In times of change, how do Anselmians react?

Crier Editorial

As Father Jonathan DeFelice O.S.B., president of the college, prepares to step down this spring many students prepare to make transitions of their down. Some are moving from being immature freshman who are unsure of themselves into collegiate scholars who are able to function on their own. Seniors are transitioning from being students into professionals in their fields. It is a time of change on the hilltop, and change is scary.

Change means adjusting from what we know to what we do not know. It means learning a whole new set of obstacles and failing over and over again as we learn to understand our new lives.

How do we deal with this?

We fail, we hurt, we try, and we fail again. We make the effort with no results. We become frustrated and take out our frustration on our friends and our families. We try to deal with our own emotions, but when our emotions get the best of us we hurt others around us so they too can be in our emotional freefall.

Then comes the guilt. We feel guilty for bringing others down into our dark place. Yet, we cannot help ourselves. Having someone else in the darkness makes it a little more bearable. Even though we are hurting we are hurting together and somehow that makes it better.

Father Jonathan is in a place of transition. Unlike us students, Father Jonathan has the wisdom of transition. He has journeyed through many obstacles in his life, and in his tenure as president of the college. He has made Saint Anselm what we know today.

Father Jonathan made school more affordable by raising 55 million dollars for student financial aid. He built Father Bernard Court, known as “uppers,” to give senior students a more communal living experience in their last year as Anselmians. He established the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, which has given the school national-recognition on the political stage.

Underneath all these accomplishments is a man who has been the leader of this institution for 24 years. He knows how to lead and how be in charge of this college. It is almost second nature to him.

But now he has to pass that leadership on. How does he do that?

Just like for students in a transitional phase, it will not be easy. It will be painful and difficult, and something that will take time to adjust to.

Students struggling with change can look to their college president now more than ever for leadership and guidance. He is experiencing change as well, and doing so with grace and spiritual guidance. He is embracing this change in his life.

As students we need to adopt this attitude. Instead of fighting the changes in our lives we need to embrace them as opportunities. Change is not our enemy.

Seniors venturing out into the real world are leaving behind a safe place, but that is the best and worst part. There is no telling where seniors will be in five years. Some will be married, have careers, children, homes, travel the world, and experience everything life has to offer.

Freshman, sophomores, and juniors will take another step forward in their college careers. They will establish themselves on this campus, and take on more leadership roles.

New editors of the Crier will take over next issue, and begin their time as campus news editors. They will learn how to put this paper together, while former editors learn to take a backseat and allow others to do their job.

We are all in transition, and we have a choice on how to make that transition. Do we want to resist it and make everyone around us miserable, or do we want to embrace what could be and jump forward?

Everyone will make their own choice, and as students figure out how to process this they can look to Father Jonathan as an example in both words and actions.