Common Good Profile
Navigating Higher Education with Catholic Studies
By JOHN F. BOYLE AND MICHAEL J. NAUGHTON
As chairman of the Department and director of the Center for Catholic Studies, we spend a lot of time helping high school students and their parents navigate the often difficult process of choosing a university. Our first question is simply this: What do you want at the end of four years? We then propose three goals for students to consider: F irst, you want your faith stronger than when you arrived, and you want it informing every aspect of your life, including your studies. S econd, you want your moral character stronger than when you arrived. That is about making good friends. Good friends help you; bad friends hurt you. T hird, you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in your parents’ basement; you want to be prepared to shoulder the full responsibilities of adulthood.
Unfortunately, these three goals are increasingly elusive for students. Research tells us that a majority of young people lose their faith in college. They connect with weak friends who drag them down to screen fixations, excessive alcohol consumption, pornography addiction and other unhealthy habits. The result is that many students graduate, but only some are prepared to take on adult responsibilities and default to the proverbial basement. For students who seek to mature and develop in college and take control of their education, Catholic Studies is rich in opportunities to grow in one’s faith, to develop good and deep friendships, and to prepare to embrace joyfully the responsibilities of adulthood. FAITH: A VISION OF LIFE Caravaggio’s painting, “The Calling of St. Matthew” (1600),
hangs over the fireplace in the Common Room of Sitzmann Hall, the home of Catholic Studies. This is an intentional choice because it captures the moment of Christ’s call and St. Matthew’s response. It is as if the tax collector is saying, “Who? Me?”
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