By Erin Hallissy
THE REAL WORLD
Some people make a distinction between college and the "real world," as though they are mutually exclusive concepts. Saint Mary's students experience the real world every day as they explore the great questions of all time and their place in their unique time on earth.
Whether delving into texts that have informed civilization on concepts of self, justice, spirituality or truth, or preparing to make a meaningful difference in the world through the field they immerse themselves in, students get beyond the distractions of busyness and earnings reports and political squabbles — in offices and in government — that can prevent people in the "real world" from getting at the meaning of life.
That doesn't mean Saint Mary's students remain in classrooms sheltered from the realities of the world outside Moraga. Instead, they often find themselves in nearby communities, and foreign countries, as an integral part of their education.
Students delve into such issues as homelessness, poverty and empowerment to find the roots of problems and come up with ways to solve them. They apply theories to challenges that organizations are facing and demonstrate truths that further understanding. They push their own boundaries by doing things they never have done before, whether it's working with people in need or immersing themselves in a foreign country for months.
Many students and alumni have told me that this integrated experience profoundly affected how they view the world, and themselves. Their memories of stretching their minds and their notion of who they are remain strong long after they finish a class or graduate. They refer back to their time in college as they tackle issues in their professional or personal lives. Many retain close relationships with the people who shared these experiences with them, whether they are classmates or professors.
Our alumni feel an attachment to their alma mater that remains strong throughout their lives. Many of them want to ensure that future generations of eager learners will be able to share the intellectual and spiritual experience that Saint Mary's offers, and they generously contribute to the College to make that possible. This issue of Saint Mary's magazine includes an Honor Roll of Donors to acknowledge those donors in the 2008–09 fiscal year.
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