It is graduation week and things are a lot different than I expected them to be. We took our last classes from home, we have been emotional and afraid, our minds went somewhere else at a time we should be thinking about next steps and looking back at what we learned at IPS.
I had to postpone my integration project! I did not do it because I had no time to finish, I did it because I want to learn everything I can from writing this project and with Covid-19 in mind that was not possible. A degree from IPS for me has always had a different meaning, it was never about the diploma I get to hang on the wall, it was about the learning experience, it was about the knowledge, it was about developing the drive to help others. I moved to Chicago from Brazil to study Social Justice at IPS. I chose Loyola and IPS because I wanted to attend a Jesuit school, I wanted to embrace St. Ignatius of Loyola’s teachings and principles and apply them in my life and the world. I already have a master’s degree, I just wanted to learn, I wanted to give more meaning and purpose to whatever I choose to do next.
The pandemic is making the social injustices in the world a lot more evident; my degree feels even more important and relevant. The work to be done seems overwhelming but being in classrooms filled with people already doing amazing work advocating for social justice gives me hope. My classmates were young, passionate, and dedicated, they have been doing work with vulnerable populations for a long time and they are great role models for me to follow.
In my time at IPS I found God in ways I had not found Him before; I was able to see Him in the faces of my classmates and that experience has been extremely inspiring. As much as I have learned from the classes and the professors, the exchange with my classmates and learning about their journeys in their missions has been one of the most valuable lessons from the entire program.
As my program comes to an end, all I can do is say thank you. Thank you to everyone at IPS for their help and support from my application to my online graduation toast; thank you to the professors for being so dedicated to the students and sharing their knowledge, thank you to my wonderful and amazing classmates for going through this journey with me. Every one of you made it worth going through two Chicago winters and being away from my family and friends.