Month: March 2016

#UDtravelingscarf

As a senior mechanical engineering student, graduation looms with mixed emotions. While I love UD and don’t want to leave, the perpetual exhaustion and stress of being a college student will not be missed.

This week was a week that made graduating seem more exciting than sad (a nice way of saying that last week kicked my butt). Between multiple important tests and myriad assignments, I found myself scrambling to even pretend to have it together. What it helped me realize, though, was that I have not gotten this far on my own.

I have worked very hard to get my degree, but I have a phenomenal support system that has gotten me just as far (if not farther) than my hard work. This network includes my family, of course, but I am realizing now that it is also my roommates, who make dinner and listen to my engineering woes even though they don’t understand. It is also my classmates, who take the time to explain things a third time or lament a mean professor together.

It is these people that have pushed me toward my diploma when I thought I was too tired to finish. What a beautiful reminder that we are all in this struggle together.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the ninth in a series. 

 

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#UDtravelingscarf

After losing a sister to cancer this past November and preparing myself for my 60th birthday in May, I have been reflecting on my life and my experiences.  What can I do to make my life more meaningful?  Meeting new people does not cost a dime, just a little time!  Thus, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf. You just never know how a new acquaintance can change your life forever. On Monday, February 29th, I met Gretchen Kelly at Starbucks to receive my scarf.  We had a lovely conversation and shared a lot about ourselves in a short 30 minutes.  As we left Starbucks, we hugged and said, “Let’s do this again!” I wore my scarf proudly on March 1st. On Wednesday, March 2nd, I passed on my scarf to Katie Burns, a fourth-year engineering student.  We met for lunch and had an amazing conversation. The overall experience was WONDERFUL!

As I have become more seasoned, I have learned to see my glass as half full instead of half empty.  I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life, such as a beautiful sunset. I have learned to pay my own way. I have learned to appreciate the fact I can get out of bed every morning to start a new day. I have learned God is good, and He does not give you anything you cannot handle. But most of all, I have learned that I am not perfect! I am thankful for my lovely adult children and my entire family. I am thankful for the opportunities the University of Dayton has given me. I thank God for my law school family and the gift of their friendships. I appreciate all the hard work that the Women’s Center does to make the women on campus better people. I am looking forward to a better year and a 2016 full of many blessings. This is what I wish for everyone.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the eighth in a series. 

#UDtravelingscarf

The beginning of my journey started with meeting a lovely young lady and getting the scarf. She was so spirited. We met at Starbucks and ended up just talking about everything and exchanging life stories for more than an hour. It was effortless and, hopefully, the beginning of a new friendship.

The next day was just as marvelous. When I was a freshman at the University of Dayton, two of the most wonderful young ladies took me under their wings and became my best friends, Linda and Emily. We spent so much time together—but life seems to separate us more and more every year. One graduated, one cooped, and that left me here at UD. I’ve been searching for that kind of companionship ever since, but no matter how hard I look, I will never be able to replace them.

The day I had the scarf was the first time all three of us got together in close to four months. We all got together in Cincinnati and attended a concert called Winter Jam 2016. It is a concert featuring 10 different Christian bands. The concert lasted over six hours, but it was amazing all the same—not only being with my best friends but also being under one roof with 17,000 Christians with the same goal. To worship the Lord, our God.

All three of us spend the weekend together talking, loving, worshiping together. The scarf was with us the whole time, serving as a friendly reminder that sisterhood is one of the most magical things in a woman’s life because they will always be there no matter the time or distance. Having those two girls’ support will always be my greatest memory and my most precious experience.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the seventh in a series. 

#UDtravelingscarf

I wore the scarf on Friday, Feb 19. It was 7 a.m. when I was running to the bus stop to catch the bus for work and made it there the same time as the bus. As I was digging through my pocket for the bus token, I tried to act like a decent human being and make polite conversations with the bus driver:

“Whew, just made it today!”

Without missing a beat, the bus driver replied,

“Don’t worry. I would’ve waited for you.”

