There is a common misconception with commuters that we are already a part of the Gannon University community and lack the need to become involved on campus or share our story.
However, I fully believe that is not true for any commuter, but especially those, like myself, who commute from areas outside of the city.
I come from the small town of Waterford, which is about 30 minutes outside of Erie. We have one stoplight, a local fair in the fall, and you cannot leave the house without running into someone you know.
It was not often that I ventured into Erie near the Gannon campus, nor did I realize how important this college would be to me as a kid.
In fact, when I agreed to accept a spot in Gannon’s physician assistant program I thought I would attend class and go home to the rural setting I am most comfortable with.
But then, I did the best thing I possibly could: I got involved, and suddenly the girl in cowboy boots was treasurer of Phi Eta Sigma honor society, service chair of Tri Beta honor society and involved in many other programs.
For a while, I signed up for everything I possibly could because I fed off the strong feeling of belonging and doing my part. I amazed myself by the new connections I was making and Gannon’s way of bringing me into a new community.
I thought I was becoming a face at Gannon — someone who people knew and could relate to. But eventually I realized the best part: I was not just another student at Gannon. I had brought my world to the campus.
This was true not only when I drove my car and parked it in the lot, but also when I wore my boots to class, fidgeted with my lucky ball cap during a test and shared my awkward humor with members of Phi Eta Sigma, Honors and Tri Beta.
Just because you are a local student and don’t live on campus does not mean you have nothing more to give. Gannon has a way of sharing a wealth of diversity that allows your story to become a part of the Gannon story.
I love looking around and seeing each student’s personality help create the personality of Gannon. It is truly the students who make this campus lively and a home away from home.
No one student is identical to another, and to me that is the beauty of college. With that said, I promise the best thing one can do in college is break out of their shell.
Alexis Ishman, a senior occupational therapy major, agreed.
“My personality could be described as ‘outgoing’ or ‘silly’ but expressing my true self has helped me to meet more people like myself,” she said.
“I feel comfortable being me and never worry about trying to be someone else to impress others. Taking off my shell has truly helped me to make new friends and feel at home at Gannon.”
If you’re from the area — or if you’re from another country — you won’t be disappointed when you give it all a chance. Become involved, bring your personality and share your ideas.
You will be surprised at how many people want to know your story.