JOURNAL: Becoming Blue and Gold

JOURNAL%3A+Becoming+Blue+and+Gold

Photo by Katie Craig

Students come from around the world to join in the phrase “We are Marquette.” From basketball games to soccer matches, from clubs and organizations to the classroom, the colors blue and gold can unite the Marquette community.

Paola Velazquez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, is from Caguas, Puerto Rico. She came to the U.S. to get a better education.

Velazquez says there are a lot of things, like protests and hurricanes, that can happen during the school year in Puerto Rico, and she wanted to avoid that. One of her friends could not attend school for two weeks because of those.

“You always see universities in the United States in movies, and I was like ‘I want to go there.’ Also, my grandfather went to school here and my mom too, so they really encouraged me to come here so I can get a better education than I would find in Puerto Rico,” Velazquez says.

Her high school advisor told her about Marquette, and she liked it after doing initial research. Even though she couldn’t tour Marquette in person, a friend sent videos and pictures of the campus.

Velazquez says since she arrived at Marquette everyone has been friendly.

“Orientation week, everyone was very nice,” she says. “Since I’ve been here nobody has been really mean and that makes me have a sense of security.”

Coming to the U.S. was a hard transition for Velazquez because she says she was far away from her family and she wasn’t accustomed to speaking English all the time.

“It definitely helped that everyone here is very friendly,” Velazquez says. “It also helps to have people from when you were from like Puerto Rico. I feel like if I didn’t have like all those people that I could talk to in Spanish, I probably would be going crazy.” 

Velazquez says at times people will approach her if they hear her speaking Spanish to engage in conversation, but mainly she finds her community through the club she created, Celebrating Puerto Rican Culture Club.

Donny Robbins, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, is from southern California. He and his mom looked at colleges all over the United States, and his mom discovered Marquette.

Although he is from California, Robbins says he has been a Green Bay Packers fan since he was a 10-year-old.

“Wisconsin has always kind of been on my radar. So, if I go to Marquette, there should be a lot of Packers fans, and that would be pretty cool,” Robbins says.

While touring Marquette, Robbins was hesitant if Marquette was the college for him. One of the reasons is that it did not have the major that he was looking for: statistics. While on the tour, his tour guide was a data science major and that appealed to him, he says.

A month later, Marquette became more of a better choice for him.

“I think the three big things were the scholarship money, the data science major and then the religious affiliation,” Robbins says.

From touring Marquette to now, Robbins says he has enjoyed Marquette more than he would have thought.

“My outlook on Marquette has completely changed for the positive. A big thing is my freshman year I ended up converting to Catholicism, which probably wouldn’t have happened, at least that fast, if I didn’t go to Marquette,” Robbins says.

Michelle Gomez, a senior in the College of Communication, is from Guatemala City, Guatemala. From a young age, Gomez wanted to be a doctor, but those plans changed during her senior year in high school.

“I’m going to med school, that was my decision. Then I was like ‘I want to be there for my kids, and I don’t know if I want to study for the next 10 years of my life,'” Gomez says.

After deciding not to pursue medical school, Gomez took a path similar to the one which her parents thought she would pursue.

“I was like ‘No mom.’ From a young age I always told her I don’t see myself in any communications field, and little did I know that I was going to end up loving editing,” Gomez says.

Gomez then decided to come to the U.S. for her education because she was no longer going to medical school. After learning information about Marquette at a college fair, Gomez applied.

“If I go to the U.S., I want to make sure I’m going to study a market that’s not as common or as advanced as it is in the U.S.,” Gomez says.

Gomez says she received a good scholarship and then decided to attend. Another reason why Gomez says she decided upon Marquette is the similarities to her high school.

“I don’t want to be a number in the class. I want to actually be a student because that’s how it was for me in high school. There were 20 kids in the class,” Gomez says. “So I know I would feel overwhelmed at UWM for example.”

A lot of her friends came to the U.S. for schooling, but she didn’t want to go where they are. Gomez says she wanted something different.

“I love Marquette, I really do. I think it’s a different school,” she says. “I like that it’s close to downtown, I really like the academics, I like the environment and I like the Midwestern culture.”

Although it is difficult being away from home, Gomez says she is making the most out of her time.

“It’s been a good experience. I’ve met wonderful people from all around the world. My group of friends has people that come from almost every continent,” Gomez says. “It’s not about the place, but it’s about the people and what you make of it. That’s not something I understood until I had my group of friends here.”

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at [email protected]