Articulate Kindness: Meet Alumna Catharine Jacobs

Catharine Jacobs is a JCU alumna hailing from Maryland, U.S.A. She graduated in Spring 2023 with a B.A. in Psychological Science and a minor in Humanistic Studies. Catharine also founded the JCU Film Appreciation Group, dedicated to film fruition and discussion.

Catharine Jacobs
Catharine Jacobs

What made you decide to transfer to JCU?
I come from a rural small town in Maryland, U.S.A., where I grew up in a large agricultural and fishing community. At 20 years old I decided to move to Amsterdam to work as an au pair and I fell in love with living abroad. It was this experience that influenced me to seek out an American university in Europe that would both accept my transfer credits from my community college in Maryland as well as provide a diverse environment to expose me to a variety of cultures and ideas. Through this search I found JCU.

My time abroad has brought a plethora of experiences, but I feel the most crucial component has been the presence of discomfort. Every day things become more challenging whether as the result of a language barrier or cultural differences. It is through this discomfort that I have had an abundance of opportunities to grow. My skills in communication, cultural understanding, resilience, and perhaps most important, my independence, have all blossomed during my time abroad. Given the opportunity, I feel everyone should experience life abroad.

At JCU you founded the Film Appreciation Group. What were its main challenges and rewards?
The Film Appreciation Group was a project I felt passionate about from the very beginning. I felt JCU needed a space for film discussions that blends the academic context of a classroom with the social atmosphere of a club. I wanted to meet other people who shared the same passion for film and find ways to organize discussions every week. The friends I’ve made, the conversations we’ve had, the films we’ve discussed, and the joy I’ve felt though it all has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. I encourage everyone to attend at least one Film Appreciation Group meeting during their time at JCU.

Where does you passion for film come from?
My love of film most certainly stems from my family. I always had a passion for stories. I love walking in the shoes of a protagonist. Perhaps their life is similar to mine or entirely different, they might share my values or not at all, regardless, I want to experience their story. I love the complexity of people and a film encapsulates this with a combination of factors such as soundtrack, screenplay, color palette, etc., all working together to create a piece of art.

Yet, my true favorite component of film is how it connects us. I love meeting someone new and asking about their favorite movies. Knowing what it is about the film they love is even more important than the film itself, as far as I’m concerned.

What made you choose Psychological Science as your major?
Simply put, I love people. I love how surprising we are and ever the optimist, I love how much good people bring to the world. Love for people is accessible in all sorts of ways, it can be found in almost anything, but I chose psychology because for me it’s a path to helping people through the hardest emotional and mental challenges they may face. I want to help people realize their worth, and to bring articulate kindness to every person I meet. Psychology helps me to peel back the layers, to find the roots of thoughts and actions and develop deeper connections with others as well as myself.

What JCU classes and/or professors impacted you the most and why?
As a psychology major, I had many fascinating classes from inspired professors who shaped my mind into that of a budding psychologist. However, it was when I took philosophy courses with Professor Tom Bailey that I felt truly enlightened by the power of academia. His classes challenged me to pull from my innermost ideas and morals and inspired me to construct solid arguments full of passion. I hope to use the lessons he’s taught me throughout my entire life.

What are your plans for the future?
The future is daunting to say the least, as most recent graduates would agree. My plan at the moment is to move to England or Ireland to start a career and spend some time deciding on what kind of master’s degree I would like to pursue. I am confident my next adventure will be a great one and I’m excited to see what the future may bring.