Annalise Day

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less travelled by,

 And that has made all the difference.”

-- Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s words have stuck with me ever since my first semester literature lecture at Campion College. Perhaps because the scenario they described felt so familiar to me, given my seemingly constant struggles with indecision. Or perhaps because as Catholics, we are called to choose Christ in all things. Or it could be because as young adults in the 21st century, we are often shunned if we choose to stray away from the cultural path that champions leftist conformity. Whatever the case, making the decision to take the road less travelled and attend Campion College in 2015 has proved invaluable to me. It has given me an enriching education, irreplaceable friendships, and the tools I need to aspire toward seeking and living out truth, beauty and goodness in all aspects of my life.

Campion College is Australia’s first tertiary liberal arts college. Unlike most of the mainstream universities today, it teaches its students not what to think, but rather, how to think. Moreover, it is an institution with a clear Catholic identity. The core subjects of the liberal arts model at Campion College - literature, theology, philosophy, history and science - aim to educate students in the tradition of Western civilisation.  Its purpose: Educare ad Aeternitatem - Educating for Eternity, mirrors Saint Jerome's words when he said "let us seek to learn on earth those truths which will remain ever valid in heaven" (Ep. 53,10). The academics and staff at Campion College aim to lead students in this pursuit of wisdom, truth and knowledge, both spiritually and intellectually. I well recall the words of guest speaker Miranda Devine at the 2016 graduation ceremony - “you are the lucky ones, the pioneers, who had the wisdom and foresight to choose Campion to furnish, not just your minds, but your souls for the great journey you have ahead of you” (Campion Brag, Vol.15, no.1, p.2)

One of the biggest standouts for me was the calibre of the lecturers at Campion and their palpable enthusiasm for what they taught. Each one was able to show us the connections between seemingly completely different subjects. I remember being blown away in my third year how everything from the past two years of study had somehow blended together seamlessly, like puzzle pieces fitting perfectly together. There always seemed to be so much more we could learn from them which meant the learning continued both in and out of the classroom. Tutorial discussions would continue over lunch on the deck and lecturers also joined in, furthering the enriching conversation.  Everyone at the college – from its staff to its students – were passionate and supportive, each one believing whole-heartedly in the mission of the college and the value of the liberal arts model.

It was not only the educational aspect that influenced my experience of Campion, but the people I met along the way. Being such a small college opened up the opportunity to form strong and healthy friendships.  As a result, I was exposed to intellectual minds, inspiring me to take on my studies more diligently than other friendships have before. As students, we all were aiming for the same goal and completing the same degree, which made learning and discussion all the more invigorating. The lecturers’ knowledge and enthusiasm for what they taught, complemented by the fantastic social scene helped cultivate what Cicero called the “good life.” These friendships at Campion have given me some of the best housemates I could ask for, women who will be my bridesmaids at the altar and even a husband in a few weeks' time- cliché, I know!

To choose a favourite memory would be an impossible task – my indecision strikes once again! Perhaps it was learning about Roman mythology whilst standing inside the Pantheon in Rome during our Summer school, or going on a historical tour of Surry Hills that ended at the pub to analyse Ruth Park’s Harp in the South, or simply the sheer excitement in our Philosophy professor's face when we finally understood an intricate philosophical concept on a Friday afternoon. The entire experience felt personal and enriching. With the small size of the college, each student was known by name and treated like a person, not just a number. Help and direction could be tailored to our individual needs, something that is markedly lacking in larger tertiary institutions. Once I had completed my studies at Campion, I went on to do a Masters of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University online. The critical thinking and analytical skills that I learned at Campion transferred seamlessly into my new studies; however, I found the latter experience as a whole lacked lustre, as it was nothing like my time in that little quiet haven of Western Sydney. I will be forever grateful for my time at Campion College.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
  • About the Author: Annalise Day, Information Services Librarian, Mannix Library CTC.