Moving into Finegan Hall four years ago at a school just over an hour away from my hometown, I felt as though I knew what the next chapter of my life would bring. I found reassurance in not being far from family and even knowing some of my fellow students. Even the winters didn’t come as too much of a surprise.
All that changed, though, when I started to experience all the opportunities available to me as a Gannon student.
From my first classes, it was clear that my professors were as dedicated to my success as I was. My decision to follow the actuarial science track of my mathematics major meant I relied heavily on the faculty to help me study for some of the professional exams while in school. Their ongoing support as I sat for three of these exams was one of the largest sources of encouragement for me.
In my insurance classes, my professors gave me valuable insights and put me in touch with professionals in the industry that allowed me to complete almost a full year as an Actuarial Intern before graduation. I’ve found new ways to analyze thanks to my economics professors, classes and reading group.
My advice to incoming students is that for every surprise or challenge that I’ve encountered, there was support throughout Gannon – you just need to ask.
Over my time at Gannon, the Honors Program consistently provided me the opportunity to gain experience in areas outside my chosen field. I was able to take classes with professors in virtually every department. A specific class I remember was the Art of Film, an exploration of French cinematography that culminated in a trip to Paris and Versailles at the end of the semester. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to supplement my math curriculum with such an enlightening course and travel opportunity.
I was also able to help with a variety of other endeavors. One of the largest projects I was able to support was the painting of the mural on A.J.’s Way. The inspiration coming from my very first Honors class, the marathon process put those involved in touch with University leadership and gave me a variety of skills that I will take with me after graduation. I was even able to present on the status of the project at the National Collegiate Honors Conference in 2015.
The emphasis on international travel and its ability to inspire and alter your worldview has been apparent since my first semester at Gannon. In my final semester at Gannon, I took a class called Good and Evil: Reconciling the Holocaust for which we traveled to Poland, visiting various sites we’ve read about in class. Looking at these events from both a historical perspective and a theological basis has furthered the many chances I’ve had to reflect on my faith.
Embracing everything that Gannon has had to offer has furthered my professional, spiritual and personal life beyond what I would have ever expected. I’ve found a caring family of faculty and friends that always know how to guide me to do better and be better. While I had no idea what this University would have in store for me when I arrived, I’ve been grateful for it all.