gcu lions

Georgian Court University quite possibly might be one of the smallest universities probably in the country, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a great time. Yes, it’s run by Sisters of Mercy. No, there aren’t frats or sororities. There are also no big parties, either. Nonetheless, here are some nuggets my classmates and I miss about it. GCU alums, please spread this around and comment if you have more to add!

  1. WILD. For all of you outsiders, it’s acronym for Women In Leadership Development. Sure, dressing in business casual for meetings and trying to actually behave for the whole time weren’t always “fun,” but this was seriously one of the best networking opportunities I ever had. I developed not only leadership skills, but confidence. Also, awesome resume booster!
  2. Dinners in the Mansion. HELL YES WE HAD A MANSION. And it was the epitome of fancy. Most of the furniture and decorations are originals from the Gould family (yep, the railroad tycoons). The foyer of the mansion also has the entire cast of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales hand-painted around the top of the walls. If you were lucky (and I was), you were permitted to go upstairs, which wasn’t too exciting-looking, but was supposedly hauntedgcu mansion
  3. THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT. This may be highly specific, but I don’t care. While I was attending, I majored in English and loved everything about it. I even took extra literature classes instead of random electives – I loved it that much. The faculty was the most dedicated and passionate group of scholars I’ve ever met, and (not to be too cheesy) I hope that someday I can be a part of that wonderful group
  4. The coveted apartments of St. Cat’s. Short for St. Catherine Hall, St. Cat’s was home to the campus’s only apartment-style suites, and everyone wanted one. This was the closest thing I’ve ever had to an apartment, and I loved living with my roomies. Everyone wanted to get in by sophomore year, but usually only seniors got in, and juniors who roomed with seniors. This was a serious upgrade from the antiquated dormitories of St. Joe’s (freshmen) and Maria Hall (everyone else). And yes, we only have 3 dormitories.
  5. The fact that we literally went to school on someone’s old estate. The GCU campus was actually bought from George Gould by the Sisters of Mercy (Georgian Court was the name of the estate). It is one of the most beautiful places in New Jersey, in my opinion. Statues, fountains, gardens, old buildings. It never felt like those colleges you see on tv and in movies. It was special and unique, and one of the reasons why I chose it. Oh yeah, and the sunken garden/lagoon was a filming location for Amityville Horror was featured in Weird NJ. <–Cool facts you learn as a student ambassador.the creepy lagoon
  6. Never ever feeling unsafe. Security was literally EVERYWHERE. And the entire campus was gated, so we never had to worry about creeps finding their way to the dorms. Never once did I feel unsafe walking around campus or back from class late at night. We knew all of the security guards on a first-name basis, and they often knew ours (especially the RAs). We even had favorites 😉
  7. Required Women’s Studies class. A women’s studies class filled with all women? Talk about a feminist rally every Friday. I learned so much in this class about the plight of women, but honestly the camaraderie was unbeatable. Did I mention GCU was a women’s university? Probably should’ve said that earlier.
  8. Prepared meals every night – and the chefs always knowing what you’re order is. Yeah, GCU is that small. I cook most of the family meals now, and I never thought I’d miss having dining hall food, but sometimes it’d be nice if someone asked me what I wanted and then presented it to me. Instead, I now do all the shopping, cooking, and prepping…and usually the boys don’t want to eat what I’ve made….
  9. “Study day.” At the end of each semester, the day before finals week was always “study day,” and there would be no classes. But let’s be real: who actually studied on study day? Not many. It was typically a day of laziness, boozing, roommate debauchery and eventually cramming for the next day’s exam, and nothing good ever resulted from it. As a friend of mine has said, it goes something like “how early is too early to start drinking?” followed by “when should we stop drinking so we’re not still drunk for finals?”
  10. Honors classes & field trips! In the honors program, we got to not only be a small cohort of 15 or so super nerds, but we got field trips twice a year! These girls (AHEM WOMEN – that’s an inside joke, but I’m leaving it) were some of my best friends, and still are. It’s nice to have some fellow nerds along for the journey. And it was no secret that the honors classes were the professors’ favorites…especially philosophy…

    field trips are awesome.
    field trips are awesome.
  11. Living with literally all of your friends. Because the campus is SO SMALL. On room selection night, you always made sure to go with your friends so you could pick neighboring rooms, and basically just annoy the shit out of each other 24 hours a day. Literally. Even my friends who were commuters basically lived there with us, because there was no where to go. Honestly, this is what I miss most about college. All of my roommates moved away, my best friend/RA moved to New York, and all of my other campus resident friends I hardly ever see. This is generally a universal “thing I miss about college” but again because we’re such a small campus, your friends were never more than a floor away.
  12. Weekend Weddings at the Chapel. Rare was a spring time weekend when you wouldn’t see a wedding ceremony through the open-view glass wall of the campus chapel. And you would get to bear witness to the photo session taking place afterwards! The small, simply weddings were almost like something to look forward to on the no-males-allowed campus residency. And, you know, there were groomsmen to gawk at. Always a bonus. gcu chapel
  13. Three words: Back Porch Party. The closest thing we had to a campus-wide party, each fall during homecoming weekend the Casino (read “multipurpose room”) would be artfully decorated according to the year’s theme and everyone would get dressed up and dance all night. Once upon a time, they used to bring in boys from the military academy, but after some risqué behavior, they put a stop to all that. Nonetheless, Back Porch was always an interesting night.

A born-and-raised Jersey girl with a chronic case of wanderlust, Samantha spends her days reading, writing, and planning adventures. She currently teaches classes at the community college while living at home with her parents, trying and failing to become a part of the proverbial real world. Her dream is for someone to pay her for writing and traveling, but in reality she'll probably be teaching forever. Follow her mundane musings on Twitter @SamanthaG2012, and check out her personal blog, wanderlustingmillenial.blog.com

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