Columnist shares final thoughts before graduation

By: Kevin Joseph – Columnist

This December, I am graduating early from the University of Dayton, an achievement both my family and I are very proud of. Now, if you’re expecting this to be a love letter of how I will miss college or how much fun I had here, you are mistaken. Rather, I thought I would share with you what has gotten me to this point in my life and what will continue to guide me as I go forward.

There are three things that have defined me as a person and served as a guide to where I am headed.

I call it my trident: God, country and family.

Everyone believes in something. Some believe in a god, some believe in themselves and some believe in others. For me, I believe in God. I know there is something out there that is greater than myself. If you want to succeed you have to believe this. You have to have faith that we are all here to fulfill a good purpose. All of us are important. We were meant to do something special.

I’ve had the privilege to be educated in Catholic schools my entire life. I’ve learned a lot throughout the years about my faith as well as others’. However one man, my high school theology teacher Jim Skerl, taught me all I needed to know about faith. In 10 seconds. He said, “If we trust that the Lord loves us, what the heck, we can accomplish anything.”

Whatever or whoever you believe in, know this — our day will come once we achieve what we are meant to do. Until then follow your heart and open your mind to be the best you can be.

If you have been following my writing, you know I have a great love for my country. Too many times, we take for granted the fact that we had the privilege of being born American. It is not a right, but in fact a privilege.

I believe our country, our land and our people were blessed by something greater. We have an inherent duty to lead when others will not. Our founding fathers and mothers knew this; our ancestors knew this. It is important we don’t ever forget this.

One day, the time will come when America needs her citizens most. We will have a choice to make: to stand united as one or stand divided and fall.

I have tried and will continue to try to unite, even when unity seems impossible. You see, people think that it is our abundant land that gives us surplus, they think it is our military that makes us strong and they think it is our wealth that gives us power. In these past few years, I’ve learned it is not our resources that makes us the greatest country in the world; it is free people choosing to unite together.

I believe in home. A place that you call yours, a place out of all the places in the world you belong. Home is not just home, but rather your own little heaven.

Home comes with family, brotherhood and community. At home, you can mess up and no one cares, you can build something all the way to the top, knock it down and start over again. It is a place where you can be yourself and not someone you’re not.

Home defines you: your values, your principles and your beliefs. Without it, you are nothing, and with it, you are everything.

When I left for college, I knew what I believed. I was leaving home. I was leaving my family, my brotherhood and my community. But leaving home isn’t all that bad.

With leaving, we find out what home is and was. We find out how it formed us. When we leave, we take a little of home with us, and we began to make a new one based on the values, principles and beliefs of what our family taught us.

I hope you find what your trident is.

I hope you always continue to believe in something greater than yourselves, find unity where others cannot and never forget the importance of your family.