Finding truth in the Gannon Family

Nov 13 • Opinion • 421

Yes, “Gannon family” is used liberally, but unlike most slogans, I’ve found it to ring true: people really do make this place special.
The fall semester isn’t even over yet, but I’m already getting a little emotional thinking about the faculty, staff and friends I won’t see every day after graduation.
The biology department has become a second family to me.
From the royal couple themselves – Dr. and Mrs. Ropski, of course – to all the other caring and intelligent professors and support staff, they have made Zurn feel like home.
I’ve been lucky to have professors who are so passionate about their subjects, from MCB to microbiology to genetics, and who care about their students inside and outside the classroom.
Mrs. Bruce, the microbiology lab coordinator and my fearless work study supervisor, has quickly become one of my personal heroes.
With her dry humor, life advice and surprise smoothie runs, she makes waking up early to wash test tubes something I genuinely look forward to.
Outside the classroom, the friends I’ve made here will be special to me long after my cap and gown are tucked away in a closet somewhere.
My sophomore year roommate and I went from being casual acquaintances to two peas in a pod by the time May rolled around.
Summer encouraged me to love and trust myself, and to define my own path.
She also supported my Happy Garden habit and never judged me for eating peanut butter by the spoonful.
On top of that, she made me feel so, so welcome in her friend group.
Her people became my people.
I started to branch out and really find my fit at Gannon my sophomore year, in large part because of that special friend group.
I connected with Kate, the best study buddy around, and Maddie, who makes working out way more fun than it should be and was crazy enough to do a half-marathon with me, and a host of others.
These people have been there for me through thick and thin. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve cried on a lap or two in the middle of the night – I’m lucky to say it!
“Gannon family” describes unity and connectedness across campus, but each person’s network is made up of lots of little families that overlap and intertwine.
The biology department, my RA staff, my Detroit ABST, the STEM Center and The Gannon Knight are just a few of mine.
There are so many other people – too many to name – that make this place special.
From Denise and Chante in the caf, to Jerry on grounds crew, to warm and welcoming faces all around, it is so clear that people care for each other here.
That’s not to say that nothing bad ever happens here.
Sometimes watermelons get hurled off the balcony of a certain apartment building.
Sometimes you have to duck behind the nearest parked car to keep the wind from blowing you into the next zip code.
But that IS to say that when I wake up in the morning and head to class, even if I have to break out the snowshoes, there’s no place I’d rather be.

ALEX STAUFF
conantst001@gannon.edu

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