From being a Gopher to being a Gaiter 

From Gopher to Gaiter

“Why Bishop’s?” 

I have heard it countless times.  

The question goes further than just being a tab on the University’s website. There are just about 3,000 students and everyone has a unique story behind their “why,” including myself. 

For one year and one year only, I was at the University of Minnesota (UMN). From the get-go I had doubts. Once I was there, I met incredible friends that I thought were heaven sent, but I never found myself to be fully content with the UMN otherwise, it just felt there was too much and somehow not enough. It was not digestible.  

Fresh out of having a FaceTime breakup, I thought, what better timing to make a drastic life change! I wanted to see if a school entirely different from the environment I was in – 50,000 undergraduate students, high crime rates, and a geographically large campus – would be a better fit for me.  The experimental change ended up with me transitioning from being a Gopher to being a Gaiter.        

friends together in front of a statue of the Minnesota Gopher
University of Minnesota with a best friend. 
Friends with the Bishop's Gaiter mascot
Bishop’s University with another best friend.

Little Miss Worldwide 

A program existed in 2022 that connected my home university to an abundance of others. National Student Exchange (NSE) was an exchange program for university students that included all of the 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and a few Canadian schools. I initially thought that NSE was one of those spam emails trying to tell me that they would give me a scholarly award, but all I would have to do is give a few details about myself, like my full legal name, my home address, my banking information, my social security number… you get the idea. Once I understood it was an actual, real, program, I chose Bishop’s because, given it was in a national program, but was considered international for me, I was getting a bang for my buck. Lil Tay is the first youngest Flexer, but I felt like the second one because I was going on exchange, internationally, in my second year of college. It was unheard of.

The second reason I chose Bishop’s was my love and romanticization of Europe after having gone for the first time a few months prior. To me, Bishop’s was like saying “we have Paris at home!”

Good advice

I was incredibly homesick for the first few weeks. It was the kind of homesickness where I was crying and calling my mom regularly. Everything was foreign, literally. I would read a sign and panic thinking I had vertigo because I could not understand French, even though I came partially for the French culture. My brother’s words were what got me to get up and get involved. Like most sibling interactions, I was not thrilled that my brother was telling me to do the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. How could someone be so heartless and unsympathetic?  

He was encouraging me to do what would be best for me in the long run. I started to follow my big brother’s advice. I only had one guaranteed semester at Bishop’s and absolutely no time to waste. I dove in headfirst to as many opportunities as I could. My Pinterest motto at the time was “seize the day.”  

And then there came the mine shaft. 

Down under 

Bishop’s provides countless opportunities, many times being at no cost or a low cost. So, when a friend asked if I wanted to go explore her professor’s mine FOR FREE – an actual underground rock mine – I put on my bright blue Lululemon leggings and hopped in the car with her classmates. Long story short, I was a little too Canadian nice when I was moving out of the way for someone. My estimate is around 15 feet that I humpty-dumptied down into the mine shaft. On the bright side, my leggings did not have a single rip in them, and I was fine other than the minor concussion I got. Talk about durable material! My friend felt so bad that she invited me, she bought me poutine. What a night. I LOVE CANADIANS! On the less bright side, I had not set up my Canadian health insurance yet. My parents received a unique postcard from their daughter abroad, but it was more like a postcard from the ER with a really big fee on their end. 

Girls in a neck brace after suffering a fall and head injury
Me in the ER with my eyebrow gel holding up nicely. 
Girl sitting on the floor laughing while eating
This speaks for itself 

Going viral IRL 

I consider this to be a good learning experience on not procrastinating. But it made me something else – I was no longer one of the “new students,” now I was “mine girl.” When I imagined being a YouTuber as a kid, I did not mean that I wanted to be known for my, well, “downfall.” Now, I am writing this blog post so that the rest of the world hears my side of the story. Imagine that! Even after all of this, I decided that I only liked Bishop’s more. It has character to it. I did not want my exchange to end, I wanted to be a full-time student.   

Here we are today, where I am content with my supportive professors, sister-like roommates, and – you will not believe this – my Canadian boyfriend. Even more, a FaceTime breakup is not something I have to worry about because he has a Google Pixel. BOO YAH!

Girl with her boyfriend sitting in a bar
 Dare I say this is THE boyfriend?!?!  
four roommates laughing together
Me and my roommates

From home to home 

My first semester was a bit rocky, to say the least, but I felt more certain at Bishop’s than I ever had at my home university. I will always have Minnesota, but now I have a second home base in Lennoxville, QC. It is not exactly Paris, but the Dewhurst Dining Hall croissants sure make it feel like it is. Mineshaft and all, I would still pick Bishop’s in a heartbeat without a doubt.  

P.S. It is worth the risk, especially if you have health insurance.  

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