Much more than a job
I knew exactly what I was searching for when I entered campus ministry: a job. I had heard an announcement about an opening for desk receptionists in mass and thought I might as well apply for a work-study job. I was not expecting much; simply hoping to make a little money while answering a few phone calls, helping people with their questions and other basic office work. When I came back to school and had my first few days of formation for orientation I began to understand that I had gotten much more than just a job on campus. The campus ministers and all of the interns were not only encouraging in helping me do well at my job, but also were so intent on getting to know me as a person. I was being welcomed into a community, making a home for
myself at Santa Clara. This was already more than I had ever hoped for.
I was so excited and relieved to see some other campus ministry interns hanging out on the infamous couches when I walked in for my first day. Little did I know, at this point, that this was far from a rare occurrence. As I witnessed the singing, storytelling and overall goofiness that occurred on the office couches I quickly picked up on the fact that this was far from the average office environment. Although working at the desk, I do not get to witness much of the work that occurs within the recesses of the intern’s and minister’s offices, I do get to be a part of another form of work that is just as important. At first one may see the fun and games that occur within the walls of Campus Ministry as goofing off or procrastination, which maybe at times it is, but I have also come to realize, as I have witnessed it many a time, that this is a pivotal part of what those in Campus Ministry do. This is a form of ministering to the needs of the Santa Clara University whether that is a need for laughter, an uplifting conversation or a listening ear. Sitting at the front desk, I have had the opportunity to see the many people that pass through Campus Ministry, some briefly and other repeat customers who love to claim a chair for the day. I see the effect that being in this environment, where others are in such genuine communion with one another, has on people. There are ways in which it brightens their day and teaches them a new way of being, spreading that light, love and the presence of God to the rest of the campus whether they realize it or not.
It took me awhile to recognize that I had become a part of this infectious environment, that the contact I have with each person that comes into Campus Ministry, whether they are a newcomer or a regular, is their introduction to this amazing community. And with this realization, I found something else; I found purpose. I cannot guarantee that in Campus Ministry you will find exactly what you are looking for, but often the greatest things to discover are the things we did not even know we were missing.