Incoming freshmen from the Class of 2020 are sharing their Creighton experience, and we welcome you to follow along as they embark on their college journey! From move-in and Welcome Week, to meeting new friends and professors, they’re sharing their new Bluejay life through videos, blogging, and social media.
On to Year Two
By Donna Shahbazi | May 8, 2017
And in the blink of an eye, my first year of college is complete. Freshman year at Creighton University went beyond all of my expectations. I started off as a nervous, anxious freshman ready to take on this new chapter in my life and am now closing this chapter as a strong, well rounded, new Donna.
Looking back as the first year has officially come to a close, I have so much to thank Creighton for. Thank you Creighton University for teaching me how it’s okay to not have everything figured out, that it’s okay to admit you need help and ask for it (especially in your academics), it’s okay to be homesick, and to always fight for what you believe in (even if it’s a solo battle), despite what the social norms may be.
Thank you Freshman Leadership Program for providing me with 59 floor mates that I consider family. FLP will always hold a special place in my heart as it taught me so much more than leadership, but about the variety of leadership styles and more importantly, community.
Thank you Creighton Students Union Program Board for pushing me out of my comfort zone and providing me with one of the coolest positions on campus by letting my creative juices flow as the Creative Marketing Coordinator. Through this position, I have been able to grow with 11 amazing coordinators and one astounding advisor as well as see my work all across campus and the excitement they bring to our programs and students.
Thank you Creighton Student Employment for granting me a campus job in the Student Leadership and Involvement Center with the greatest boss and professional staff who have pushed me to be the best version of myself, been there through the tough moments, and have given me pep talks before each Thursday night physics exam.
Thank you Campus Ministry and Young Life College for a fantastic year of growing in my relationship with Christ and building relationships with other followers on campus. Campus ministry and Young Life College are probably the two most inclusive organizations I have seen on campus and for that I am grateful – come one come all.
Thank you to the women of Delta Zeta. These women have become my best friends and sisters all in one semester and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We have been through a crazy spectrum of moments together, but this sisterhood is unbreakable. Huge thank you to the previous and current executive team, my big, grand big, and great grand big and most of all, my pledge class. Delta Zeta is not for four years; it is for life.
Thank you Creighton for providing me with a friend group (and future roommates) that I will forever be thankful for. Oh, and thank you Creighton Athletics for providing us some awesome study breaks.
Thank you Creighton Year 1 for the memories, the heart break, the tears and the growth. This year I reached an all-time low of self-esteem, questioned just about everything, went on spontaneous road trips, was broken as three friends joined the Lord in Heaven, and gained a whole new appreciation for my hometown - and this University was here through it all; there’s no better place I’d rather be.
And with that, here’s to sophomore year and the years to follow!
Keep Calm and Get Involved
By Donna Shahbazi | February 7, 2017
This new semester has brought new and endless opportunities to get involved in my experience here at Creighton University, and I can definitely say that it has truly enhanced my college experience. One of two new things I experienced this semester was applying for the Creighton Students Union (CSU) Program Board. I was blessed with a position on the board as the creative marketing coordinator. What that means is that I have the opportunity to advertise for the many events that our board hosts including posters, social media and t-shirts! It’s so cool to see what my peers plan for our student body and how the creative juices flow, and I’m able to put out our events in many ways on campus. Program Board has brought me 10 new best friends, a new place on campus that I spend my days and has shown me a side of myself that I never knew I had.
The second thing I got involved in was Greek Life. I had the pleasure of becoming a Delta Zeta. Going through recruitment was very tiring, however I got to meet hundreds of amazing girls throughout the process and have gained so many new friends! Delta Zeta has brought me tons of new sisters that I am ever so grateful for. Sisters who will forever have my back, will be there through the thick and the thin, and push me to be the best version of myself. Delta Zeta says it’s not for four years, it’s for life.
My advice for anyone and everyone attending Creighton University, is to get involved. You won’t regret it, and I can promise that!
