College basketball, specifically March Madness, always makes me reminisce about my time at Gonzaga. If you’re into college basketball, you’ve probably heard the name Gonzaga before. If you’re not into college basketball, you should still know the name Gonzaga because not only is it an awesome basketball school (currently a #1 seed in the tournament AND a lot of people like our chances to take it all… knock on wood!), but it’s just an all-around wonderful community that I’m thankful to have been apart of for undergrad and graduate school.
I really had no intentions of moving out of state for college. At the end of the applications and acceptance letters, my choices were narrowed down to two: Gonzaga University, a small liberal arts college in Spokane, Washington and UC Santa Barbara, a huge public university right on the water. I visited both schools and I honesty remember nothing about UCSB aside from how big the campus was and how everyone was sunbathing on the grass in their bathing suits. Gonzaga was a different story. I remember touring the campus with a small group and vividly picturing myself walking to classes and hanging on the grass with my friends. I wanted to dislike Gonzaga because I was still unsure about moving out of state but I couldn’t. I just felt like I was meant to be there. It’s kind of like people saying when you try on your wedding dress, you just know? Well, this was the same. Walking around campus (in the rain, of course), I just knew it was my school and was ready to immerse myself into the classes and activities.
I have a lot of pride in my alma mater because I know it is partly responsible for the young adult I have become. I am proud of the education I received there, but even more proud in how Gonzaga challenged me to look at the world/community in which I live. It’s here that I decided to become a teacher and here where I was given the opportunity to serve others around the country and in Zambia. It is also here that I met life-long friends who share the same passions I have. It’s great that basketball has put Gonzaga on the map. Applications and enrollment has steadily increased because of it, but I wish people knew about Gonzaga beyond the basketball court. I wish they knew the dialogues that challenged students in the classroom and knew about the hours of service learning that the students and faculty commit to each year. And I even wish they knew about Spokane. I may not have appreciated it when I was there, but it’s a city full of spirit and one that supports the Gonzaga community.
So if you are undecided on who to cheer for during the tournament, pick Gonzaga. Pick the small, liberal arts college in Eastern Washington that is much more than a basketball school. I hope they are able to make it far in the tournament but if not, that’s okay, too. I’m thankful for any kind of coverage that continues to put Gonzaga on the map for any future students who a want “an exemplary learning community that educates (them) for lives of leadership and service for the common good.” That’s the first line in Gonzaga’s mission statement. How cool is that?
And here are some cool articles that you should check out: