity to take other courses I did love during the school year. I am so blessed to love my professors and my classmates and having class without physically being with them was harder than I was anticipating. All my professors did an incredible job with all the work they put in making the transition to online delivery so smooth.

The course that really surprised me this semester was Computer Graphics. Personally, it went better when I was at home versus on campus. I was able to put a bit more effort and work into each project with the extra time I had. The last project was completely up to us and I loved the illustration project so I decided to represent each member of the Holy Family in their own drawings. I spent hours at a time creating them and I just got lost in the design and loved it. You can see the final projects in the header image for the post and I’m super happy with how they each turned out!

Overall, it isn’t the semester I was expecting, but I was able to make the best of (almost) everyday. Not everyday was easy, but I did it! We made it! I can’t wait to (hopefully) be back on campus in the fall with my favorite people.

The biggest change over the past two years has been the development of my faith and especially over the past semester. Looking back two years ago to when I graduated high school, I feel like a completely different person and so much of that is due to falling in love with Jesus more and more each day.

I have loved going to church for a long time, but before college, I think it was more of for a social aspect. Community is a big part of the Catholic Church, but there is so much more. I’m so thankful for a college and so many Catholic communities and resources that have opened my eyes to the so much more that there is.

So many people lose their faith in college because they are no longer forced to go; however, just like the rest of my life, I’ve never been ordinary. I’m so thankful for incredible church families both at home in Prince of Peace and at school in St. Norbert College Parish. Above all, thank you to my incredible friends who push me to a life of holiness each day and help me to fall in love with Jesus more and more.

Each step in the journey isn’t easy; however, it’s possible with Jesus right next to me. Looking back on my life, there are so many moments I thought it was impossible to go on, but looking back, Jesus was right next to me for all of it and protecting me for how much worse it could have been. Without His love, it would have been impossible.

If you would have told me what my life looks like now back when I graduated high school two years ago, honestly even at the beginning of the semester, I probably would have laughed while secretly hoping you were right. A Psalm verse has really stuck out to me recently “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). We don’t get a five year plan from God, and as seemingly nice as that would be, I feel like I would try to follow it so closely I wouldn’t live or I would try to mess it up. But we do get the next step. He lights up the path to give us the next step. Sometimes we need to step out into uncertainty.

I’ve been reflecting on all the incredible experiences that I have had during my time at St. Norbert and how many things went into those experiences that led us to that point. The biggest examples I have of this are my best friends and roommates along with different jobs and presentations I have gotten a chance to work for and attend. How many little and big moments that went into our paths crossing and us deciding to live together or down the hall or in the same major. God truly has put so many incredible people in my life from St. Norbert and I’m so thankful.

Here is a quote that I think perfectly sums up my college career so far:

I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be

Joyce Meyer

I will forever be grateful for these past two years and how much I have grown and developed thanks to so many caring and loving people in my life. I can’t wait to be back at my second home in fall with some of my favorite people!

Hello! My name is Cassie Nooyen and I am a sophomore at St. Norbert College double majoring in Computer Science with an emphasis in Graphic Design and Mathematics. Explore my blog and learn a little bit about my adventure called life!

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