One School, Hundreds of Opportunities
By Donna Shahbazi | November 21, 2016
Creighton University is not exaggerating when they say that they provide their students with dozens of opportunities. In just this past week, I have had two amazing opportunities that I would not have had if I did not attend Creighton. On November 11th, I hopped on a charter bus with 50 other Creighton students and staff from the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (SCSJ), none of whom I was close friends with. We were on our way to Washington D.C. to attend the Ignatian Family Teach In conference, where we heard many guest speakers and attended breakout sessions with other Jesuit Universities and high schools, and went on two legislative visits.
First of all, how amazing is it that I got to go to Washington D.C. just two days after the 2016 election? I was able to visit the White House, the Washington Monument, The Capitol, and The Library of Congress. I had never been to D.C. before then, so it was a very cool experience for me to be a part of. Along with that, we had the opportunity to sit down and have a meeting with Nebraska’s Senator, Deb Fisher and staff, along with Nebraska’s Representative, Jeff Fortenberry’s Chief of Staff. During these two visits, we were able to discuss specific policies and how our Jesuit values tie back to the United States Government. My trip to Washington D.C. was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend each Creighton student to attend at least once before their time at graduation.
Another great opportunity that Creighton University provided to me, within just a few days of coming back from the capital, was the opportunity to attend a variety of Opus Prize events across campus. Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule I was only able to attend one event, however that one event that I did attend was amazing and very impactful. I attended the Opus Prize Interfaith Prayer Service held at St. John’s. It was fascinating to see a variety of different faith backgrounds gather together, each practice their own faith, yet all in unity and together in peace and love. And that is how I feel that Creighton’s campus. We all come from different cities, even countries, and different family backgrounds, yet we all gather together in unity, peace and love. Go Bluejays!
Finding Peace in the Midst of a Battle
By Donna Shahbazi | October 19, 2016
“Wait, it’s October?” I still cannot believe that over six weeks of my college experience have already passed. These past six weeks have been full of adventure, adjustment, laughter, joy, sleepless nights, exploration and of course… stress.
I’m very good at adapting to situations, however for the first time in my life, I have been both homesick and worried about my future. Recently, school has been a little challenging for me. Of course, I expected that by attending a prestigious Jesuit University. After the first month of classes, a few exams and a couple quizzes, I began to panic. I continuously asked myself, “Am I on the right career path?” “Am I in the right classes?” “Am I managing my time as well as I could be?” “Am I using enough of my resources and asking for help when I need it?”
This was the battle I faced early on in this school year–what does my future look like now? However, if we are being honest, no one truly knows what their future holds. After a couple tears and many phone calls home to dad, I sat down and realized that everything is going to be okay. Sure, everyone tells you that, but you have to realize and believe it in order to make it through. God has a plan for each and every one of us… a very special, handpicked, unique plan. Throughout these six weeks I’ve realized that I need to take a deep breath and not only allow for God’s plan to work, but to also be grateful for it. As I mentioned early, during this battle I asked myself a lot of questions and contemplated a variety of things. However, not once did I question whether or not I was at the right school. Actually, there are many different times during the midst of the panic, I had calmed down at the fact that I would not be the person I am today at any other institution.
I was never in this struggle alone. Here at Creighton, the first person here I talked to was one of the friends I had made in RSP, someone who is also a freshman. After that I was welcomed into my academic advisor’s office and was comforted and reassured that all would be okay. After that, I was able to talk to my mentor, a current sophomore, in the Freshman Leadership Program, and after that I had a conversation with my Decurion of my RSP class, a current junior. Additionally, of course, I talked with my professor who was very willing to meet with me during a time in both of our busy schedules that worked best for me. Each of the people I was able to sit down and talk to are people who are either currently in my shoes, have been in my shoes, or are here at the University to assist those who are in my shoes. Regardless, there are people here who understand what you’re going through and will make sure that you do not go through it alone.
Sometimes in the midst of it all, you need to grab some girls on your floor and just dance in the rain and live in the moment. Creighton provides those great relationships. The community of Creighton University cares. Creighton University sees you as a student, and not just a number. I found peace in the midst of a battle thanks to my faith, and the community I have here in Omaha, at Creighton University.
