Growing pains

720 lunch card swipes, end of the day prayers and infamous XPL car lines.

As a Xavier Saint, one has precisely 720 days to leave their mark on an environment where faith lives are fostered in ways unimaginable. In addition, a chance to impact a school founded upon the belief that learning with a higher purpose is a value applicable beyond the classroom and a bell that sounds Monday through Friday at 2:45 p.m.

Although these 720 days may be filled with what seems to be an endless amount of Canvas notifications, Monday mornings and Land’s End polos, they also include plenty of baby powder covered student sections, senior T’s, grand championships and early releases.

It’s easy to take these things for granted once repetition sets in, but Saints, stay involved and put in the effort.

Not for the college resume, but for the parents working two jobs in order to provide a holistic and Catholic education for their children, the thirty-year class reunion and the day that will come sooner than one might think.

This being an overcast and ordinary Sunday afternoon in May, when one walks across the stage in the Ron Thillen Gymnasium and out the too-heavy-to-hold-open doors without looking back to see if their locker is jammed, iPad charged or permission slip signed.

Parents, snap pictures and keep the macaroni necklace. Not for the grad party, but for the first three-day weekend when she decides to stay at college or the plane ticket he buys to study abroad.

As Xavier President Tom Keating frequently reminds students, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

Of course not making the team, getting a tardy slip and hitting an upperclassman’s car can make one feel as if the universe is working against them in every possible, dreadful and awkward way. I know this because it’s personal.

I’ve tried out, put in the effort and not made the cheer team. I’ve tried out, put in the effort and not made Chorale. I’ve tried out, put in the effort and not made Xhilaration. 

These setbacks have forced me to find myself encompassed by seclusion and self-doubt, a feeling that never goes away. It resurfaces every football game, Instagram post and Monday night show choir practice.

Trust me, I’ve been there. As hard as it is to believe these things are just growing pains, momentary reminders that life here on earth is not the final destination or place where Catholic education be treated as a right.

These privileges, these growing pains, allow students the opportunity to hear the words, “welcome back home.”

The faces on the walls and in the halls have been or still are fighting the same fight. For whether it’s the first day of freshman year or graduation, once a Xavier Saint, always a Xavier Saint.

Welcome back home.