As someone born and raised in big cities, I’ve never been used to genuine kindness from strangers. I smiled at the driver and must have looked a bit awkward in my token-digging process. The driver continued,

“Just go ahead and sit down.”

“Are you sure?” I said, completely shocked by kindness, again.

“Yeah! This is MY bus!”

I sat down. Heart full of renewed confidence for humanity. So much so that when I got off the bus, I—the poster child of bystander effect—removed a loose cardboard box from the middle of the street. Two seconds afterwards, before I even started to congratulate myself on such an unusual selfless act, I heard a voice coming from an open window of a car at the intersection:

“Thank you for moving the box away!”

Wow! This is how a heart can grow three sizes in a day—by wearing a traveling scarf and paying it forward.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the sixth in a series. 

#UDtravelingscarf

I spent a day with a beautiful brown and gold scarf, a scarf that deserved to be the showpiece of my clothes for the day. I chose a long, black dress and tied the scarf around my waist trailing down my right hip. The scarf ended its journey with me by attending practice for the Junior Gems, an all-girls flat track roller derby team. My reflection focuses on my connection to this unusual community of women: roller derby moms and our derby daughters.

Frequently, when I mention my daughters and I skate, or have skated, people ask if it is still like the roller derby they remember from the 1970s when it was staged and violent. The answer is an emphatic, “No!”  Roller derby today is mostly a women’s sport in which we challenge social norms about body image, women’s sexuality, and women’s vulnerability. While it is a full contact sport, we spend as many as eight hours a week on the rink training so that every member of the team knows how to use her body effectively and in coordination with her teammates.  We celebrate that women on the team come from a variety of social backgrounds, sexual identities, and body types.  But, most of all, I celebrate our community because it is a place to heal and to find strength for women who are recovering from physical and emotional injuries. I hope that others who wore the scarf and saw the scarf will benefit from echoes of that strength.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the fifth in a series. 

#UDtravelingscarf

Scarves . . . I have an obsession with scarves. It used to be earrings, but now it is scarves. You can take a plain old solid colored outfit, add a scarf and bam—you’ve got a look. The boring now becomes interesting, whimsical, bold, flowing, graceful . . . and, at the very least, colorful. But scarf-wearer beware: there is great skill required when wearing a scarf. I have had a little woven number get tangled up in an earring (this explains my past obsession), a fringed winter model flop into my tomato soup, that silky spring sheer slide right off into the toilet bowl, and in a frightening Isadora Duncan moment, an infinity get looped around my office door handle! So, why bother? Well, there are two sides to every coin. The right scarf can cover any and all coffee stains, hide that line of projectile spit up that naturally occurred between daycare drop-off and work, fluff up the flat-chested, and offset the middle-aged belly bumps. So it is my opinion the pros of scarf-wearing definitely outweigh the cons—and no matter how risky, it is still infinitely safer than sporting a pair of stilettos.

Long live the scarf!

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the fourth in a series. 

#UDtravelingscarf

The idea of meeting other women on campus is always of interest to me.  I’m a storyteller, and I love to hear the stories of others. And sometimes, I write about them.  The idea of a scarf is also significant to me because I wear scarves all the time, and each one carries a memory for me.

As I met the first woman for the exchange, I was fascinated by her background and why she came to UD, what she loves about UD, and why she was doing the journey of the traveling scarf. Oddly enough, while I’m old enough to be her mother, we had so much in common. I hope to see her again.

The other young woman I gave the scarf off to also has a fascinating background: her parents are from Venezuela and now live in Cincinnati.  Her story of why she came to UD, what she loves about UD, and why she was doing the journey of the traveling scarf mirrored the older woman and me. I could have been this young woman’s grandmother.

The reality is each of us has a story and each of us has a commonness in our womanhood.  What a gift—to have the ability to share and tell our stories to a complete stranger and walk away blest in our womanhood.

Editor’s note: Eight scarves are connecting 87 University of Dayton women. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience during her time with the scarf. This post is the third in a series.