By far the most meaningful courses I have taken as part of my core curriculum experience were my two theology courses. Coming into Notre Dame, I was not happy that I was being required to take these two courses. I had already had fourteen years of Catholic schooling, and I thought that I should not have to take any more theology courses. Frankly, I thought it was a waste of six credits that could have been used for other things that I felt were more pertinent to my career.
My theology courses provided me with a look into my Catholic faith that I had never had before. Though I had already been in Catholic schooling for fourteen years, I hadn't read much of the Bible outside of Mass. In my Foundations course, we read the Bible and came to understand it in both religious and historical terms. I found myself much more engaged in Mass every weekend as I listened to the Gospel and thought about what I had learned in my theology class that week. In my second theology course, I have gained a better understanding of what it means to live my Catholic faith. I have been challenged to analyze the way I live my life and determine whether that is actually the way I should be living my life. My two theology courses are the only courses I have taken at this University in which I read the assigned readings and then sit for a while afterward, contemplating how the things I have just read pertain to my own life.
Overall, my theology courses have been one of the most important parts of my Catholic education at Notre Dame. I came to this University with the view that college was a path to a career. After having taken my theology courses, I see my education as a way to form myself as a person and discover the kind of professional I want to be. I have found that I don't want to be merely a competent and skilled physician; I also want to be a loving and compassionate physician who shows God's healing and kindness to every patient who comes through her door. In my time here, I have come to understand that I was not made to be a person who does a job; I was made to be a person who does a job with love so that the world might be a little better because I have lived in it. I would not have come to understand my vocation in this way if I had not taken my theology courses. I hope that the University will continue to place an emphasis on theology so that all Notre Dame students can come to understand the faith and what it means to live out the faith in our daily lives.