While I was heading out of my room in Finegan Hall, a friend of a mine, a senior, was presenting a room to a group of visitors. He stopped and asked me, “What is the best thing about Gannon?” It was a hard question to answer because there are several answers, yet none is simple to explain. I nervously replied by saying, “People are friendly here.” Because I wish I had the time and composure to tell our guests that my answer is profounder than that, here is my answer:
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t afraid. Being a Latino may not be the most popular thing in the U.S., especially when you are Honduran and no one knows where your country is. In addition to that, my country is hyperbolically negatively characterized, so I had a lot of reason to be terrified, yet I was fairly optimistic about people. Yes, people may have failed and abashed me in the past; but, they do inspire and bring me hope, and Gannon was not the exception.
Not everything has been perfect, nothing is, but I am not someone that focuses on the missteps. When I was late to orientation from Pittsburgh, someone made sure I received the proper paperwork. When I sat at a table all by myself, someone asked for my name as if I was the most important person in the world. When I wanted to know where to buy food or groceries, someone drew a map and offered me a ride whenever I needed to buy something. When I wanted my class scheduled or my credits transferred, someone gave me their complete and undivided attention to make that possible. When a friend got injured and had to go to the hospital, someone went frequently to make sure he was healthy. When I felt like an outsider, someone made sure that I felt welcomed, and domestic students were fundamental to this.
I think that people can often categorize students into domestic and global. In certain situations that is a valid distinction, but it is not always the correct one. Domestic and global students have a lot in common. Most of us are far away from somewhere, but all of us want to reach elsewhere. We are all afraid of the new challenges presented in our life and do not know how to react to it. Everyone thinks that there is a gap between us, but there isn’t. It is just an imaginary border created by our trepidations. I can attest that domestic students are very friendly and cordial.
So now that I have the words, I can say that people at Gannon aren’t only approachable and kindhearted, but more than anything, they are special.