When members of the historic Class of 2019 were applying for Christendom College, a common theme ran through their application essays: they all desired to be immersed in an educational environment that offered a rigorous Catholic, liberal arts education in a community conducive to growing in both the intellect and the Faith. Now, halfway through their first semester, freshmen Nate Reyes, Mary Katherine Mooney, and Henry Love believe Christendom is exceeding their expectations in every regard, as the classes, conversations, and culture prepare them to change the world after graduation.
Nate Reyes, hailing from Manassas, Va., is one of the two Padre Pio full-tuition scholarship winners for the 2015-16 academic year. With his intelligence, a college education had to be challenging if it was going to engage him in any way. Thankfully, Christendom’s rigorous liberal arts education is pushing Reyes to think in new ways as he grows academically.
“The academic life is just incredible. The primary sources that we read in class are engaging, and the professors’ explanations of these texts are very intelligent,” said Reyes. “The in-class discussions are balanced well between the student expressing his personal interpretation on a subject and the professor instructing the class. I’m inspired, and challenged, to take what I have learned from class and step out of the Catholic sphere of Christendom and, using the tools I have learned here, engage the world.”
Mary Katherine Mooney — a full-tuition scholarship finalist, who achieved a 4.0 GPA in high school — agreed with Reyes, emphasizing further the academic challenge, and personal academic attention from faculty, that are making Christendom’s education so enjoyable thus far.
“I’ve been challenged to foster good habits of studying and time management by learning how to do assignments efficiently. Professors are continuously inspiring me to work harder by their example of love of knowledge and dedication to instructing students to see the value of a strong liberal arts education. They are so eager to help even with the smallest of questions and I am assured in each class of the excellence of a Christendom education,” said Mooney.
Each student mentioned the joys they are experiencing in specific classes as well, with new theology professor Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas mentioned multiple times as a personal favorite due to his “engaging” teaching style and great knowledge of Catholic doctrine.
Outside of the classroom, the unique culture of campus is just as striking to these new students. For Henry Love, a native of North Carolina who participated in everything from cross-country to Science Olympiad in high school, the conversations had at Christendom are a particular highlight for him.
“I have made some of my best friends here already, and we are always talking about something, whether it’s joking or, more often, a topic from class that we just cannot stop thinking about. Even if it’s before breakfast, still waking up, right after a test, or during late night studying, people have this desire to make conversation something purposeful and intentional here. It makes all of our interactions more genuine and helps build stronger relationships,” said Love.
These conversations, in a tight-knit, community setting, are a constancy at the college, and part of the reason Christendom insists on a smaller student body. The size allows for relationships between students, professors, and staff that large universities cannot give to students, making personal and professional growth not just a possibility, but a reality for every student at Christendom.
“The family-like atmosphere is so inviting. Professors are easy to talk to, other students are eager to help, and the faculty is a constant source of encouragement. I really love these benefits that Christendom’s small student body offers, which would not be possible at a larger school,” said Mooney. “College life at Christendom is centered upon the Catholic Faith, inspiring students to take advantage of the priceless benefits of a liberal arts education.”