Derek Wolf (Mechanical Engineer)

I graduated in the class of 2013 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  Had ND not had the theology requirement, I would have missed out on two of my favorite classes and professors in my time at Notre Dame. 

As a freshman, I took the required "Foundations" course taught by Peter Fritz (If you happen to read this, Thank You!). This class widened my understanding of my own faith and forced me to think critically about what I had always just accepted as truth. This is clearly a skill which is important in all disciplines and in life. 

During my senior year, I was again lucky to take Professor Gabe Reynold's "Islam's Challenge to Christianity" (Professor Reynold's, if you also happen to read this, Thank you!).  Again, without the requirement, there is no way I would have taken this course. It turned out to be my favorite non major course in my time at ND. I learned so much about my own faith as I also learned about Islam, a previously little known religion in my life. This understanding allows me to be better educated when looking at world events today. It has made me a better human being and global citizen which I think is the main purpose of a Notre Dame education. By better understanding Islam and it's similarities and differences with Christianity, I can have an informed, rational opinion when otherwise I may have made a fearful one as so many people in this world have done. I can understand why the events are happening right now, and thus have legitimate ideas on finding peace. I know how to find the common ground which we all can stand on, and thus work to create unity. These lessons can be taken to any situation in which people have differences.

Theology courses teach far more than just theology. They teach us to investigate the differences (theological, political, or any other difference) we have with others both as a way to better understand ourselves and to understand them. They provide examples of how to have a civil argument with people who's views seem so very contradictory from our own. They show the importance of knowing yourself before being able to fully engage others, and yet still maintaining the ability to constantly reevaluate and recreate yourself. Notre Dame develops leaders in this world, and these skills, which were developed in my theology courses, are critical to developing the leaders this world needs.

On a completely different note, the theology courses added to the community at ND. I met people who I would never have been friends with at ND. As with all my core requirements, it was great to meet people who were not 1) in my dorm and 2) in my major.  The community at ND is one major aspect that makes the school special, and without these courses, I would have known fewer people and my experience would have been lessened. 

The theology requirement for Notre Dame made me a better person, and I will be forever grateful.

No comments:

Post a Comment