Being a college student is hard enough, but being a college student out of state provides even more problems —  from purchasing flight tickets, to finding a place to store items over the summer, to trying to assimilate into a new lifestyle.

I am one of those out-of-state students. Being from San Jose, California, there have been many things I struggled to get used to in Spokane. One example is the climate and temperature. Adjusting to snow and 40-degree weather was a challenge. I had never lived in these kinds of conditions before. 

Another thing I struggled with at first was making new friends. I had a few friends from high school come with me to Gonzaga, but none of them were living in the same residence hall as I was. However, I have been able to overcome these obstacles as time passed.

With all of this in mind, one of the reasons I wanted to come to GU was because it was out of state. Having the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone by living in a new state and meeting new people was a challenge I was excited to face. 

I believed it would help me become a better person in the future. In my second year in Spokane, I can say for certain that I have changed in so many ways, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to come to GU and develop into the person that I am today.

Let’s fast forward to present-day, as I paint a picture for you about what has happened this past week: I fly home back to San Jose for spring break for a few days, and I’m getting ready to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to spend time with my dad and go to some spring training baseball games. Once I get to Phoenix, and after we attend that day's baseball game, my dad and I go to our family friend’s house to watch the Zags beat Saint Mary’s to win the WCC Tournament championship. The following day was spent doing work and relaxing.

Then, everything changed.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began to intensify and become more publicized, it felt like everything around me stopped. The sports world began to change, and everything else followed suit. I had gotten the email from President Thayne McCulloh saying GU was likely going to move online for the rest of the semester, which became official a few days later.

I have never felt more overwhelmed in a span of 48 hours than I did on those days. Once we got the emails, and after talking with my parents, we scheduled a flight for March 22 in anticipation that on-campus housing would be closed. I had gone back to Spokane the Sunday before to work on what is now last week’s copy of The Gonzaga Bulletin, and I stayed with a family friend because of the encouragement from GU to not return to our on-campus housing. 

Soon after, on Tuesday night, we received the news that on-campus housing would officially be closed for the remainder of the semester. I was able to move out of my apartment the following day, and made it back to San Jose Thursday afternoon.

Crazy, right?

However, I can take so much out of this experience that will help guide me in the future. Even though I miss all of my friends back at school, having the opportunity to spend time with my family will help me understand how thankful I am for them, while also lending a helping hand around the house. Besides, I know my friends are just a phone call away if I want to reach out to them.

As an out-of-state student, GU continues to give me opportunities to challenge myself and become a more well-rounded and balanced individual. Even though we are in a situation not many of us can control, the next few months and the tests that come with it will be more challenging than any test we’ve taken on paper. 

But as a proud, out-of-state GU student, I think everything is going to be just fine.

Vinny Saglimbeni is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @vinnysaglimbeni

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