By: Rafael Castellanos-Welsh, Class of 2018
What are you thankful for? The same question comes up every year, and every year I find myself perplexed; not because I have nothing to be thankful for, but rather the amount of care and compassion from others is always overwhelming. However, I’m thankful for the friends I have come to know within the first three months (14 weeks to be exact, but who’s counting?) here at Gonzaga University.
I know it may be considered cliché to be thankful for others, but I am a first-generation* college student and the only student from my high school to come to Gonzaga. I also tend to be introverted. Those “obstacles” (first-generation and loneliness) scared me when I first set foot on the grounds of Gonzaga, but I quickly realized that everyone had the same, or similar, “obstacles” that were impeding their happiness as well. I soon found my group of random people, and we’ve all flourished within our friendship. We shared a newfound compassion for one another that truly ignited a sense of community and comradery that is essential to succeed, both emotionally and academically. I am thankful for my new friends… from the Building Relationships in Diverse Gonzaga Environments (BRIDGE), the Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC), in Dooley Hall, and many other departments at Gonzaga.
Along with being grateful for my new friendships here at GU, a huge thanks goes to my family back in Portland. They have supported me in everything that I have attempted to do and are the reason why I keep marching on this path which I have chosen.
I know that there are many other things to be thankful for, yet having people who stand by your side, especially when they barely know you, are people whose character shows true love for all.
* The term “first generation student” is defined as a student, regardless of racial identity, who is the first in their family to attend college. This may mean “whose parents did not attend college” or “whose parents did not graduate with a baccalaureate degree.”