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Where am I?

In this week's blog entry, Niki Amundsen talks about her struggle to maintain her faith after things didn't go as expected as she began at SCU.

Starting my freshmen year at Santa Clara I thought I had everything figured out. Although moving more than 800 miles away from home was nerve-racking, I had my faith to reassure me, like an invisible hug. My faith was my safe haven, a little corner of my mind where I could talk to God whenever something troubled me. After a blissful summer following my senior year, I came to Santa Clara believing I knew where I stood in my faith. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My first few weeks at Santa Clara were blissful. I loved meeting all the great people and the sunshine was a nice change from the rain I was used to. When I started having problems with my roommate my happy world began to crumble. Trivial problems grew into unsolvable issues. After weeks of trying to work through our differences, my roommate moved out. Although my living situation improved, it took a toll on my self-esteem. What kind of person was I if I couldn’t even work through my roommate issues? I found myself constantly on edge, wondering what other people in my residence hall thought of me.

I tried talking to God about my problems but I never seemed to get any answers. As days passed I became more and more frustrated with my situation. Because I had only been at Santa Clara for a few weeks I did not have many close friends to talk to about what I was going through. Coming from a close-knit high school I longed for a caring community at Santa Clara.

Throughout these first few weeks, the weekly 9pm Mass in the Mission was the only thing that kept me going. I loved the sense of inclusiveness at Mass. So each week I attended Mass, usually sitting alone in the midst of fellow students and wondering why all of this was happening to me. Couldn’t God just make it all go away? Mass was my safe place. I relied on the weekly service to bring me peace of mind. But I lacked a tangible connection to God outside of Mass. I prayed constantly asking God for a caring community, close friends, really anything to improve my current situation. And just when I had decided I’d had enough, God answered my prayers.

This answer came in the form of 50 smiling faces on the Search Retreat in November of my Freshman year. Through the many facets of that weekend at Mission Springs retreat center I found my community at Santa Clara. I created close bonds with the members of my small group and gained a universal sense of belonging within the Santa Clara community. That weekend I learned how to connect deeper with God in a variety of ways.

Through my continued engagement in the Search community I have been able to come to terms with less pleasant events during my freshman year and throughout my life. Search not only helped me strengthen my faith but gave me the opportunity to create lasting friendships.

Although I still don’t have everything figured out I have finally found my community within Santa Clara.