Academic Read #10: A “Normal” Freshman Year

From our Statement of Affirmation: Gonzaga identifies with the Catholic Social Teaching, which recognizes that “The common good and a just society cannot be attained without working to positively impact the state of the poor, the vulnerable, and those marginalized by society at large.

           I’d like to think my freshman year was normal enough. I had to deal with the same things as most of my peers: balancing friends, classes, clubs and activities. It was hard, and there isn’t much you can do to prepare for it. While my freshman year felt just like everyone else’s, it was completely different and unique. I never could have known the things that awaited for me.

Just about a year ago today I sat down with my parents and decided that I was going to Gonzaga. This was very exciting for my family and I— I am a first generation college student. Upon arriving at Gonzaga for Orientation Weekend, I was slammed with all sort of things to do and be involved in. It was overwhelming. After the next couple of weeks passed, I began to find a groove of what I would do day to day. But after some time I felt I grew too complacent with my life too quickly. I saw my peers continuing to join new clubs and signing up for activities every day. I grew jealous and wanted to find more for myself. I sat in my room I thought of new things to try, but I had trouble discovering what I wanted. One night I walked into the common room and saw on my RA’s whiteboard “Mission Possible Sign-up: 7:00 am”I said, “Okay.”

Mission Possible is an alternative spring break trip that has nine different locations where groups of students are sent. We work with all kinds of communities, varying from homelessness, construction sites, developmentally disabled, and many more impactful causes. I called my parents and told them I wouldn’t be coming home for spring break, but leaving on a trip somewhere in the country. I woke up early the next morning, secured my spot on a trip, and after weeks of waiting I found out I was leaving for Tacoma, Washington with a group of students I had never met before. Needless to say, I was terrified.

Once the trip was about to leave, I had learned most of their names, but they still felt like strangers to me. However, I didn’t let that stand in the way of the personal goal I had set for myself. Before the trip I told myself, “Whatever happens or however this turns out, I want to give myself to this trip for one week.”I shared this goal with the rest the group before we left and I felt it ignited something inside all of us to not just go on this trip, but be a part of it. While we were there, we strived to simply absorb everything. The biggest thing I took away from the trip were the lessons about service. I had never done anything like this before and could go on for hours about what I learned and the experiences I had, but that is for you to experience for yourself.

At the end of the trip I left with new perspectives and thoughts that I had never experienced before. As well as coming home with twelve other students I now consider some of my best friends. The spark I had ignited in the beginning erupted into a flame. I wanted more: more service, more community, more experiences. I began to jump in wherever I could with GUSR, GU Outdoors, or GUTS. Whatever I wanted to do I was no longer afraid to do it. It took me half of my freshman year to figure that out, so I hope to inspire you to make the most of your freshmen year from the very beginning. Don’t be afraid to try something new, it doesn’t matter if it sucks and you hate it, at least you tried. Gonzaga has so much to offer, so please don’t let it pass you by!

Zack Rosse is current Gonzaga  sophomore studying Civil Engineering. He is also an Orientation Leader, participates in GU Outdoors, and GUSR.

IGNITE Question: Like Zack, we at Gonzaga strive to combat becoming “too complacent with life too quickly.” What will motivate you to challenge yourself and leave your comfort zone?

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