Cura personalis, care for the whole person, is a term I have heard often at Georgetown. As an underclassman, I had brushed it off as another superficially treated facet of Georgetown’s Catholic identity. During this past Jesuit Heritage Week, however, I was able to reflect on the true meaning of this concept.

Ironically, Georgetown’s care of the whole person only became evident to me when I was forced to leave the Hilltop due to a sudden critical illness at this time last year.

My illness could not have come at a more inopportune time. I was just applying to Georgetown University Law Center, and I was beginning a new semester as the newly-elected president of the Philodemic Society and senior web editor of THE HOYA. I was pursuing a degree in the Government Honors Program and eagerly anticipating writing a thesis. Late in the fall semester, I had forged bright new friendships with then-seniors and was hoping to further them in the spring.

The future looked promising, but fate had other plans for me.

The oft-quoted saying, “life happens when you’re busy making other plans” seems appropriate here. It was with great sadness that I submitted my resignations to THE HOYA, the Government Honors Program and the Philodemic presidency.

I would not relive those moments for anything. It was as if everything I had worked for had faded away and all that remained was a strong sense of failure – an empty schedule and a semester of W’s (withdrawals) littered my transcript.

When I wished to withdraw entirely from all connections to this dark spot on my soul, I found Georgetown not willing to let me leave in disgrace. The then-editor in chief of THE HOYA told me, “You are more important as a person than any student organization. You need to take care of yourself above that.”

Over the course of the next few months, I was sent countless cards, phone calls, e-mail messages and flowers. It was the boyfriend of my best friend here that carried my luggage out to my mother’s car the day I filled out my request for a leave of absence. A Jesuit to whom I confessed comforted me as I expressed guilt and anxiety.

I was away from campus for my 21st birthday, but THE HOYA did not forget to send their regards.

To my surprise, countless individuals whom I had thought were indifferent or upset with me rallied to my side. Those whom I had bickered with nonsensically on the floor of the Philodemic suddenly became my Philodemic Family. I was shocked to see the names of two apparently sworn enemies next to each other on a “Get well” card.

Through this encounter, I discovered what was truly important in life – family, friends and respect for life, since we only have one short chance to live. I learned that my worth as a person was not defined by how many positions I held, the scarlet letter A on my transcript or what I did. Georgetown students cared for me as a person, not a debate president, webmaster, paper writer or worker.

Work should be done in light of the Jesuit motto, Ad Majoreum Dei Gloriam: for the greater glory of God. Georgetown has fostered faith in many of us: faith in ourselves, faith in others and faith in God.

At the end of the spring semester, I will leave Healy Gates for the last time, but Georgetown will never leave me.

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