Happy almost-Odyssey Day! My name is Dan Zawacki, one of the Senior Admissions Counselors here at The Catholic University of America. This week is perhaps my favorite of the entire year: the days just before Odyssey Day, our premier admitted students eventbeing held on Friday, April 8th.
All of campus is buzzing with activity as the springtime weather shines down upon us. Outside the trees and flowers are blooming, students are cramming for midterms on the Basilica Lawn, and departments across campus are working together to welcome thousands of admitted students and their families.
All year, we in the Office of Undergraduate Admission work hard to personally get to know every student who’s interested in attending Catholic University. From our earliest high school visits in the fall, to our on-campus Open House events, to the hundreds of phone calls and emails that we answer, everything we do to form relationships with our students leads up to Odyssey Day. With so many students coming to visit campus –either for the first time or with fresh eyes as an admitted student– we’re proud to put on display all we have to offer here at Catholic.
Each Odyssey Day, students learn more about our rigorous academic programs, rich student-life experiences, and how our Catholic Identity drives our compassionate and truly unique community. Many students will decide on Friday if they’ll be joining us in the fall as a member of the Class of 2020; others will continue to weigh their options with their families in the coming weeks. Regardless, we are excited and proud to be a part of their journey.
My personal favorite part of Odyssey Day are our Night on the Town events, which fall later in the afternoon. Once admitted students have absorbed everything they need to know about their academic interests and see how our students get involved on campus, it’s time to learn about what it’s like to go to college in our nation’s capital. Washington, D.C. provides unparalleled opportunities for career-readiness (and fun!), and with the Metro so close to campus, we love taking advantage of this great college town.
For Night on the Town students can take an excursion with us counselors and tour the monuments on the National Mall, visit a Smithsonian Museum, or enjoy a meal at the beautiful Union Station. While we get to chaperone, students form quick friendships with one another and unwind as they see what life could truly be like for them here at Catholic. It’s a special opportunity for all of us, and I’ve met some truly amazing students while chowing down on Shake Shack or admiring a Picasso. If you’ll be joining us for Odyssey Day, be sure to sign up for Night on the Town when you check-in!
I’ve got to run and finish getting ready for Friday, but thank you for letting me share my own Odyssey Day experience with you. Odyssey Day is truly a great day to be a Cardinal, and I can’t wait to see you there!
ODYSSEY DAY IS ALMOST HERE!! I can honestly say it is the best day of the year. Odyssey Day 2015, I was a high school senior, still trying to decide where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. I was nervous and excited but knew that one way or another, Odyssey Day was going to change my life, and I was right! I came with my mom and dad, hoping to get a better feel for CUA and I was especially looking to decide if I could see myself going here.
Upon arriving to campus, energetic and welcoming students greeted us, and at that moment I knew it was going to be a great day. The sun was shining, the campus was glowing, and I felt a warm and loving aura coming from everyone. The first part of the day started in the Basilica for the welcome. I specifically remember that we were sitting next to a family from California on one side and a family from Kentucky on the other, and I was like, “Ohhhh yeah! I am in the nation’s capital, surrounded by people from ALL OVER the country!” Such an amazing feeling!
One of the students giving a welcome address said that four years before, she was sitting where we were sitting, and she didn’t know it at the time, but by the end of the day she would commit to CUA. When I heard that I thought, “Yeah, okay, we will see about that!” But man, there must be something magical in the air on Odyssey Day, because here I am now, telling you just about the same thing!
I was truly convinced that CUA was right for me when we broke into our prospective schools. Before the question and answer panel for prospective nursing students in Gowan Hall, I got to talk to current students who told me funny stories about their time here so far, and I felt as if they had known me for years. These students, whether they knew it or not, really helped me picture what my time here as a nursing student could look like, and it looked incredible! While we were waiting for the session to start, I also got to meet another prospective student and her mom who were also trying to decide if CUA was right for her. I remember when I was talking to her, I was thinking that it would be so much fun if she and I both ended up attending CUA for nursing, and (SPOILER ALERT) we both did!
After we left Gowan Hall on Odyssey Day, I immediately told my parents to call the other schools that I was going to visit the following week and let them know that I would not be attending. They asked, “Does this mean what we think it means?” and I replied, “OH YES IT DOES!!” This was followed by a nice group hug, and then we excitedly headed to the campus bookstore, where I was like a kid in a candy shop picking up all of the CUA gear that I could carry.
Before the day was over, there was only one thing left to do: head back to Father O’Connell Hall and tell my admissions counselor that I had made my decision! I was most looking forward to this because Dan had played such a huge role in helping me fall in love with CUA prior to Odyssey Day, so I knew that he would be thrilled to know my decision. Seeing the look on Dan’s face when I gave him the good news was the cherry on top of the best day ever. I felt like I was on top of the world on the car ride home that night. I knew that I had chosen the perfect school for me, and that the next four years of my life would be four of the best. Thanks to Odyssey Day 2015, I can say that every day is a great day because I am a Cardinal!