Story Time!

An Open Letter to Gonzaga University

We all find a place where we belong. I think I found mine. Thank you Gonzaga!

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It’s been a few weeks since I wrote this and sent it to Gonzaga. But I want others to read it. Take it in. Maybe go for a campus tour. I promise you’ll feel the same way I do. It’s a wonderful place filled with amazing people.

An Open Letter to Gonzaga University:

Hello everyone!

I wanted to thank you all. You don’t know it, but all of you have touched my heart. You are all so welcoming and kind. I’ve never felt this anywhere else. I am not a student at your university, but anytime I’ve been on campus I’ve been welcomed in many ways. Sometimes it’s something as simple as holding open the door for me or something even more precious to me like smiling as I walked past. Most days I’m going across campus to seek my best friend because I know that being near her will make me feel a little better which is something that I’ve realized I crave. I crave the feeling of belonging somewhere. Being accepted for who I am. Your campus is one of the places that I feel that.

Acceptance isn’t always something that you can easily find. Sometimes it’s in the places that you fear that you’ll find it. I have audition anxiety. I always have. It’s about the fear of not knowing if you’ll be accepted for a role. My friend invited me to audition for the Student Choreography Concert. Originally it was so that I could be in her piece. The strangest thing happened though. I had a panic attack in the middle of my audition and instead of being cut because it was obvious that I couldn’t handle it, I was still accepted. The mentality wasn’t that “Oh she has anxiety and will fail,” it was “I think with enough practice, she can do it.” I ended up not having the right availability to be in hers but that was okay. I was accepted into another piece that was more of a familiar style. I was one of two people at that audition that don’t currently attend GU. But the other might have been an alumni. No one looked at me differently because I wasn’t a student. Honestly, some of them were shocked. They thought I fit right in. Between the students that let me join in their project and the instructors who helped make it happen, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. Dancing with all of them has been so much fun.

Speaking of dancing, how about the National Championship game? The energy at the McCarthey Athletic Center was insane! Everyone was on their feet cheering and dancing. It was amazing to see and be a part of. I ended up in the front row with some of the seniors. The other students around me just accepted me as being part of the Kennel. I couldn’t have been more excited and amazed at the inclusiveness. In the last few seconds of the game, we were huddling in the front row. I didn’t get left out because I wasn’t a student. They brought me in with them as we collectively held our breaths. I truly felt what it meant to be part of the Kennel. Then as we started the chant after the game, my heart exploded for a love of the campus culture. We may have lost that game, but in the hearts and minds of those surrounding me, I knew we had won. We won a widespread campus unity that included everyone in that building. I saw what it meant to be a Zag.

Originally my intent was to move away from Spokane and go to NYU or back down to California, but something in my heart is telling me that I need to rethink my plans. I don’t know if it’s a divine intervention telling me to get back to my roots, but I think I know that I want to be a Gonzaga Alumni now. I can’t wait to apply and become a part of this culture that’s both challenging and amazing to be a part of. I’m excited for the day that I can meet up with my sister-in-law and talk about our favorite professors on campus!

Until I meet you on campus, thank you.

Samantha Steyart

Perspectives- Consent

I am writing an essay about the Dakota Access Pipeline and I came across a strange phrase. “Informed Consent”. My thoughts immediately went to consent in general and our government’s perspective of consent. In the legal sense, we avoid the topic of consent like the plague until it directly benefits the person who is inevitably going to win. In cases of Tribal Law, they avoid the topic because the government doesn’t care about the rights they are infringing on. In sexual assault cases, they view consent in a form that focuses on the consent of the offender. The victim’s consent doesn’t matter. Why does this occur? It’s a perplexing fact that should be fixed within our system.

I believe that consent is consent. We learn in kindergarten that yes means yes and no means no. Why does our government not follow this basic principle? It’s causing an uncomfortable problem. There is a great video about consent that everyone should see. It talks about sexual consent but I feel like it could be applied in multiple ways.

I’m Terrified

I’m setting out to do something that I fear. I’m working to get to where I want to go. And it terrifies me. Over the summer I am taking the maximum allowed credits. Twenty-one. Most of my classes are online and I’m nervous to begin classes that have so much weight in a format that I don’t like. Not only that, but I have to do good. I need to succeed in these classes to the point that I am an overachiever. To many people this will be silly and unnecessary. They will tell me I should just complete my associates degree before transferring. But I don’t want to do that. I want to get the majority of my course work done on the campus that makes me feel accepted and wanted. I want to be pursuing my dreams with people that I care about and that care about me. Some people are telling me that where I want to be is too pretentious or that I’m not preppy enough for it but then I have others who tell me that I would fit in really well there. I’m even mistaken for a student there all the time. With a split group of support, I feel uneasy that this would be the concern. I’m nervous about so much that I feel queasy about education for right now. It’s leaving me terrified.

