By Matthew Gorczyca
Well, the time has come. This will be my last “Gorc Meets World” column in The Griffin newspaper, a place I have called home for four years. This column has been a surprising blessing for me. A blessing that has not only helped me with my own self-reflection, but one that has allowed me to reach out to many people at Canisius that I would normally not have had the capability to otherwise.
I have written about many topics this past year that have been so true to what I have dealt with as a senior moving forward to a completely new time in my life. Now in this last column, I want to reflect on what I feel has been my greatest lesson in my life, so far. It comes down to one word: love.
I have truly fallen in love with this place. I have fallen in love with the friends I have made. I have fallen in love with what I have learned. I have fallen in love with God and my faith all over again. But most importantly I have fallen in love with myself.
There have been countless professors who have managed to change my life, not only in opening new ways of thinking, and great material, but helping to polish my skills and learn what it means to be a leader and a man for and with others. Standout professors are Dr. Butler in the English department who, while I haven’t taken a class with him since my freshman year, has still been a positive influence on me now as a senior and soon-to-be alumnus. I’ll never forget his African American Literature class, that not only opened my eyes to a new type of literature, but reminded me why I fell in love with books in the first place. Dr. Cochrane who believed I had the capabilities to create an original play all on my own and told me so when I finally got it done. Dr. Dierenfield who saw that my service was something credible enough to reward with scholarship and always made me aware of the many opportunities that were available to me here. Finally, Dr. Wanzer who has managed to be a professor I will try to emulate as a person and professional. She has a way of knowing my best, even when I am not sure I am capable of it. She pushes me day in and day out and has made me, as a student, feel proud of all that I have accomplished. To me, these people go beyond the duty of professors. They haven’t just educated me, but inspired and motivated me in ways that truly make me want to go forth and set the world on fire.
I have to say that Canisius has given me a new way of looking at the world. Not only have I learned so much in my given fields of study, but I have become so much more in tune with seeing the good in the world. That change and growth would not be possible without Campus Ministry. I previously wrote about how Kairos was a retreat that I was apprehensive about, but ended up loving for the reflection and insight I gained as a result. The thing about Campus Ministry is that many people may think it is this strict and exclusive dogmatic institution – or at least that is what I had a preconceived notion about it. However, after Kairos I saw how it is a place of love, true love for one another. I wish I would’ve leaped into Kairos sooner, so I could not only have experienced more of what I had to offer Canisius and the community but to meet people like Sue Fischer and Lu Firestone, who have just inspired me to see Christ in others and truly see myself as a vessel for social justice and that, yes, it is possible for one person to change the world.
Then there are the people, the friends I have had the pleasure to call my family. There were parties, happy hours, late-night and overnight library sessions, accomplishments, defeats, surprises, heartbreaks, there were simple hellos and in-depth conversations. All of these things, the unforgettable memories and even the everyday things will be so greatly missed. If I was to log my hours of my college career most hours were spent in the library where I would meet friends, do homework, solve problems, talk about life, the future, and just laugh about things people would think were crazy. That is what makes a family: the friends that do not have a biological connection, but the ones who have such a strong love and admiration for one another that blood does not matter. Love is the one element that has managed to bring me into the lives of people I would never had imagined talking with, studying with and laughing with. But it is love that has been the blessing of bringing them into my lives and truly making me see things more fully and clearly. They have changed me and have bettered me all by being the truly unique and beautiful individuals they are. I’d name them all, but I would need another page just to do so.
So thank you friends, because you have managed to be a family I would give my life for and I do not say that easily. You have pushed me to embrace Magis – the desire to do more and be more.
The word of love to me is so ungraciously used that its meaning has become generic and unappreciated. But it is Canisius College: its programs both academic and spiritual, its people both professional and casual that have helped me rediscover love and find its true meaning. I have climbed to be a leader here and I am so excited to take all that I have learned and be a leader in a greater capacity. I am ready to change the world whether it be through not-for-profit work, or simply sharing the amazing stories of others through my writing. I am excited to grow in my faith even more so than I already am and take the Jesuit spirit with me wherever life takes me.
So through all these weekly columns, the greatest lesson I have learned is love. Love is what guides us, it is what gives us hope in times of despair and gives us faith in times of complete chaos. It is also what defines us, motivates us, inspires us and pushes us to embrace change.
My greatest piece of advice through all of this is to fall in love with love. Find even in the darkest times things will get better. Find that even in times of uncertainty you will find your way. So fall in love with others, with your work, with God, with change and with yourself. Let go and just embrace the wonderful bumpy road of uncertainty because that is when love takes the wheel and brings you to where you need to be. When that happens your life will truly be magical, and as a young 21-year-old, I can say my life is so absolutely magical. So fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.