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The Aquilian

As I leave Gonzaga, I cherish its values…

Group photo of February Kairos at Loyola on the Potomac.

I have learned many values from my tenure at Gonzaga, whether it was through the classroom, the wise teachers, coaches and staff I have built relationships with over the years or my peers who have helped me through my struggles and triumphed with me at my victories. The lessons I have learned during my time at Gonzaga are some I hold very close to me and hope to maintain what I learned throughout college and my life after.

First, I have learned so many invaluable lessons about service and how I can immediately better the surrounding community. After growing up in a small city in Maryland, my first impression of Gonzaga was the city and how big it was. I questioned how hard the traveling would be, whether it was the Metro or the long car rides with the endless traffic. The city may have been a scare at first, but soon after I began to realize how many impactful opportunities it presented. 

My freshmen year was quite the odd experience dealing with Covid-19 and all, but after what seemed like such a quick year passed by, I entered the heart of my high school years. I became heavily involved with the McKenna Center during my sophomore year and looking back those times were some of the most precious for me. I would go with my friends during a free period, and together we were able to help the less fortunate while forming new relationships with some of the most interesting people I have ever met. 

I originally thought these people could never help me but soon I realized that even though they grew in different circumstances, they gave me some of the best advice I could have ever imagined of receiving. Reflecting on my time at Gonzaga, I hope to carry the compassion Gonzaga has instilled in me through service. 

The next important lesson I learned was that I must show gratitude for the things I have been blessed with and make the most out of them. I was a privileged kid blessed with an opportunity to attend a private education while surrounded by a loving community. Constantly, teachers would remind me of this and that I should make the best out of the great position I have been put in although this didn’t really hit until I went on my immersion trip the summer of my junior year. 

I went to Kansas City to help work on building houses and provide help to the poorer communities. I went and came back a different man;  during that trip, I reflected on what I had seen and what I had been missing over the past years. I had never stopped to look at how fortunate I was compared to these people and I had never realized how lucky I was. I talked to many people who were homeless or without a family but never sat down and realized how lucky I really was. Gonzaga helped me realize to appreciate not just the opportunities I’ve given but also the people I am surrounded by. I can now confidently say that I attempt to be as grateful as possible, not just for my upbringing, but for Gonzaga— as it has provided me with friends I call brothers, teachers who care for me and mentors who have guided me onto my next chapter in life. 

Last, but most important, Gonzaga has taught me how to be a man for and with others. I have learned to put others’ needs before mine because that is what being a man for others is. To sacrifice in order for others to flourish. 

Not only have I begun to do this with friends, family and colleagues, but I now realize when someone does it for me. My family has sacrificed so much for me to attend this prestigious institution, and no matter what I fail to accomplish, they are there to pick me up and sacrifice more for my success. 

I recognize certain members of the school community with whom I have built personal relationships that help me stay on track. These people have corrected me when I may have swayed off track or sat down and spoke with me when I found myself getting in some trouble inside and out of school. 

My friends have also been a man for others for me on a multitude of accounts of which I hadn’t realized until not that long ago. Even after hurting or possibly disappointing one of them, they stick with me and sacrifice just so they can see me do my best. 

All those who sacrificed for me show me what it truly meant to be a man for and with others. This is the most important lesson to me because I have recognized how others sacrifice for me and how I now have to do the same now and in the future. These people have instilled lessons in me that I can confidently say I would have not received elsewhere. Gonzaga has taught me so much and set me on a journey to become a man I could have not dreamt of becoming, and for this, my gratitude towards Gonzaga and the lessons it taught me are infinite.

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    Carol H CorganMay 16, 2024 at 7:08 am

    Thank you for a lovely reflection, Kyan! God speed!