Mike Collis `13
Mike Collis `13
Frequently seen around campus doing yoga, this senior is also into boating, especially canoeing.
“I was raised Catholic and confirmed in eighth grade. After that, I strayed, and became a `Christmas and Easter Catholic.’ Then I strayed even further when I got into biology and evolution. I didn’t see how [beliefs in both creation and evolution] could coexist. I didn’t think I could have my cake and eat it too. So I became an angry evolutionist during my junior and senior year of high school.
“My last year of high school I was most connected to the church through art history. It created this emotional swelling. And I prayed in Eaton chapel before my Presidential Scholarship interview. And well, I’m here, aren’t I?” he says with a smile.
Speaking of his somewhat surprising path back to faith, he says, “It was yoga that brought me back. I started saying prayers through the poses. Also, one of my Baptist friends was baptized around the same time; he too was coming back into faith. Yoga is a huge part of faith for me. [Conversely,] I see going to church as a form of meditation. I’ve gone to mass again in my home church, but not yet in Beloit. I’m actually really excited because this week I’m going to mass for the first time since coming to college. I went to Catholics Connect last week and met some of the priests.
“I’m a void without faith. I was so much angrier and less happy. Evolution is the religion of the secular state, and I don’t feel animosity towards it; it’s just one way of explaining things. Still, reading books about faith and my shrine in my room is a much happier way to think about where I come from.”
Bring up religion, spirituality, and faith at Beloit, and Mike paints a picture of challenge and even struggle at times. “It’s hard to find people to connect with. I feel part of a very small group. Religion is kind of a taboo – people don’t want to talk or hear anything, especially where Christianity is involved. I think it’s an ill-conceived notion on campus that most of the U.S. isn’t religious. Secularity wouldn’t make anything better.”