What is ASC?

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Photo Credit:  Dennis Hill

Photo Credit: Dennis Hill

There are many questions with simple, easy answers. “Should I take a nap?” “Do I want ice cream?” “Should I take another nap?”

For every easy question, there are, however, many more questions with complex and sometimes daunting answers. A short list of these inquiries facing a senior in college includes: “Did you do the assigned reading?” or “Do I order Jimmy Johns for the fourth consecutive day?” But the more realistic question most college seniors get asked is, “What are you doing after graduation?” To some this question is easy; to most it’s terrifying. I was in the latter.

Since graduating SLUH in 2009, serving in the Alumni Service Corps had always been a personal goal. SLUH gave me the confidence to understand and unlock my potential. Questioning whether I should give a year back to the Jesuit tradition or not was a no-brainer. The difficulty came in describing ASC to my friends who were unfamiliar with the Jesuit program. As spring rolled around and I was frequently asked that permeating question, I found myself fumbling for words and rambling on about my high school and… about the Jesuits… and about Saint Louis… and about Loyola Academy. About five minutes into the conversation, I could tell I lost the questioner three minutes ago. Eventually I watered down my response to a sober, “I’m teaching for a year. It’s like Teach for America.” As graduation neared, I avoided the question entirely and often referred to ASC in the guise of “my job.”

The weariness of wordiness to describe my future path, however, was not the heart of my inefficacy. My college years went by with ASC always marinating in the back of my mind to the point that the idea of ASC became stale. The truth was I had no idea what ASC was. Yes, I read the website and could rattle off the mission statement, but it was not until attending the two week Boot Camp and living in community that freshened the meaning of this year.

ASC is an experience, and one that redefines itself everyday. If you asked all 17 of my friends in #ASC23, you will get 17 different answers and different answers each day of the week. Answers might range from ‘teaching with an Ignatian purpose’ to ‘the joys of living in community.’ Some days are hard, some are tiring, but each day is a blessing. So if you asked me, right now, “What is ASC?” I’ll answer in the most teacher-esque style out there,

“Great question. We’ll get to that tomorrow.”

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