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The Aquilian

Lessons I learned while on Eye Street

Current+Gonzaga+seniors+grouped+together+before+senior+homecoming.
Current Gonzaga seniors grouped together before senior homecoming.

While attending Gonzaga lacrosse summer camp in the summer going into eighth grade, the head coach of the program at the time, Coach Casey O’Neil, said, “Nothing worth something is given to you.” This one short and brief quote is the most important and useful phrase I have kept with me during my time here on Eye Street these past four years. 

The A I earned in my freshman year religion class was earned, in the same way my journalism grade in this final quarter of my Gonzaga career will be earned and not given. I have also seen this phrase live out in my experiences outside the classroom.  I earned the spots  in the hockey and golf programs; I worked hard to earn them, and when I gained the spot I worked for, there was more gratitude and a deep feeling of accomplishment. Here at Gonzaga, I feel more than any other academic institution in this area that the students are pushed more than ever in every aspect of their experience here. 

The hard work the students of Gonzaga put in every day is to attain something they wish for or want. Students take the early Metro ride  to meet with a teacher in the morning so he can do well on his final test of the quarter and get a good grade;  he knows from the first day of the class that nothing comes easy to and he must earn it. With humility and laughter day in and day out, the professionals behind the desk in each classroom force the men of Gonzaga to work hard and show their best in every facet. 

In addition to living out this quote during my four years here, I learned that the grit and grind of waking up early and coming into the city each day is not just some stupid thing our parents force us to do but rather a life skill that will serve the men of Gonzaga who do this for all four years well in the future. Commuting is a dreadful but necessary aspect of a professional career— whether it is carrying my hockey bag from Union Station to school in the dead of winter or just catching rides with upperclassmen to now driving underclassmen to and from school. I will never forget the life skills attained when going to and from school.

Recently, I talked  to a parent of a friend and classmate of mine; this parent said one thing that stood out to me and made me take a step back. 

He said, “The one thing I can say I have learned about paying tuition at Gonzaga for the last four years is that it’s worth every penny I pay. The one thing you get is lifelong friends and brothers, and that is what you cannot pay for at any school in this country.”

At Gonzaga, you leave with brothers for life, but you are not forced upon those guys. The unique aspect of Gonzaga is that through the day-to-day structure and environment of the school, you meet the people you call your closest friends through personal connections and relationships. The retreats and extracurricular activities of Gonzaga allow the students to bond and connect with people different from them very early in their time at Gonzaga. 

I would have never thought my closest friend would live in Annapolis, a place I hadn’t spent time in until I met him. Gonzaga draws you to people and places you would have never let your feet take you to and people and places your heart attach you to.

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