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Beyond being blessed

Beyond being blessed

Mary Kate Newman ’23 November 17, 2021

Every year around Thanksgiving, it comes time to answer the age-old question, “What are we thankful for?” Although it is asked each year, it is amazing to see the new life the question brings each time.

For me, the opportunities that have presented themselves highlight this past year — starting with having the pleasure of watching my older sister graduate from the University of Dayton this past May. It was a moment I felt my family come together and be able to connect on a higher level through the joy and pride we all shared for her. It was a moment for us all to stop and simply lavish in each other’s company.

I also had the great pleasure of being honored as a Berry Summer Thesis Institute Scholar this summer and begin research work on my honors thesis while living on campus. Being given 12 weeks with the sole purpose of diving into research I’m very passionate about was a dream come true, as well as getting to know the community of student researchers who made up our cohort.

Mary Kate Newman's family standing in front of the UD Chapel.
Mary Kate Newman's family on her sister's graduation day.


Upon returning to school in the fall, I began my new job as a writer for University of Dayton Magazine. This was an opportunity that was new to me as I had no true experience with journalism, but I had a vision of writing and sharing stories. To sit here now with the privilege of having published works with my name on them still excites me every time I think about it.

Unlike these other opportunities I had seen approaching from the distance, a chance to become a bullpen catcher for the University’s softball team was something I had only dreamed about. In high school I was the varsity catcher all four years. Leaving my glove behind in college was probably the biggest thing I missed my freshman and sophomore years. Finding out about the opportunity to catch again with the team and then receiving the job was nothing short of my “Field of Dreams” moment. I honestly still have to pinch myself every time I walk onto the field and put my gear on.

“I honestly still have to pinch myself every time I walk onto the field and put my gear on.”

While these opportunities have provided such positive change in my life, there are always things that I am consistently thankful for year to year. The first that comes to mind is family. While my Thanksgiving may not be able to be as big as it usually was before the pandemic, I value the close (and calmer!) time with my parents and sister. I think I am beginning to annoy them when they ask what I want to do over the break and I respond that I don’t care as long as it’s with them.

Finally, I wanted to take a second and express my thankfulness for something I feel often doesn’t get recognized; I am so thankful for my life. Admittedly, I have had my fair share of struggles with mental health, but looking at this year and the opportunities it has brought that I never thought were possible only renews and revitalizes my appreciation and wonder for life. I have reaped the benefits of the fight for better mental health.

“I am so thankful for my life.”

That being said, as a member of the University of Dayton community, I hope you, too, can find time to reflect and recognize the many things in life to be grateful for this holiday season. Wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Snow place like UD