Joining the Suave Squad: Post-graduate life, 3 weeks out

By Mary Rose Richert ’18

As I reflected upon a conversation that I had with one of my professors this morning, it led me to think about how thankful and blessed I am to have been a student at, to have graduated from, and to be working this summer at The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. I am filled with the overabundant graces of God in all that I do here at Thomas More College and the conversation that I had this morning led me to write and share a brief reflection on my first three weeks of post-graduate life.

Tunes are blaring in the dorm. The windows are open and the breeze is dissipating the multifarious smells in Kopka, the women’s dorm. Emily (LaFata ’18) is magic erasing all those tough black marks off the walls (who knows how they got there in the first place). Clark (Ingram, Class of 2019) is patching up the holes–or should I say punches–in the walls. Joe (Kerxhalli ’18) is vacuuming a semester’s worth of accumulated grime from the carpet. Matthias (Kroger, Class of 2019) is intensely scrubbing the chrome in the bathrooms, making it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building in preparation for the upcoming Fides et Ratio guests. And lastly, while John (Thompson, Class of 2019) is cleaning the rest of the bathroom, I am tightening the screws in the wobbly desks (I never knew about those late night dance parties since I always went to bed early during the school year). Joe suddenly exclaims, “guess what time it is?” All the guys instinctively know what this means–“time to hit the ground”, or, in other words, time for 20 pushups. The guys have their pushup routine on the hour; I am very thankful for this as it keeps their energy levels on the DL. It is 3 PM in the afternoon, tensions are high, tiredness is setting in, and I myself am getting fairly hungry. We continue to do our work with joy and with smiles on our faces, all the while laughing and joking around (because how would work be enjoyable without these things?).

We have dubbed ourselves, the “Suave Squad”; we are the 2018 Thomas More College Summer Crew. We all have nicknames for each other including the fantastic “Three Gingers and a Joe.”  Our common sayings are, “Wowww,” “Let’s hit the floor,” and “Let’s make campus great again.” We enjoy cooking dinner, singing around the bonfire, bowling, challenging each other to ping-pong matches, and praying Compline together. Some of us are also preparing to run the Merrimack YMCA’s Sparkler Fourth of July 5K.

This is my primary summer job, as alumna supervisor, at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. I am the person that you see running around campus like a chicken with her head cut off with a thousand things on her mind. I oversee the work of the summer crew workers, assign tasks fitted to everyone’s talents, and communicate between the workers and our Buildings and Grounds Supervisor (and Woodworking Guild Master), Tom (Ford). I ensure that all campus tasks are accomplished and accomplished well. We are very blessed this summer with a diligent and hardworking team and I can confidently say that we will continue to make campus clean, orderly, and beautiful over the forthcoming weeks.

I never expected to work 71.5 hours during my first week of post-graduate life but I guess that’s what happens when you have two jobs and need to make money to afford graduate school. My second job is at Buckley’s Great Steaks in Merrimack, NH. For the past few weeks I have been a dishwasher but I have moved up to the position of bussing for the rest of the summer. It has been such a wonderful and eye-opening experience working in a fast-paced kitchen. I have learned all the kitchen lingo, kitchen etiquette, and the proper use of non-slip shoes. The conversations that I have had with a couple of them have been very fruitful, both for me and for them. I shared with one of my co-workers that I was applying to graduate school for theology. “What is Theology?” he asked me; I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. I simply replied that Theology was the study of God. I had another conversation with two of my coworkers (both don’t believe in God) in which we argued about who (or in their case, what) created the world and why God exists (or in their case, does not exist). Recalling Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs for the existence of God, I explained that God is an unmoved mover who created the world out of nothing. My one coworker believes that the world is created out of particles or atoms but I explained to him that if that were the case, there would be an infinite regression with no creator in the first place. They were not entirely convinced by my logic and reasoning, but, nonetheless, I realized that it is conversations like these that are true, good, and beautiful and even if the seed is not fruitful, at least it has been planted.

The first three weeks of post-graduate life have been extremely busy. I am so blessed that God has led me to Thomas More College and continues to guide me in my work here this summer. I constantly learn new things and I am always excited to take on new challenges. Though my graduation at Thomas More College has closed one door for me, I look forward to the many doors that await opening in my future.

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