Roommates.

It’s July. You’ve moved in to your new apartment early. You get to play the waiting game. You wonder what they’ll be like and if you’ll like them. You wonder where they go to school. You wonder what kind of food they eat. You wonder if they like to party a lot. You hope they’re nice. You wonder what they are planning on bringing and if you’ll need to pick up anything extra. You get their contact information so you can call them and try and get to know them. They don’t respond and you begin to wonder. You also wonder who the other two will be. But you don’t know. They haven’t leased the other side of your apartment yet.

All of a sudden it’s the other move in day! You are so excited to meet your roommates that you leave a card out because you have to work but it’s an open invitation to go and get coffee or make dinner together. You go to work just wondering who it will be and what they will be like. When you get home you peek around the corner into the bedroom and nobody is there. You’re slightly sad because they aren’t there. The walls are still bare,  the bed still unmade. You chance a glance in the closet and there is still nothing there. You go about the rest of your night.

A few weeks pass and then one day you walk inside from work and you see the door closed and the light on! You aren’t sure who the elusive new roommate is. You tentatively knock on the door to say hello. She responds then continues to unpack. You walk into the kitchen and still find it barren. You let her know that she is free to use whatever space she needs. She nods but says that she eats on campus. You think it’s strange but say no more. A few days pass and you haven’t seen her. You wonder what she’s like.

A knock on the door startles your thoughts. You answer and find someone there asking to come in. You let her in and she walks around. She says she will be your new roommate soon! She’s moving from a different apartment. She asks a few questions then heads out the door. She waves and says she already had the key but didn’t want to frighten the two of us that were already there.

A few weeks go by and you are coexisting with your roommates. You get along quite well with your newer roommate and you end up becoming friends. The quiet roommate will talk to you sometimes and every so often she smiles. You are strangers living in the same flat. But that’s okay. She’s shy. She’s also very busy because she’s graduating this year. She’s a little stressed out about courses and grades and making sure she graduates on time.

Now it’s time to say goodbye. You’re best friend roommate is gone. The quiet roommate is still in her room studying because it’s her exam week. It’s been a crazy year and you can’t wait to meet your new roommates next year.

Reflections

Facebook has a habit of reminding me of some bittersweet things. Today it was the memories of people that left this world too soon. My nephew and two of my friends. All three in a row.

The first that left was my nephew. He was 12 years old. His death was terrifying. He was skateboarding one evening and he swerved out. The truck driver didn’t see him in time to stop. It was brutal. He was so young. It was one moment that all of us wish could have gone differently. I spent the day with my family. My friends sent me pictures of Prom.

The second that left us was my friend Clayton. He was a light in this world. He was happy and always smiling. He did theatre at my high school and was a true love to another friend of mine. His death was horrific. It was unnecessary. It truly could have been avoided. I think that’s what makes it so painful even after two years. His death was avoidable.

Then Iris. Sweet, compassionate Iris. She was at the river with her family. The current was picking up and no one saw her fall. She was laughing and having a carefree afternoon. But the water quickened and the rocks were sharp. Her boyfriend tried to get her. Everyone was too late. She was under for too long. I did theatre with her. She told me her hopes and dreams. She confided in me. She was only 15. I couldn’t do anything.

All three of them impacted me. The end of my senior year was a bittersweet time. Instead of enjoying most of the senior activities like Prom and the after parties, I said goodbye to people I cared about. The heartbreak was very real. Facebook reminded me about the last show I did with Iris, the balloon release for my nephew, and the memorial for Clayton. These memories were hard to stomach.

Mellow May

It’s going to be a pretty rough week. I think I’m going to make it a priority to take care of myself. I’ve been pretty homesick and I’m hoping to combat that with possibly getting closer and making more friends in this area. I’ve unknowingly been closing myself off to the possibility of creating friends in this area. So that should be changing and hopefully with a playlist of more relaxing music, I can create a more friendly attitude.

mellow may- may 2017

Procrastination.

It’s now 6am. The dread that is filling my stomach is intense. I have a research paper due in three hours and I have to be at work for two of them. At least it’s only the instructor draft right? Maybe they’ll take pity on me and they won’t mind that its basically just a fully developed outline at this point. I hope. I’m starting to get even more nervous but I know that I just have to suck it up and submit a partial assignment.