As an out-of-state student, I am all too familiar with the question, “Why Gonzaga?” To this question, there is no clear reason I can give, no connection to the university or family members who attended Gonzaga. So, I tell the story of how I was first introduced to GU when I was ten years old. It was March, and there was a Gonzaga game on TV. I do not remember who the Zags were playing, but I remember they won (Go Zags!) and my dad told me that I should apply to Gonzaga because it was a ‘good school’ and he thought I would do well there. Again, I was ten, so college was not really on my radar yet.
Fast forward to junior year of high school, now I was at the height of the college search mayhem. I began to research many different colleges and universities, including GU. I quickly discovered that my dad had done his research because Gonzaga seemed to have all the qualities I was looking for. What my dad and I knew before my visit was only what we could research: Gonzaga has a strong business school, the class size would be small, the university offers a holistic Jesuit education, plus the basketball games would be a highlight.
It was not until after I visited Gonzaga that it became my number one choice, because I felt the strong sense of community and I saw what it means to be a Zag. On my tour, I remember a few students waving and saying hi to the Student Ambassador who guided us through campus, sharing with us the highlights of Gonzaga like the Kennel, College Hall and St. Aloysius parish. The friendliness of the student body and the apparent Zag pride were two details that stood out to me and made me want to become a part of the community.
Today, I am a Student Ambassador and Student Host and it is my goal to encourage students—both in and out-of-state—to visit campus and see if Gonzaga is the right fit for them. Many people in my hometown of El Paso, Texas have never heard of Gonzaga or Spokane. If you find yourself in the same situation, here is my only advice: do not let that scare you! Though I am 1,500 miles from home, I have found a second home in Spokane and a second family in the Zag community.
If Gonzaga is on your list of universities to apply to, schedule a campus visit to go beyond a sheet of facts and figures. Witness the daily Zag hustle-and-bustle and hopefully snatch a famous COG cookie from our dining hall. Come see if Gonzaga is a place where you too can thrive as a Zag. If you can, schedule an overnight visit to get an even more personalized Gonzaga experience where your hosts will answer your questions and invite you into the Zag community for a night. To schedule your visit, find more information here, or give the Visit Office a call at 509-313-6531.
Analuz is a sophomore from El Paso, Texas majoring in Accounting in the School of Business Administration.