“Vires, Artes, Mores”

For almost one hundred years, the Latin words, “Vires, Artes, Mores” have been the guiding philosophy behind Florida State University. Vires signifies strength of all kinds – moral, physical, and intellectual; Artes alludes to the beauty of intellectual pursuits as exemplified in skill, craft, or art; and Mores refers to character, custom, or tradition. Describe how one or more of the values embodied in these concepts are reflected in your life.

I am fortunate to be able to say that all of the ideas behind the words “Vires, Artes, Mores” are reflected in my life in some way. Both of my parents have shown me strength throughout my life. My father developed Endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart, in 2003 and had to undergo open heart surgery. This was one of the hardest things my family and I have gone through. I saw bravery in my parents as my dad attempted a joke about having his whole body shaved for the surgery (he’d already been given laughing gas) and my mother, who smiled reassuringly, kissed him goodbye. We sat nervously in the waiting room on the verge of tears when the surgery lasted two hours longer than expected. While I waited I thought of the problems in my life that had before seemed so pertinent and suddenly realized how unbelievably insignificant they were. In this experience, I developed a much clearer perspective on what is important and realized how much inner strength I could have in times of need for those I love. We sighed with relief when a nurse came out and informed us that the operation had gone smoothly. I personally know the beauty of intellectual pursuits through my passion for marine science. In the summer before my junior year I witnessed a fisherman catch a shark on our local beach. He split the stomach of the shark open, revealing all of its internal workings. I expected my reaction to this scene to be one of repulsion but instead I was fascinated. I had only ever learned about sharks in textbooks or seen them on the discovery channel so to see this beast straight out of the ocean was mesmerizing. That year I doubled up my sciences and began participating in marine programs in my school and community. I am lucky to have developed such a passion for something early on in my life. I love being so truly intrigued by marine life that I still get that feeling of awe from my first shark encounter each time I learn something new.It is through the lingering customs of my heritage that I’ve learned the importance of tradition. The ancestors on my dad’s side of the family are Czechoslovakian but over the many generations since they moved to America the only surviving traditions are foods such as Hulushki and Hulupki, crocheting, which I have picked up, and the stories that my Grammy shares with me on occasion. While we have adapted and melted into the general American traditions, I still feel that these parts of my background are a beautiful piece of me and where I came from and I think it’s important not to lose those special ties to the various cultures that make us who we are.

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