By Donna Shahbazi | September 12, 2016
Seventeen days seems unreal. 17 days ago, I picked up my life in the best city in the world… Kansas City, and moved to Omaha. I picked up the pieces of my life that were able to come with me to this next chapter of my life. Things that were left behind in KC included: my loving family, my best of friends, my safety net, my (oh so comfortable) bed, my church, and who Donna Shahbazi was before August 20th, 2016.
I put up a good front on how excited I was to move in, and sure, I was beyond excited. However, what most people didn’t know, was how extremely nervous I was to start over. I spent 18 years defining who I was to the people of Kansas City. In high school, I spent 4 years strengthening relationships between peers, four years finding out who I was, four years of being involved, four years of building myself to the highest position of every club I was involved in. Sports season after season, club after club, friend after friend… one day it all ended and I was expected to start over. Is that not nerve-wracking for anyone else? I thought to myself almost every day of summer, when the goodbye’s got harder, and the “lasts” were becoming more real, “How the heck am I going to do this?”
4:30am on August 20th, 2016, my little brother and I hopped in my Jeep and drove almost 3 hours to Creighton University for my official move in. Everything is such a blur now that I think back to it. It was such an amazing, tiring, busy day, to where there was practically no time to think about emotions and “What’s next.”
Fast forward to today. I am amazed how fast these 17 days have gone by, and how much progress I have made from those worrisome days. I have an amazing group of friends, I have built fantastic relationships with people of all ages and backgrounds, gotten involved on campus, and have already expanded my knowledge so much.
College isn’t as picture perfect that the movies make it out to be. There are some hard days where you wonder how you’re going to get through the day, or through that next class or test, but coming to Creighton University was an amazing decision. I am incredibly blessed to attend a prestigious Jesuit University. Creighton professors manage to touch on the Jesuit values allowing students to feel a sense of peace and belonging. Each new day, I am reminded I made the right choice in my college decision. Creighton is home.
So cheers! Cheers to the new friends, safety net, bed, church, and new Donna Shahbazi. She’s ready to take on what’s next.
A Feeling of Belonging
By Olivia Koontz | August 31, 2016
I think we all long to feel like part of something. To feel like we belong, and like we are in the right place. To feel like we are loved, appreciated, supported.
It was difficult moving away from all the groups and communities I was a part of for the past 17 (almost 18) years. I have been blessed with a support system a mile long, and I was anxious that I would never find a community like what I had before. Luckily, I have found that finding a new community is much, much better than watching a sequel to a fantastic original movie. It’s got a new cast, but the same charm. It’s not overdoing it, it’s not forced, and it’s not disappointing.
I am floored by how fast I have become part of the Creighton community.
My sweet roommate and I have already bonded over our adult coloring books, that dreadful online video assignment for our communications course, and uncontrollable laughter.
My floor is full of kind, fun-loving souls who love peeking into open doors to make dinner plans, watch the VMAs, or just say hey.
My school is full of impassioned people supporting each other by giving directions, holding the door (seriously, the chivalry here is beautiful ;) ) and even just smiling across “the mall” as we walk to class.
This Saturday, we had a Lip Sync Battle for all freshman RSP groups (basically a freshman “transitioning to college” seminar class), sororities, and fraternities. It was fantastic. My group was subpar at best, but watching the Greek Life get into the performances was incredible. There was rivalry, yes, but each chapter all stood in a standing ovation for every group. Also one of the frats did a Disney lip-sync medley and I almost peed my pants. It was beautiful.
It was there, in those stands, that I got goosebumps as I realized how at home I felt here, already. I stood with my student body, and I was surrounded by loving and compassionate (if loud) human beings.
I made the conscientious decision to be social in this first week especially. And the more I have, the more connected I feel to others. It’s been a lot of small talk, asking where people are from, what their major is, etc, and frankly I remember a small fraction of the names of people I have talked to.
