By Cara Buskmiller (’11)
Note: Thomas Aquinas College Senior Cara Buskmiller delivered the following remarks at the Board of Governors’ Annual Fall Retreat.
Thank you for the opportunity to come and spend time with you. It is lovely to speak with you, and I am especially excited to be able to share because I think I am a little different from many of the Thomas Aquinas College students whom you might have already met.
Before I applied to college, I was certain that I wanted to become a doctor. I knew that this path entailed sciences, prerequisites, and research experiences, and I looked into colleges with competitive pre-medical programs that would make it very easy to slide right into medical school.
But I preferred Thomas Aquinas College to those colleges, and as a result, I have spent my summers acquiring those prerequisites and the experiences necessary for a traditional application. I applied to medical schools this year, and I am pleased to say that I have been accepted to Texas A&M University. I will matriculate in July.
That success has not been in spite of my Thomas Aquinas College education. To the contrary, I always felt that Thomas Aquinas College was the most important part of my premedical preparation. Having divided my time between the public university and Thomas Aquinas, I can tell you that the College is the only place where students are taught to construct and follow an argument, to discourse with others, to sift details out of a text, and to prepare for class so rigorously.
Although that is good for any student — those skills are good for anyone — I have always thought that they were particularly useful to me as a future physician, who would need to talk, to listen, and to diagnose.
That is to say nothing of the material itself with which we have worked, and with which we have practiced these skills. It is remarkable what we are privileged to study here. My high school, other colleges — in fact, the whole culture — seems unaware of the vast amount of work and truth that is out there.
The College puts into our hands the libraries that the Church has filled. It puts into our hands the greatest works that have been written. And although we receive at Thomas Aquinas College in these short years a very small part of all those libraries, it gets us very addicted to well-written and great thoughts. There is one other benefit of my Thomas Aquinas education that I would like to touch on, and that is my vocation.
Thomas Aquinas College is home to a particular atmosphere which is almost monastic although certainly the most fun monastery in the world. This weekend alone, people have carved pumpkins; they will go to a Halloween dance dressed as all kinds of things; they will ice skate; they will present choral performances; they will rehearse a Shakespearian play and probably engage in a dozen other activities. So there is a lot of fun. But at the same time, the students, the faculty, and the chaplains strive to create an atmosphere which allows for a lot of good thought and allows us to be good. I do not think that atmosphere exists as a matter of course. I think it is the result of more than just human effort. But in any case, the atmosphere at the College allows students to hear callings which would have been inaudible elsewhere.
And so, thanks to Thomas Aquinas College, I believe, I am currently discerning a call to consecrated virginity within the world. So not only have I been taught how to read well and how to speak well, I have also lived for four years in a community which is perfused with God’s grace. All of these put together are a gift which cannot be repaid even by a lifetime of prayer. And for this gift I have my parents and my teachers and you to thank. And so I thank you, and be assured of my prayers.
Miss Buskmiller is a senior from Dallas, Tex.
“What we learned about God in the curriculum — St. Augustine, the way he spoke about God, and St. Thomas’ treatise in the beginning of the Summa Theologica — really set me toward my vocation.”
– Rev. Fr. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82)
Co-founder and Subprior, Annunciation Monastery of Clear Creek
“What you do here at this college is important not only for the individual salvation of your soul, but really as a witness to all of society.”
– Most Rev. Robert Francis Vasa
Bishop of Santa Rosa