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The Non-negotiables

Rachel Thompson - Malpass Fellow, Cohort 6 (Los Angeles)

LA Community | Intern & Mentor Outing

Tucson, London, and now Los Angeles. When I chose the University of Notre Dame, 90 miles from my hometown, I never intended to stray very far from my suburban, midwest roots. I’ve now spent 8 of the last 14 months away from home and away from campus. It may have felt daunting at times and always involved quite a bit of overpacking, but it never failed to teach me more about myself, community, and Christ.

Matthew 6:34Just before I made the move out to LA, Taylor Kelly asked me what my non-negotiables were for this upcoming summer. Without much reflection, I blurted out that,"I wanted to be surrounded by a community." I desired to engage with new people and to learn more about myself through relationships with others. Following my summer in Tucson through the PATH Summer Teaching Internship, I knew that I would feel unfulfilled if I couldn’t share in the joys and challenges of each day with others.

As a psychology & ESS double major, I was intimidated being one of the few interns without a major in Mendoza. I was nervous that our weekly Zoom calls with the broader Frassati cohort and even my daily work at Specialty Family Foundation would feel beyond my qualifications ... but this couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I found myself more passionate about teaching and serving families, while this experience challenged me to discover the many ways I could use my gifts & talents in service of Catholic schools. Supporting students requires not only great teachers & schools, but also countless others to support schools in their mission to form students into the persons God calls them to be. Organizations such as The Association for Catholic Student Councils (TACSC) work to teach leadership skills and provide mentors for middle school students. To build a program like this requires curriculum development, scholarship fundraising, and stewardship building. Caring for student growth requires effort from passionate adults both inside and outside the classroom.

This summer I said yes to God’s calling for me to explore that impact outside of the classroom as a teacher. I am confident that Christ placed me on a track to teach future, but to do so with an open heart. This summer showed me that discernment is not always narrowing what one wants to do, but rather exploring one's commitment and passions from many different perspectives. Matthew 6:34 reminds us: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Discernment will be ongoing and occasionally unpredictable, but a focus on who God is calling me to be and to be alongside gives me the confidence that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.