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Lessons Learned, Part XI

Lessons Learned, Part XI

Alumni March 07, 2022
A continuing reflection on life acquired in and out of the classroom — from the classes of 1974 and 2015.

‘The more’

Sister Sally Marie Bohnett, S.N.D. ’74
Bachelor’s in biology
Advancement Officer, Sisters of Notre Dame
Toledo, Ohio

While studying for my master’s degree, I had a class that spoke about ‘the more.’ Is there more I could be doing in life? I think that is what led me to religious life. I had graduated from UD with a biology degree and worked a few years in a research lab at the Medical College of Ohio and loved it. I made wonderful friends who I still have to this day. I traveled and had fun. But deep down, I felt that I was called to ‘the more,’ and that led me to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

If someone was considering religious life, I would offer this advice: Pray. Talk to people who have followed that vocation. Pray. Connect with a spiritual director. Pray. At some point you need to decide and just jump off the diving board and start swimming.

“Joys are abundant all around us.”

Joys are abundant all around us. I try to find the positive in the moments of the day. If I need a laugh, I will look up some YouTube videos of baby pandas playing or baby goats hopping around. Priceless!

Sister Sally Marie Bohnett, S.N.D. ’74, holding a sign that reads "Who we elect matters"My family is a gift. It is in the family that I think vocation is nurtured. I have two sisters, and we are close. Growing up with siblings I learned to share and listen and compromise. It helped prepare me to live in community with my religious sisters.

The best thing I ever ate is my grandmother’s homemade applesauce.

Many of my favorite UD memories have a sports theme. One of my roommates was head majorette and one was a member of the Marching Coeds. I loved the football games not only for the football but to watch the majorettes and their fire batons! And what could beat UD basketball? In 1974 we made it to the regional semifinals and played UCLA. Took them to three OTs! Even though we did not come out a winner, what a game!

In religious life, our ministry comes from our mission. The Sisters of Notre Dame strive to live the mission of Jesus — to witness the goodness of God and God’s provident care for others. In the work I do now in mission advancement, I consider our donors, our relationships with others and the work itself as a way to witness Jesus in what I do.

“Religious life teaches patience.”

Religious life teaches patience. It’s amazing to think that we survive as well as we do. There is give and take and respect and forgiveness. Our constitution states, “We appreciate true friendship which has its center in Jesus Christ and unites us in him.” Ultimately that is what guides us.

If I could waive a magic wand and fix a problem, I would end gun violence in our country.

'Be around good people'

Cody Parsons ’15
Bachelor’s in sport management
MBA student, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Intern, Boston Consulting Group

My role models in life are my parents. People are products of their environment and, knowingly or unknowingly, they provided a great environment for me. Any positive virtues I have are directly attributable to them. The only shame is it took me about 20 years to finally listen to them.

One of the most important things we can do is to foster and build relationships — be around good people.

“One of the most important things we can do is to foster and build relationships — be around good people.”

Being born and raised just outside Austin, Texas, put me around sports my entire life — particularly high school football. It engendered a love of sports from an early age, which has come to define a lot of my life. When I realized working in professional sports was an actual career option, I knew what I was working toward and what I wanted to do after graduating from college.

Cody Parsons in a suit and tieTechnology obviously impacts our lives in numerous ways and will continue to do so. But don’t forget there are no pure solutions, only trade-offs.

Being part of a team demonstrates the power of building something bigger than yourself. We are social beings and working toward a common goal with other people is an empowering feeling. I believe creating a common goal, staying aligned to the purpose, and finding how every person contributes to the end goal is found in many aspects of life, whether it be leading a business, helping your church, volunteering at a nonprofit or raising a family.

Good habits are the basis of a good life, and establishing them early on will prove beneficial in the long run.

My favorite UD memory is the night the Flyers beat Stanford to advance to the Elite 8 in 2014.

You are the average of the five people you are around the most. When you’re with good people you can change the path of your life. Friendship is like compounding interest — it builds over time with the most outsized impacts often realized in the distant future.

If you follow your heart and follow your talent, the money will follow.

“You have cards, so play your cards.” That advice came from Bill Carr, who I interned for at his sports consulting firm in Florida between my junior and senior years at Dayton. He gave me an enormously glowing review on paper and then proceeded to verbally kick me in the teeth for 30 minutes about how I was not fulfilling my potential. He made me realize that our personal history, abilities and family will always be part of who we are, and we can’t change that. I had to play the hand I was dealt. It changed my mindset and how I thought about life.

“I had to play the hand I was dealt.”

Time is a finite gift — maybe the only true inelastic good. You must protect your time, “chunk” it for certain activities, and use it effectively. But don’t forget to waste some of it with good friends. 

As told to Jeaneen Parsons.

Lessons learned from one Flyer family