Three of my four college years were spent living and engaging in the Cortina Community. To say these three years were life changing would not be giving them enough credit. In many ways I am both jealous of and excited for the upcoming freshman class for the having the opportunity to be a part of this community when beginning their journey at Creighton. However, I was blessed to be challenged and inspired by my peers, resident advisors, and those whom I served (yes, service was not a one way street) all while being a part of a caring community.
Before becoming a part of Cortina, I was ignorant and happy to be so. Through our Sunday community time, service sites, and community conversations, I was challenged to actually open my eyes and confront the injustices in our society. Service at Siena Francis, a local homeless shelter, started as an uncomfortable endeavor for me. How was I, a 20 year old college student, suppose to connect with someone who lost their home, job, and is struggling with addiction? For some reason I could not get around the prejudices I walked into Siena Francis with. However, week after week, I returned to serve breakfast and participate in their weekly celebration of sobriety. Slowly, I began to get to know the clients of Siena Francis and was able to see them for individuals they were as opposed to defining them by their homelessness.
These moments at Siena Francis, along with a service trip centered around homelessness in Denver, ignited my passion and shaped my post-graduate plans. By addressing my prejudices and deciding to focusing my energy on the issue of homelessness, I ended up a volunteer at a transitional housing facility in Omak, Washington. Sure, my case may be slightly more drastic compared to most of my peers, but Cortina provided a safe space where I could confront my ignorant attitude. I was able to reflect on my beliefs, be exposed to social justice issues, expand my comfort zone and gain meaningful relationships, all of which was done alongside my peers and supervisors.