But I’m okay with that. Regardless of whether I remember a name (okay you caught me, it really does bug me. Sorry if I forgot your name, peeps). I recognize faces, and benefiting from a small campus, I really enjoying just seeing familiar faces. I’ve found that building a community must be a reciprocal action. That means smiling back, or being the one to introduce yourself first. It means being awkwardly talkative sometimes. Opening your mouth, and then, maybe your heart to new relationships. It’s uncomfortable, but I am already experiencing the benefits.
I am so stoked to continue to get to know this bluejay community. Kudos to all you smiling faces. I appreciate it. And keep it up, please.
By Olivia Koontz | August 22, 2016
HOLY GUACAMOLE. I feel like I was in a time warp for August 20, 2016. There is no way that was a real 24 hour period of my life.
Our memories don’t align themselves in perfect order. So I won’t tell about my move in day in sequential order. But do expect this will be a long post, sorry not sorry.
Towards the end of our day, my family and I went to Mass at St. John’s on Creighton’s campus. (Technically speaking, we went to a live broadcasted Mass in the basement of St. John’s. The church was at capacity with so many families.)
In his homily, Fr. Hendrickson told us about a collaborative concert that the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Wynton Marsallis put on. At the end of the concert, the encore was the jazz musicians improvising, just jazzing along to their own beat, delighting in the music and their personal form of expression. Surrounding the jazz musicians though, was the symphony orchestra, who Fr. Hendrickson described as being neatly pressed, sitting up straight, and very uncomfortable. They were invited to partake in this improv sesh and could not have been more uncertain.
Are you picking up on Fr. Hendrickson’s purposeful connection to us, new students arriving on campus? Hint hint–we are the symphony (ooh that sounds cool though, right?). But seriously. We’ve all been invited to join this great big Creighton family and this college experience is going to be exactly that: improvisation.
This idea of improv already encompassed all of Move-In Day. From figuring out how to use Command strips (“is this the wall side or the sticky side?”), to rushing to our first student/family meeting, to eventually, saying goodbye, it was all a whirlwind.
On the car ride here, yesterday morning, my mom was desperate to jam pack my brain with all sorts of essential tidbits of information that she hasn’t told me before (but she has). The move-in process was a bustle of activity that is frankly, indescribable. But the goodbye is the part of the whirlwind I regret.
We had a time change on our student schedule for a residence hall activity that meant my goodbye to my parents and my sisters, the four most important people in my life, was rushed and not at all what I envisioned. It was abrupt, almost like ripping off a bandaid. And I hate ripping off bandaids. I realized about 8:52 that my activity I needed to be at started at 9:00. So we went from leisurely eating our ice cream sundaes to squeezing in goodbyes in 8 minutes.
My youngest sister, Isabel, still had her ice cream in her hand as she gave my a hug and broke into tears. My mom didn’t even have time to start sobbing (or else her tears were all spent from earlier in the day). My middle sister, Grace, just kept giving me the biggest of embraces. My dad whispered in my ear how proud he was of me. And then suddenly, it was done.
Next thing I knew I was (poorly) decorating a bandana on the floor of our resident hall. Yeah, bet you didn’t see that plot twist coming.
I think the reason why I didn’t find this goodbye emotional was because it still has yet to sink in that I am now a college student. Yeah, I’m moved into my dorm, and my parents are gone, but it all just seems like I’m staying at camp or something, and I’ll be back in a week.
I have danced for almost 13 years of my life. Improv is an aspect of dance that I was introduced to in the past four years or so, and as many will tell you, I absolutely HATE improv. It makes me anxious, self-conscious, and in general I just cannot stand uncertainty in my life. (Haha sucks to suck, right?)
But here, at this turning point, I am determined that this time, this week, this year, I am going to embrace improv. The reality is, life can only be planned to a certain extent, and the rest is what you make of it. I am going to leave my comfort zone, be crazy (but not too crazy), explore, and just take in all the opportunities that are going to be laid before me here in my new home. You should try too, with me.
Because really, what more can we do besides improv our way through this dance?