The Things We Value and Strive For

Paul Rochford, COL’20

Paul Rochford is a sophomore in the College majoring in History and minoring in Russian and Jewish Civilization

How has this semester been for you so far?

Returning to Georgetown at the start of this semester, I was excited to reunite with old friends, make new ones, and begin a more focused study in my academic interests. As the semester continued, I found that I was really enjoying my classes even amidst the workload, and I was glad to be back in the university atmosphere after a summer of working and interning back home. As usual, however, things started to pile up and at times, the joys of living and learning were overshadowed by stress and busyness.

What retreat did you attend and why?

I attended the Sophomore Retreat. As the name suggests it is intended for second-year students of all religious and non-religious backgrounds with a focus on the theme of vocation. The retreat came to my attention through my job with the Office of Campus Ministry and was advertised as a relaxing weekend and a great way to take a break from the rush of the semester. A student photographer was needed for the event – a part of my job description, so I decided to give it a go and sign up.

Have you been on a retreat before? If so, why? If not, why not?

Before attending this retreat, I had never attended a retreat with Georgetown before. It wasn’t for any particular reason that I hadn’t, other than that I had never thought about it before or found myself free on a weekend when one was offered. After my experience on the retreat this semester, I wish I would have taken the time to attend a retreat my freshman year; it was a truly transformative experience.

What are your thoughts on the theme of vocation throughout Sophomore Retreat?

As a sophomore, it is easy to get caught up in taking interesting and exciting classes, participating in organizations and clubs on campus, applying for internships, and enjoying the other exciting parts of university life, but too often we forget to take a step back, breathe, and examine our lives to see whether the things we spend our time and money on have an aim or focus that is in line with the things we value and strive for. The discussion on vocation that took place at the retreat, including remarks by Rev. Oskvig and a value-prioritization activity led by Beth Harlan from the Cawley Career Center, were extremely effective in guiding participants like me to take that step back, refocus, and be inspired to continue to work hard and achieve great results.

What will you take from your retreat back to campus as you finish the rest of the semester and your overall school year?

With the reminder I gleaned from the retreat discussion to periodically step back, refocus, and keep in mind my vocation – my personal calling – I am now more equipped to wisely manage my time and make important decisions through my years at university that will shape and direct both my professional and personal futures.