From our Mission Statement: “Gonzaga University is an exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good.”
If I told you that I am currently 2, 485 miles away from my home at Gonzaga because I took a course that inspired me to pack my bags and move across the globe for six weeks, would you believe me? As extreme as that sounds, that’s exactly that happened.
I came to Gonzaga uncertain as to whether or not I wanted to continue with Spanish, as I had taken quite a bit in high school. Unsure if I wanted to minor in Spanish or not, I took a few courses. In short, Spanish 202 is the reason I am currently writing this blog in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
I did not decide to study abroad because learning the subjunctive in adverbial clauses is absolutely thrilling or wildly exciting—I am here in Mexico because my professor inspired me to push my knowledge and comprehension even further and my Spanish course made me want to seek more, understand, and really live the culture I had been studying for a whole semester.
How can one course and one professor make you want to subject yourself to six hours of classes every day during your summer vacation? I can break it down as follows:
Spanish 202 is dynamic. You will not find yourself sitting in the back of an auditorium filled with hundreds of students wondering when your professor will stop talking. Yes, it is a is lecture, but is a lecture really that bad when we get to listen to music, read poems by famous Spanish and Hispanic authors, learn about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries, and share a traditional tea called mate in class—just like the Guaraní people of Paraguay do? When class is as lively and engaging as Spanish 202, you are not even going to mind having to walk up three flights of stairs just to get there.
You are going to encounter classes like Spanish 202 that ignite something in you, too. Whether that be a language class that inspires you to travel abroad, a volunteer-based extra-curricular that inspires you to teach, or a lecture that challenges and changes your ideologies—there is something for you at Gonzaga that will cause a spark in you.
In addition to these incredible classes you are going to encounter professors that will ignite your experience. Staff, faculty, the person that made you coffee in Crosby—every single person at Gonzaga has that spark. Perhaps it is because they were sparked by another Zag, or maybe because they found it on their own and are just waiting to pass it on.
I have with me a copy of my favorite book because, as I travel, it’s a reminder that every time I go to a new place, I have the opportunity to make it my own. The book is called Siddhartha, and it is written by Herman Hesse. He states: “Most people…are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.” I am begging you to not be ordinary. Take courses that will further your passion in something, like my Spanish class did for me. Inspire and be inspired.
“Your soul is the whole world,” writes Hesse. So don’t be afraid to bear your soul and let yourself be ignited by the opportunities, people, and other souls at Gonzaga and in turn, ignite another. Good luck, class of 2018, and remember, “Onwards, onwards, this is your path.”
Kailee Haong is a sophomore from Seattle, Washington. She recently changed her major from Biology to English with a concentration in writing with a minor in Spanish. She also writes for the student paper, the Gonzaga Bulletin.
IGNITE Question: Did you have a favorite class in high school that sparked something in you? How?
Hesse, Herman. Siddhartha. New York: New Directions, 1951. Print.