By Rachel Zanfardino, FC 20
Around this time last year, I was graduating from the best four years of my life. The kind of place that helps you to find yourself and feel that you might have an independent and unique purpose on this planet, even if you have no idea what that purpose is. Fairfield University constantly challenged me to reflect on the big stuff, and one of the hardest questions was: Who am I, whose am I, and who am I called to be? The first two were checked and checked.
But the part of who am I called to be? Well, I was going off to serve a marginalized community in Syracuse, NY with FrancisCorps so that was who I was called to be for now. However, I was hoping this year of service and reflection would help me make those big life decisions of who I was going to be in the long run. After graduation, many of my friends were going out into the world, getting their first jobs and apartments, moving away from home and starting their lives as adults. I wasn’t really ready to be an adult. In fact, I still don’t really consider myself an adult, just a big kid trying to coexist with everyone who already graduated into adulthood.
During this year of service, I think I found the answer of who I am called to be but not in the dichotomous black or white way that I was looking for. I thought I would figure out what my job would be, especially because society relies a lot on jobs, careers and money. When you meet someone, one of the first questions you ask them is “what do you do?” And I have come to realize, why does it matter? Why as a society do we fixate so much on what we do and hardly ever focus on who the people are behind the job?
As I have been worrying so much about my life after this year, where will I work, how will I pay my loans, how I will support myself, I remembered something else a friend of mine asked me: “If someone were to read your Eulogy what would you want it to say?” Whoa, kind of a weird question! Even though I am at the ripe old age of 23, I am not quite ready to think about my death. But then I got thinking… what would I want someone to say, how would I want to be remembered? Would I want the qualities that someone talked about in my eulogy to be the same qualities that I list on my resume for a potential job? Is there more to listing things like, shows up on time, works well independently or in groups, great Excel skills?
These are the qualities that you have to list when trying to market yourself to others. But are they the things that really matter about who you are? FrancisCorps is not only going on my actual resume but also my life resume. It is going under a list of experiences that have taught me to build relationships with people who are different than I am, to be a better listener (even as a huge talkative extrovert), to grow in empathy and understanding for marginalized populations and, most importantly, to voice my ideas even when others disagree with me. I am called to be Rachel. A person, who acknowledges the importance of others, leads with love, and preaches the Gospel, only using words if she has to. I am not a person who will be defined by careers and societal expectations, losing myself to the opinions and standards of others.
A eulogy is kind of like a life resume to God. It comes from the people who knew you best and outlines the important qualities that you had throughout your life. I don’t know what people will say in mine, but I hope that what they do say is that I treated others with kindness, and utilized the voice and the skills I obtained this year to make a difference in the lives of others.