Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Kolvenbach made a great point in his speech about students at Jesuit Colleges and Universities becoming something more after they graduate. Most college students, as Kolvenbach describes, “want to be equipped with well-honed professional and technical skills in order to compete in the market and secure one of the relatively scarce fulfilling and lucrative jobs available.” He says that all colleges, even those that are Jesuit, are placed under pressure to promote this type of success. The main difference is that “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become.”

I can really relate to this point by Kolvenbach. No matter which college I attended I would probably get a good education, but what really matters is what I do with my education after I graduate. This summer I found myself traveling to a new place on a daily basis. I was fortunate enough to “secure one of the relatively scarce fulfilling and lucrative jobs available,” which was an internship at an advertising agency in New York City. My hard work combined with the great education Loyola gave me helped me get the job, and I felt very proud of my accomplishments. However, as I commuted to New York every day from my suburban town in New Jersey I began to realize how different I had become. I was among the thousands of workers in the Big Apple rushing to their jobs in the morning, dragging through their day, and finally rushing home to see their family at the end of a long day. I had become one of the people I told myself I would never be. Every morning I brushed shoulders with well-dressed men and women who were on the daily grind only because they had to. They didn’t enjoy their job or even get any sense of accomplishment from it. These business men and women worked for the money and that was all. The city of New York and the people in it no longer felt foreign. Was this really the direction I was headed in?

Working at an advertising agency especially I began to question whether I was really making a difference in the world, or was I just another one of these people getting through the 9 to 5 job in order to have money to enjoy other things in life. I had plenty of time to think about this each morning and evening as I journeyed through the very unique and busy city of Manhattan. Then one morning, everything changed.

A few weeks into my internship I was offered a chance to work on the “Stand Up” campaign. This was a campaign developed by my agency to encourage people to stand up against poverty. Suddenly I realized it wasn’t all liquor and cigarettes, and that advertising could actually make a positive difference in the world. I was able to conduct research and generate ideas for a problem in our country that needed to be fixed. This ad agency gave me the opportunity to use my skills that I developed at Loyola to try to persuade everyday people to fight poverty. From then on I went to work each morning with a completely different outlook on life. While some days were stressful and some days I would have just wanted to stay home, I knew that I was not just going to work because it was the only choice I had in society. My job consisted of using my creativity to alert people to an issue they would otherwise have overlooked. Kolvenbach’s article matches up with this idea perfectly. My English and Communications classes gave me the skills I needed to secure a job in advertising and to do it well, but the Jesuit education I received will help me become something more than just another person at an ad agency.

When I graduate in May, I plan to hopefully return to that agency or one of similar merit and again put my skills to work on something that actually makes a difference. It is no coincidence that our project this year for the Advertising Club at Loyola is Binge Drinking Awareness among college students. This is another opportunity for me to use the skills I could have developed at one of many colleges, yet to use it in a way that can promote justice in this world. It is a perfect chance to turn my 9 to 5 job into a service of faith. Instead of being one of the “Mad Men,” I can be one of the “men for others.”

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