I'm Lisa Kirk, a wife, mama, writer, and founder. Since 2010, Something Pretty has been home to my favorite memories, reflections, and inspirations. Thanks so much for reading!

My 10 Favorite Things about Franciscan University


With back to school season in full swing, I’ve found myself reminiscing a lot about college lately. My college experience ended up completely differently than I had originally anticipated, and while explaining it in short-form makes me a little self-conscious sometimes (three schools and five years sounds so flakey!), it’s sweet to now see how God used each place and experience to teach me something. You can read the long story of how I ended up at three different schools here.

In 2008, I graduated from high school and headed to Franciscan University, a tiny Catholic school in Steubenville, Ohio. It was perched on a hill in a little industrial town, and the first time I stepped on campus was the summer before I started my freshman year. I was SO sure that the Lord was calling me there, it didn’t even matter that I had never seen it. My two years there were all about formation for me–growing in my faith, acclimating to life back in America after five years abroad, and finding my independence as a college student. Even though my career goals ultimately led me elsewhere, I know that my years at Franciscan changed my life forever, and I’m eternally thankful for that! I thought it would be fun to share my favorite things about being a student at each school I went to, starting today with Franciscan.


1. People are so, so nice. It’s incredibly easy to make friends, and since you see the same people constantly on such a small campus, there’s always a way to connect with someone else.
2. Franciscan is home to some of the best Catholic theology professors in the world, and being a student there means having the opportunity to learn from their brilliant minds and faiths.
fus53. The opportunity to receive the sacraments frequently and easily. The chapel is packed for 6:30 AM daily Mass every single day of the week–it was inspiring to be surrounded by people who all take their faith so seriously.
4. The way the brick buildings glow during the golden hour, especially during the fall.
fus25. Chicken tender wraps in The Pub–the best on-campus escape from the cafeteria when I was there!
6. Households! Franciscan’s version of sororities/fraternities, all of which were spiritually focused, was one of my favorite parts of student life there. My household sisters are still some of my dearest friends and our retreats, rosaries, Masses, and living on my household wing in the dorm make up some of my favorite Franciscan memories.
fus47. My favorite class I EVER took in college was Human Embryology at Franciscan, which I took to fulfill a basic science credit. I love the fact that such a random class for an English student became my favorite, and I know I wasn’t alone–at the end of the last class of the semester, everyone stood up and applauded the professor. Learning about life before birth in so much depth was fascinating, challenging, and inspiring.
8. Seeing priests and nuns everywhere–they’re truly part of the community, and were always an encouraging presence.
fus39. AUSTRIA. The fact that I got to live in that gorgeous place pictured below and spend weekends galavanting around Europe with friends still takes my breath away a little bit. My semester in Austria was incredibly challenging, but it also inspired me beyond my wildest dreams. And, I met Dave there, which brings me to…
10. While I didn’t know it at the time, it’s where God led me to my husband :)
fus6What did you love about where you went to college?







  1. Victoria says:

    Oh my goodness- I felt tears start to well up when I read your last reason.. I’m ridiculous! Haha! I can relate a lot to what you said in your first paragraph. I went to Baylor my first semester of college before transferring to A&M and I remember that even though I knew the Lord was leading me, I felt like I was being a flake and that people from high school would judge me. Which is ridiculous, but that’s truly how I felt! As the next years played out so many people I knew ended up changing their plans and transferring schools.. and I love your detailed story of how God was working things out for you to meet your husband and have your dream job! :) Can’t wait to read your other two posts!

    • Lisa says:

      I totally relate to that feeling–after all the excitement of getting into college and graduating, I almost felt like my experience was less legitimate because I didn’t start at the school I ended up at. So not the case, in hindsight! Thankful that the Lord’s plan is always, always better than ours :)

  2. Kelly says:

    I loved my study abroad experience as well!! I always look back on it with fond memories and believe that trip is what really helped me to grow up and become an independent adult. Nothing like travel internationally alone to do it! Can’t wait for the other posts!

  3. Dana says:

    this is a fun series! looking forward to the rest!

  4. Maureen says:

    What a fun experience! Also – every time I see a nun I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I don’t know why, but I feel like they are such a beautiful expression of our faith and I love it.

    Two weekends ago I was the MOH in my best friend’s wedding in Chicago. She got married at Holy Name Cathedral and as we were all standing there on the altar watching them say their vows (I was weeping), I saw two nuns peek in to watch. I told the bride is must be a sign of good luck!

    Did you ever go to any of the big conferences for young Catholics? I only recently learned about them and wish I would have gone in college!

    • Lisa says:

      Aww, I love that!! I wish some nuns had crashed my wedding :) What a sweet blessing for your friend!

      I actually lived abroad when I was in high school, so I never went to the Steubenville Youth Conferences or anything, but I’m sure I would have loved them. So many people I know say their lives changed going to those conferences!

  5. Kristen says:

    Awwww baby Lisa!!!!

  6. Jadzia says:

    I still love it there!!

  7. Kate says:

    I’ve been missing college this year too…weird as it sounds I miss the smell of my freshman dorm!

    I love Maureen’s description above of seeing nuns feeling like winning the lottery. One of my favorite memories from my wedding day was when one of my bridesmaids told me that her mom (who is an accountant at a convent) had the “full fleet” of nuns praying for us! :)

  8. India says:

    I learned so much about myself during college. I went to a small, private, United Methodist/Historically Black University and it really taught me so much about myself. I had some rocky times that really brought me closer to God and made me the person that I am today. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself during college!

    • Lisa says:

      So true! It seems like God uses those college years for so many people in really formative ways, especially when things get tough!

  9. Richard says:

    1) A classmate introduced me to her childhood friend who became my wife and your mother
    2) I began traveling the world in my sophomore and junior years visiting 20 countries and found out that it was all I dreamed about and haven’t stopped
    3) friends made then are still my friends 30+ years later

  10. […] two years at Franciscan, as much as I loved it, I decided to transfer. There were lots of reasons, but a few of the main […]

  11. […] two years at Franciscan and one year at Pitt, I finally found my place at The University of Texas. Transferring as a […]

  12. […] Dave was driving and not me!) on January 1, celebrated a sweet friend’s wedding in our college town on January 2, and headed home to Raleigh on January 3. We had a wonderful time in Syracuse with […]


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