A reflection, in the Ignatian tradition, for former graduate students.
Ignatian spirituality, particularly the principle of finding God in all things, has been helpful throughout my graduate school experience. In dialogue among classmates and teachers, I regularly encountered God’s presence. I learned to recognize God’s grace and mercy in both the excitement of a research-driven insight and the anxiety of a rapidly approaching writing deadline.
Pondering each day with gratitude and observing where God shows up are key elements of the Ignatian practice of the daily examen, a practice that is designed to increase our awareness of God’s presence in our lives.
I’ve modified the examen to reflect on my graduate school experience: an Examen for Former Graduate Students, if you will. Inspired by The Examen Handbook: A Guide for Leading Others Through the Prayer of the Examen by Ross Jones, SJ.
Take a moment to recognize God’s presence in this place and at this time. Aware of God’s presence, reflect on your time in graduate school.
- What was a high point of your studies? Did you experience a breakthrough moment? Was there a teacher, an author, or a classmate that helped to deepen your understanding, invited you to see a difficult concept in a new way, or helped you solve a problem?
- What was something that you would do differently if given a “do over”? Where did you struggle to maintain focus? Was there a time you closed yourself off from others? From God?
As we remain in the presence of God, consider how you might respond to these reflections.
- Is there a relationship I need to mend? Do I need to acknowledge or address a personal weakness? Do I need to apologize to someone?
- Is there someone I should call up and thank? Can I write a thank you note to someone who helped me get where I am today?
What about tomorrow and beyond?
- How might we use the education we’ve received at Loyola to help honor human dignity and promote the common good?
- In our current and future jobs, communities, and families, how can we be women and men for others?
Conclude in prayer:
God of wisdom and love, We thank you for the gift of my graduate education. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend time in study, pursuing knowledge and truth so that we might flourish. Give us the ability to use our learnings to spread peace, love, and mercy throughout our homes, community, and world. Align our plans – and our laughter – with yours. Give us the grace to know your will and the courage to do it. Amen.