Written by Eryn Evander ’11, Business
Traveling for hours on a bus, sleeping on floors in close quarters, and engaging in servant leadership for nine days does not add up to your typical spring break trip. For 120+ UST students who went on the STLF (Students Today Leaders Forever) trip, however, that is exactly how they spent their break.
Being in the Catholic Leadership Interns had a big impact on how I viewed this trip. I was one of the trip leaders and having the formation of our Friday Interns meetings under my belt showed me that resilience and patience are central attributes in a leader. The most salient life-lesson that I learned from this trip is this: all things will not go according to pre-determined plans if you do not lead with God at the forefront. To be resilient when things go wrong that are beyond your control is no doubt an indication of a good leader. The ability and willingness to take responsibility for these things when you do not keep this in mind is another.
In the first stages of the trip, I spent a lot of time obsessing over small faults. I so badly wanted the trip to be flawless and fall into place according to my plans. This constant struggle caused me to be down on myself and have negative thoughts. Something needed to change.
On a particularly difficult night, I asked one of the participants if she would be willing to pray with me. She saw that I was struggling, and she proceeded to ask the Holy Spirit to come into my heart. She prayed with me for the next couple minutes, and I was overcome with emotion. I realized that I had been trying to control everything and been absorbing the stress of the environment around me; I had not been leading with Christ, but of my own volition.
Overall, now I can say with the utmost confidence that I had an extremely fruitful experience while on this service trip. I look back on my experience and see all of the obstacles that were overcome with the help of the Holy Spirit. While I review each day of the trip, I realize that all of those difficulties helped me to strengthen my faith and build up my spirit to become the best version of myself. All that I have been learning in Interns was made very tangible on this trip (even if I failed to live it out perfectly). Regardless, I am so blessed to have gone on this trip and to have put my Catholic leadership into practice in a unique way.