College is supposed to prepare you for the real world, apparently. Sometimes this is hard to see, like when you’re failing a biology class and wondering how knowing that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell will prepare you for your accounting career.
As it turns out, some of the most valuable lessons you’ll learn in college won’t be during your 8 AM algebra class. Instead, it’s a bunch of the weird quirks and traditions we have here at Gonzaga that will stick with you.
1. Getting Involved In Clubs
Zags get involved. Whether it’s participating in an intramural team (or seven) or signing up for a club, almost every student does something outside of class. In doing so, you’re able to meet a bunch of interesting new people with similar interests as you, which is always a plus.
What You Learn: Your community is as strong as you make it. Gonzaga has a very close-knit community, and that’s largely because students like to get involved. This translates to the real world as well. Do you think you’re going to find your community after college if you just watch The Office alone in your apartment all day? Probably not. It would be awesome, but you’re probably not going to find much community there.
2. Volunteer Work
Gonzaga has a ton of opportunities to give back to the community, and most people take advantage of that. With programs like the Zag Volunteer Corps, GAME, GUSR, SMILE, and a bunch of other acronyms, Zags show that they care about the community they’re in. Additionally, clubs such as Knights, Setons, and Alpha Kappa Psi focus heavily on service work.
What You Learn: The most valuable thing you can donate is your time. While donating money is an awesome way to help those who need it, there’s definitely something special about actually working with those who can benefit from your time. That’s probably why Gonzaga has been the number one producer of volunteers for the Peace Corps for three consecutive years among small schools.
Looking for a house is stressful. It becomes even more stressful when you start looking for houses the October before your junior year and all of the good houses are already taken. For whatever reason, Zags like to start house hunting ridiculously early. I have a senior friend who was telling me about a pair of freshmen who asked to tour his house in September. Freshmen. They’ve been at the school for less than a month and were already planning for their junior year living situation. What good could possibly come from such a stressful ordeal?
What You Learn: If you want something in the future, start planning for it now. Although you’re competing against other Zags for housing when you’re on campus, not everybody is that motivated and prepared in the real world. If you have a game plan and start early enough, you can get almost anything done.
4. Tenting/Waiting In Line For Tickets
Tenting is by far one of our coldest traditions. In order to get good seats for big basketball games, students have to camp out in tents overnight, often in freezing temperatures. Even for the small games that have no impact on our record, students start lining up 10-12 hours before tipoff in order to get good seats. Zags are crazy, man.
What You Learn: If you really want something, you’ll have to work for it. Tenting is super fun for the first few hours! Then it gets really cold, really fast. While you’re sitting there in 28 degree whether wondering what the symptoms of hypothermia are, you begin to doubt if the game is really worth it. However, all that doubt disappears as soon as you hear the first notes of “Zombie Nation” over the loudspeakers in McCarthey. And speaking of basketball…
5. Basketball (Of Course)
If you write a post about Gonzaga and don’t have a section about basketball, did you really write an article about Gonzaga? Here at GU, we’re spoiled with a team that consistently makes it into the NCAA tournament and wins almost every game at home. You may have noticed I said almost every game at home. I’ve been told that last year we had the nation’s longest active home winning streak (40 consecutive games) until BYU beat us. I refuse to acknowledge that game ever existed, but that’s what I’m told.
What You Learn: Be grateful for your winning streaks. No matter how many games you win in a row, there will eventually be a loss. What’s important is that you can recover from that loss and start a new winning streak. If nothing else, those devastating losses will make you appreciate every new win you get even more.
In case you can’t tell, this is a metaphor. Go Zags.