Whether you’ve already graduated or are just on summer break, one thing is for sure: you miss good old Grand Valley. And who wouldn’t? Between the beautiful state-of-the-art buildings to the forest that surrounds them, the scenery is stunning. Not to mention, the Laker spirit that seems to be everywhere even during the coldest winter days. Being a Laker for a lifetime is one of the best things you can be. But no one told you how hard it would be to leave behind the rolling Ravines, even if it is just for a few months on break. Here are some things all Lakers will feel a bit of nostalgia about.
1. The Mary Idema Pew Library
Complete with four floors of quiet places to focus, cozy chairs and Argo Tea? You wouldn’t find a library like that anywhere else, at least not as beautiful as this one. Sure, it got a little crowded at times, but what can you expect? And with a beautiful rooftop garden that gives you a perfect view at sunset, campus never looked so incredible.
2. Living in the dorms with your friends
Ok, so some of the dorms might have resembled jail cells more than actual rooms, but honestly after a while, they start to feel pretty homey! And most of that you can credit to the amazing people you lived with. Grand Valley was the first place you ever got to actually live with your friends, and learn the joys of what it was like to have some of your favorite people live just a few steps away.
3. Rock climbing whenever you wanted
Let’s be honest- having a free rock climbing center was probably one of the coolest things Grand Valley offers. To be able to go in at any time and climb for a few hours? Not only does it reduce stress from all the studying you do, but it was a great way to hang out with your friends and do something active. And it cost no money, which was hard to find outside GV!
4. Laker Sports
Grand Valley teams were the best, not only because they did so well every year, but because of the team spirit Lakers brought to every game. And it doesn’t matter what sport it is, the support for our teams has always been endless. There’s no better feeling than putting on your favorite Laker shirt and chanting along with the crowd! It’s part of the Laker pride you learned as soon as you stepped on campus, and no matter where you are, it’s always in your heart!
5. Einstein’s Bagels saving you every morning
There was no better place to save you from a long all-nighter than the haven that was Einstein’s Bagels. Unfortunately, once you leave, it’s hard to find a place that will always have a steaming cup of coffee and a warm bagel ready for you every morning. Oh well, settle for Starbucks?
6. Being so close to Lake Michigan
Blue water, sandy beaches, and cute lakeside towns. Miss it yet? I thought so. We Lakers are extremely fortunate to be so close to the lake and have so many beautiful beaches within a short drive. It’s something many of us took for granted, but once we leave, the cravings for a beach day are real, and so is the long drive now to get to them.
7. Help is literally around every corner
And I mean every corner. Need help with math? The math center had your back. And there was a center for almost every subject! Not to mention there was also free counseling, a free food pantry, and the 2020 desk that had the answer to your every question. Sadly, outside of the valley we don’t have so many resources at our fingertips, which makes us miss this place even more!
8. Never having to open a door for yourself- ever!
Michigan politeness is a real thing, and it was everywhere at Grand Valley! Doing small favors for people we may not even know has always been common at GVSU, and it’s hard to find that anywhere else. Plus, even the smallest of favors lead to you meeting some of your greatest friends!
9. Surprisingly, Fresh!
Ok, admit it, as much as you complained about the soggy pizza or weird mystery meat, you miss it at least a little bit. Fresh was a place to gather with your friends to recover from a long weekend and have endless (mediocre) coffee. There’s something slightly endearing about the questionable soup and mushy paninis that makes most Lakers a bit nostalgic.
10. Working out in the beautiful rec center
Speaking of food, the place to fight off that freshmen 15 was always the rec center. It’s arguably one of the best places on campus due to the fact that it’s state of the art! It’s hard to find such a fantastic gym that’s (technically) free once we leave GVSU, so instead we sigh and sign up for that YMCA membership…
11. “L-A-K-E, ARE YOU A LAKER? HELL YEAH.”
This is one of the very first cheers you learned as a freshman, and probably got so excited because you could finally swear in a cheer (this isn’t high school). Chanting this alongside hundreds of other Lakers is a feeling you won’t forget for years.
12. The beautiful Ravines and nature on campus
One thing Grand Valley is known for is the beautiful campus, and the Ravines are a huge contributor to that beauty. Some of the best days spent on campus were the ones hanging from the trees in hammocks with friends while “studying”. Good times…
13. Wearing only sweatpants everywhere because everyone else does it too
Yes, this is common at many colleges, but nothing beats just throwing on a pair of Laker blue sweatpants and calling it a day before your first class even started. And you didn’t even have to feel bad about it! Why? Because the rest of your class is probably doing the same thing.
14. Grand Rapids
Because not only was a fun night out on the town so close, but the city itself is amazing. No one does an art festival like they do, and the food is always top notch too. Maybe Grand Rapids isn’t as big as some of the other cities, but it sure didn’t disappoint. There was something to do every season of the year from festivals in the fall to watching the Christmas tree lighting during the holiday season. Whether you’re a city person or not, one thing is for sure: ice skating is anywhere, but Rosa Parks Circle just isn’t the same.
15. Always being surrounded by other amazing Lakers
After some time, your fellow Lakers started to become like your family, only better- there’s 26,000 of them! Many of them were your friends, and even if they weren’t, they’d probably still smile at you in passing! Constantly being with people who shared the same love for such an awesome school is something that you miss the second you leave. But don’t worry, you can always come home- and you’ll forever be a Laker for a lifetime!