35°F & Clear 7 day forecast Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Grand Valley State University… definitely not the type of university I thought I would one day be attending.

Maybe I’ve watched too many movies before coming over here and raised my hopes way too high. Allendale is not the worst place on earth, but I am pretty sure the majority of us will not qualify it the best and you’re certainly not a legitimate Laker if you’ve never called it “Allenhell.” Thank God, I have amazing friends who make my time enjoyable here, and they’re one of the reasons why I am still here.

Four years ago, I had the chance to experience 11 months in an American High School as a senior. Those programs which allow you to do that shouldn’t exist. They let young teenagers like me go overseas, get used to a whole new life, become a part of a couple people’s daily routine and then send them back home after a year. How many of you guys have met an exchange student in your high school? For the most part, if you haven’t seen them again by now, chances are you will never see them again, no matter how much they swear they will be back.

Imagine having to go back home and act like those 11 months never happened, like you never left but still have to get used to your original life again? Not cool.

I didn’t want the growing experience to stop, my new best friends to forget about me so I came back for more, here at GVSU. Since I’ve been here, I have seen a couple of my friends that are International Students drop out, a few, very close to graduation. Some couldn’t handle being so far away from home and others just didn’t like the area. In both cases, they left and went back to the country that has their hearts. I guess it wasn’t fancy enough for their taste. Long story short, they quit.

Yes, Allendale can be extremely boring at times, and there are millions of things that I could be doing if I was back home in Paris. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but you do have to try.
Allendale is a great place to perfect your social skills. Go out, meet people and try new things.

Andrew Zimmern said, “Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things. Meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” I am all for it.

Grand Valley sure has been and is transforming the sheltered city girl that I am/was into a well prepared and experienced young woman ready to slalom through some huge intimidating skyscrapers. I might even force myself to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time I graduate.

amamaty@lanthorn.com



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