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Advent Reflection: Joy


As Saint Louis University embraces the holiday season, students, faculty and staff members were asked to share reflections on the season's big ideas - themes that warm their hearts, ideas that lead them to seek greater truths and moments that inspire them to nurture the light of good in themselves and others through winter's darkest days.

Marlene Wu

SLU staff member Marlene Wu, academic coordinator, TRIO-Educational Talent Search. Photo by Amelia Flood

Marlene Wu recently celebrated her first year as an academic coordinator with the University's TRIO-Educational Talent Search. As part of this series, Wu shared what has sparked joy for her this year.

Finding Joy in a New Family Member

One of the biggest, and newest, sources of joy in my life happened this past May when my first nephew, Leif, was born. He was born on May 13.

A very healthy and happy baby, and the first baby in our family!

Despite the fact that my sister lives far away, I was lucky enough to visit her just a few weeks after he was born over the Memorial Day weekend. I got to hold him, feed him and was even there for his baptism. It brought me so much joy this year to be able to bond with my nephew while he was still a newborn, and to be there to help my sister as she recovered.

Since May, my sister has moved, but her new home is actually closer to me, so I will get to see her more than before. I am looking forward to visit more often and be a part of my nephew’s life as he grows up. 

Celebrating 'Aha!' Moments and Students' Smiles

It is rare to find a job where you can feel joy and know that you are truly impacting another person’s life.

I am very fortunate that I find moments of joy in my career. I am part of a program called TRIO-Educational Talent Search, which is a program here at SLU where we work with St. Louis Public Schools to help support disadvantaged students in middle schools and high schools to encourage them to graduate and to further their educations after graduation.

One service we bring to the students is providing tutors to the schools. I feel joy when I watch the tutors interact with the students and seeing the “Aha!” moment when the subject just clicks in their heads and they “get it.” It is an awesome feeling to see the children grow and learn during our tutoring.  

It is rare to find a job where you can feel joy and know that you are truly impacting another person’s life."

Marlene Wu

Another joy is when I see something as simple as students’ smiles when I show up at the school. Them saying, “Hi, Ms. Wu,” and getting the hugs are great! I enjoy feeling like I am making a difference in their lives, and, hopefully, I give them some new ideas or tools that will serve them in the future. 

I know that I am blessed to experience such moments of joy, especially in my career.

Newslink's Advent Reflection series will continue through the holiday season.