hile vacationing in Boston
in July, my dad, an assistant
athletic director at Grand
Canyon University, saw a
young man wearing a purple GCU T-shirt. He
couldn’t believe it and called to let me know.
Just a few days later, I was staying in a hostel
in Galway, Ireland, when I met Raymond Tapia
and Kristi Grasser, two GCU online students and
natives of Kingman, Ariz., a city nearly 190 miles
from the main campus in Phoenix.
To say it’s a small world is an understatement.
Let me put our unlikely introduction into
perspective: Galway — a city on Ireland’s west
coast — is approximately 4,887 miles from
Phoenix. That’s a 15-hour flight across the United
States and over the Atlantic Ocean. During a
monthlong vacation across the country I met
only one other American, a college student from
Texas. The likelihood of meeting Raymond and
Kristi was nearly zero.
Or how about this for small: I flew from
McCarron Airport in Las Vegas to London
HeathrowAirport on June 9. Raymond and Kristi
flew fromPhoenix Sky Harbor International
Airport to London Heathrow on June 10. We were
in downtown Dublin and Galway on the same
days and visited the same tourist destinations —
the Blarney Stone, Trinity College and The Cliffs
of Moher —without ever seeing one another.
It was as if our encounter was destined to
happen eventually. Raymond and I swapped
contact info the night we met at the hostel. I
called him a week after returning home.
“For the next few days after we met, I was
trying to do the calculations of that happening.
The whole experience was just wild,” Raymond
told me.
“Meeting GCU students randomly while
staying at a hostel in Ireland shows how small the
world really is.”
Online connection
Raymond, Kristi and I are three of more than
50,000 GCU online students across the United
States and in a number of international countries
pursuing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral
degrees. In my current online M.B.A. course,
there’s a student fromNorth Carolina, another
from Texas and one from the Virgin Islands.
Many learners choose to pursue online
degrees at GCU because of the flexible class
times that cater to the schedules of working
professionals, who represent a large portion of
Small World, Big Connection
An unlikely encounter demonstrates the bond of GCU’s online community
GCU Today writer Cooper Nelson had many uncommon
experiences this summer during a monthlong visit to
Ireland. But none was more unlikely than meeting two other
GCU online students.
photo courtesy of cooper nelson
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