Joseph Cotton is a sophomore Philosophy, Politics and the Public major. He is a staff writer for the Newswire from Dearborn, Mich.
During the first few days of Manresa my freshman year, I was an absolute nervous wreck. I couldn’t eat much of anything the first day because I was just that nervous. I think I even forgot my last name during the first small group meeting. Not the best way to start a Xavier experience. Having to deal with anxiety while trying my hardest to at least appear to be social felt like being in an episode of Total Drama Island that I wanted to get out of as soon as possible.
Luckily for me, my Manresa group leaders were more than understanding and allowed me to take a few moments to get away from the mass of people around me whenever I needed it. During the second day, the first-years went to Cintas to perform group cheers and watch illusionist Craig Karges perform his routine. As soon as I got to the arena, I immediately felt the need to leave the event, but I planned on sticking it out to do my part in the group cheer and then quickly make my escape back to my room to get a breather. My plan worked out all right, other than the fact that my group cheered toward the end because the Manresa core decided to start at number 60 for whatever reason. I’m sure that my experience is more common than the local extroverts might think. It was really hard for me and many others to take a chance and make the leap of faith into the Xavier community.
When it came time to reunite with my group the next day, I was shocked at the noticeable shift in the group dynamics. Everybody was more sociable and excited to jump into each of the activities. While I could feel that everybody had a newfound faith in Xavier University, I was just left wondering what I missed. Despite the new atmosphere of my group, I couldn’t help but feel hesitant. I didn’t know for sure if I was invited into the community.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year, well after I broke out of my shell and became involved on campus, I finally got to experience the shock and awe of Craig Karges and his magic as a Manresa staff member. Finally coming face-to-face with the magic of the unknown and seeing the literal blind faith that Craig put into his show made me understand why the group dynamics were different that Saturday morning. At the end of his show, Craig Karges said, “It is said that we only use 15-20 percent of our brain function any given day. So, what I want you all to take away from tonight is that if you just believe, you can do anything you set your mind to.” These words are a call to action for the first-years to have faith in others and to have faith in themselves.
One of our school’s Jesuit values is “Magis,” or the faith in more. For me, “Magis” has always meant the leap of faith required to achieve something bigger than myself. I believe that there is no better messenger for that than Craig Karges. As I sat in Cintas as a sophomore, even if it was only for just a moment, I got to see a full stadium of first-year students forget about their insecurities and efforts to be cool and believe in something more than themselves.
So, to Mr. Karges, thank you for making us believe in the promise of Xavier and something bigger than ourselves. All for one and one for all.