In my free time, I love to explore the natural lands on my college’s campus with my camera. Photo Courtesy of Payton Foley
Payton Foley ’17
- What are you doing currently?
- I am a current senior at St. Olaf College majoring in Spanish and will graduate this coming May. Along with being a student, I am contracted virtually through the City of Chicago Public Health Department. I have worked since November as a Pediatric Case Investigator for COVID-19. Key aspects of my work include following up with parents of children who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and gathering information about their symptoms, providing guidance on how best to protect our community, and offering resources to the family such as groceries and financial assistance. Our goal at CDPH is to best support and protect our community as we fight together against this pandemic.
- How has your experience at Visitation shaped your life?
- The community at Visitation taught me how to be both a holistic student and person in the world today. In my work, we are tasked with providing services and gathering information. But, often, the most beneficial aspect that I can offer to my clients is empathy. We are all human at the end of the day, not superhuman, and I think it is important to recognize that. Visitation taught me that there is so much more to an education outside of just academics. The community taught me to be strong in my faith and allowed me to be the best version of myself. My little sister, current senior, Brooke, did a beautiful job of creating the virtue banner of Inner Peace, which is treasure during these uncertain times. This year has taught me many things, the most important of those being to cherish the little moments of inner peace. For example, a hug from a friend, drinking in a coffee shop, and time with our elderly family members. These are all moments that can normally be taken for granted, but within the last year, I have learned to appreciate these moments even more.
- What would your advice be to current students at Vis?
- My advice to current students at Visitation is to pursue your dreams and to trust in God’s plan for you. I have been told “no” many times throughout my educational and professional journey. As hard as each rejection was, they each pushed me to where I am today. I like to say that sometimes God’s nudges toward the future are not always gentle. Ultimately, each closed door just allows for another door to be opened. In the end, you are so much stronger than you think you are.