"Comings and Goings"
As we thought about a “cover story” for the spring issue of RS Perspectives an idea popped up, one we named “Comings and Goings.” We have a variety of students majoring and minoring in our program, each with their own unique “perspective” on the department. We thought it would be interesting to invite a student who is just starting out to dialogue with a student who is graduating this year. Hydeia Wysinger ('25) and Molly Flood ('22) graciously agreed to carve out some time at the end of the quarter to share what they bring to--and take away from—the department. Perhaps we will make “Comings and Goings” a spring quarter tradition!
I believe that God has a special calling for my life. Growing up, I had the privilege to attend Catholic schools from preschool through 12th grade where I learned about God’s loving mercy and forgiveness. This is where the foundation for my faith life was developed with guidance from my parents and I knew that I wanted to have a long lasting relationship with God. When I was l preparing to apply for colleges, I was not sure exactly what I wanted to major in. However, I knew that I wanted to attend a faith-based institution that gave me the opportunity to take religious studies classes and continue to build on my relationship with God. Santa Clara University was my first choice because of its Jesuit values and faith-based learning. Before Fall Quarter officially started, I had the privilege of taking a religious studies class as my LEAD Week elective class. This is where I met Professor Sarita Tamayo-Moraga. I enjoyed her class so much that I declared a minor in Religious Studies and began working as a Student Assistant in the Religious Studies Department. In this role, I met a variety of professors that inspire and encourage me to continue pursuing my faith. Actively participating in Mass on Sundays and serving as the Liturgical Coordination Intern in Campus Ministry for the 2022-2023 school year, reaffirms my decision to minor in Religious Studies. Students in this department are extremely close-knit and constantly encourage one another. As I prepare for my sophomore year, I am excited to continue working with the religious studies department and growing in a faith-filled community that continuously strengthens my love, trust, and relationship with God.
Like any college experience, there are ups and downs. I came to college confused, disoriented about what I believed in, who I was, and who I wanted to be. But, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be who I am today without my experience as a Religious Studies major. I don’t mean that it “made” me one way or the other; rather, the professors that taught the captivating classes I had the honor of being a part of, gave the students gifts: gifts of knowledge, insight, and new understandings. But the best gift the Religious Studies department has given me is the opportunity to fully realize my own dignity and worth, and with that, understand my true desires and hopes for my life. This gift of an opportunity doesn’t come lightly and takes a lot of work and understanding. But, what I learned about myself, humanity and the entire web of life, has equipped me with the acknowledgment of my own dignity that I needed to have greater clarity of my own pursuit in life. With this greater clarity of myself comes the ability to critically think about the world around me and be a leader for the most imperative needs of our world. I am immensely grateful to the entire Religious Studies department for giving me a family at school, specifically, Professor Schutz, Professor KPI, Professor Gibson, Professor Gray, and all the students that have become such important and special people in my life.