One of my favorite things I’ve done through a class here at BW was taking a trip to a monastery in Kentucky. This may seem a little strange, as I certainly have no inclination to become a monk, but it was through an upper level Religion Department seminar on the monk Thomas Merton. We spent the semester reading and writing about Merton and the trip to Kentucky was a chance to see where Merton had lived. I knew before leaving that the trip was going to be excellent, as the seminar class had only 9 or so students and we had all become close friends through the department.
While we were at the monastery we had the chance to follow the typical schedule of the monks. This included waking up for prayer services before sunrise. For a bunch of college students this was a tough task! When we weren’t at the monastery pretending to be monks we were hanging out with each other, playing cards, telling stories, and cooking meals for one another.
Part of the success of the trip comes from the professor who led the course, Alan Kolp. Alan has a great way of encouraging students to not only passively learn things, but find ways to apply them to their life. And even though this was a religion course, no one is ever pressured into converting or becoming religious, but it was a great way to really understand and learn about religion in meaningful ways. I’ve been so privileged to be a part of BW’s Religion Department.