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Kayla's View of MSMU

Kayla Cooper

Before coming to the Mount, I had always envisioned myself living in New York. I wanted to live in an apartment down the road from a cute cafe and attend a large university. In that cafe, amongst the bustling city, I wanted to study classic literature and sip on over-priced latte's. That all changed the minute I stepped foot on the Mountain Home. Well, most of it anyway. 

Growing up nearby the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Northern Virginia, I had developed a love for the outdoors at an early age. Naturally, I felt at home at MSMU, and that dream of living in the Big Apple began to look blurry. In the first few weeks of my Freshman year, I was imediately drawn to how close the community at the Mount was. I loved how small my classes were, and how easy it was to connect with my peers and professors. I quickly came to realize that my dream of being a big city girl was, in reality, the opposite of what I had wanted. Still, some parts of that dream have come true. As an English and Communications double major, I do, in fact, study literature and consume a questionable amount of caffeine. And, I have to say, one of my favorite places to study on campus is the Cafe, even if it is just in Emmitsburg, MD. 

Over my year and a half at the Mount, I've found communities where I feel at home. I have an editorial role with Lighted Corners, I'm a Writing Center Tutor, and most of my friends, if not hiking buddies, are English and Comm majors. Having grown up Catholic, I also take great joy in being able to utilize any of four chapels on campus, at virtually any time I like. One facet of my identity however, that I have not yet found a home for, is my Queer identity. 

I came out when I was 14 to my loving Catholic family, who initially had some questions. So, we answered them together. I shared books and articles with them about the LGBTQ+ community, and they shared affirming articles and books of faith with me. Since then, we have facillitated an open and honest, ongoing dialogue about what it means to be Queer and Catholic. For the longest time, my Queer and Catholic identity was one in the same. I was always told, and still believe, that God made me in his image. I am loved by God, and he made me to be loved, even if not in a heteronormative way. 

I have always felt welcome here at the Mount. The Catholic Church, however, doesn't have the best track record of making LGBTQ+ people feel welcome. Because of this, I've found that I often hide or distance my Queer identity in Catholic communities for the sake of not being questioned about it. As I've said before, and firmly believe: I feel welcome here at the Mount. Therefore, I am hoping to rekindle that sense of belonging, as it pertains to being Catholic and Queer. 

Throughout the course of this blog, I plan to discover and reflect upon the ways in which I feel holistically at home at MSMU, particularly regarding my sexuality. I will focus on integrating various aspects of my lived experience at the Mount, including my major(s), core classes, extracurriculars, and my faith. 

Although I initially had dreamed about living in New York, I am blessed to have found my way to the Mountain Home; it is truly a place unlike any other. I am beyond excited to discover how all aspects of my identity co-exist and thrive within this beautiful Mount community. I hope you'll join me for the adventure! 

Kayla Cooper