Happy to Help, Happy to Teach

By Austin Nieves 

austin photo

When I think of the word “teacher,” I picture my middle school teachers, my professors, my coaches, and my parents. I never thought about myself as a teacher until recently, when I began to work summer baseball camps, sharing the knowledge I’ve gained as a college athlete to younger ballplayers ages seven to 16. Since then, my view of myself as a teacher has expanded. I see that I’ve been teaching not only baseball players at camps, but my nieces and nephews, my friends who ask for advice, and even my patients in my clinical rotations here at Molloy.

“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach,” said the great philosopher Aristotle. This quotation always comes to mind when I think about my nursing classes at Molloy. I cannot even begin to think about the number of times I’ve heard a professor tell the class that simply knowing the information is not enough in nursing; you must fully understand it and apply to real-life situations. Nurses have a wide scope of responsibility. One of the largest responsibilities is being a teacher. While some patients who leave the hospital organize home care to help them with healthy living, most patients do not. It is important for a nurse to be able to teach a patient how to remain healthy after his hospital visit. For example, a person newly diagnosed with diabetes needs to be taught how to manage his blood sugar. A nurse teaches the patient how to obtain his blood glucose levels, how and when to use insulin, which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, and suggests lifestyle changes. When a nurse’s teaching is successful, it results in more positive outcomes for the patient, who is better prepared to take care of himself after his hospital stay.

The last two summers, I’ve been working at baseball camps helping young players get better by teaching them the intricacies of the sport. This summer, I worked at a baseball camp hosted by Molloy College. The kids were eighth and ninth graders looking to make the transition into high school baseball. As a member of the staff, which included three college coaches and two college players, I helped teach the kids how to adjust to the larger playing field both mentally and physically. It was great to see the kids make adjustments and have success throughout the camp, especially towards the end of the week. As a player, I remember how frustrating the jump to the larger field can be and how happy I was when I began to have consistent success again. This made the players’ happiness after getting a hit or making a nice play during a game even more worthwhile and enjoyable.

It occurs to me that I am destined to teach for the rest of my life. My future nursing career is going to present me with countless opportunities to teach. My athletic background has already allowed me the opportunity to teach, and I look forward to continuing to use the platform to connect with young athletes. It feels good knowing that I’ll be able to make a positive impact on people’s lives, from helping people to be healthy, to helping athletes reach goals, to teaching my own children. I’m happy to help, and happy to teach.

Fanjeaux: Faith, Fun, and Forever Friendships

By Elizabeth Meittinis

elizabeth meittinis

For the first time in my life, I was leaving the United States. I was headed to Fanjeaux, France, as part of a Molloy-sponsored trip to learn more about our Dominican roots. Not only was I traveling outside of U.S. borders, but I was also traveling to a place of faith and holiness. I had been looking forward to this trip since my freshman year. There’s nothing I love more about Molloy than the faith and feeling of community on campus, and I couldn’t wait to be able to see where the Dominican order was started so I could fully understand the Dominican Charism. When I started at Molloy, I was drawn to the concept of the four pillars of Dominican life: Study, Community, Spirituality and Service, but it wasn’t until I immersed myself in Campus Ministries and Dominican Young Adults that I truly began to learn how to live my daily life according to those pillars.

Traveling to Fanjeaux was a life-changing experience to say the least. At first, I was very anxious and nervous because it would be the longest I’ve ever been away from home, as well as my first international flight, but it was comforting to know I was travelling alongside five other people from Molloy. When we landed in Toulouse, we met some people from other Dominican schools that we would be staying with for the next two-and-a-half weeks. Although we were exhausted beyond belief, we were able to start conversations and already began to build friendships in that airport, as we waited for our bus to take us to Fanjeaux.

Those friendships and bonds continued to develop throughout the entire trip. We lived the four pillars of Dominican life every day, but the most profound pillar was definitely community. The sense of community I felt while in France was overwhelming. I’ve been on my fair share of trips where I have gotten close to many people, but this trip was definitely much more than I expected. We ate together, went on all excursions together, took a class together, drank wine together, prayed and reflected together; pretty much were together all day every day. The sense of companionship, trust and friendship was evident and it’s something I’ll never forget. From the “good mornings” to the “I bought you this at the market,” everyone looked out for each other and it was so touching. The relationships I was able to create during my time in France will be carried forever in my heart.

fanjeaux group

We traveled throughout southern France, visiting many churches, castles and historical places. We went to visit the house where St. Dominic lived during his time spent in Fanjeaux. It was such a powerful and awe-inspiring experience walking into that home; there really aren’t words to describe the feeling I had. One of my favorite excursions was the day we traveled to Montségur and hiked up to the top of the mountain. It was there that I definitely felt the presence of God among us as we were conquering the mountain. Not only did I feel His presence, I was able to witness God in so many people during that experience, people who lent a helping hand to others while climbing up rocks and cheered others on as they struggled to make it to the top. I felt as though God was with us in these individuals and He truly wanted us all to conquer that mountain and experience that breathtaking view together.

Another profound memory was the day we went to visit the Abbey of LaGrasse. I felt like I was in The Sound of Music! We entered one of the churches located on the grounds and the acoustics in that church were fantastic. While on a tour, I was able to sing with one of the adults on the trip and it was such a powerful experience. As we sang “Amazing Grace,” the echo and wholeness of both our voices together was overwhelming. That day will always have an impact on my life.

Although every day I wish I was able to go back and relive those experiences all over again, I am so blessed to be able carry all those memories and friendships with my throughout my life. I am so appreciative of all the opportunities I have been afforded through Molloy.

fanjeaux trip

Images courtesy of Elizabeth Meittinis.