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Community Spotlight: December Graduate

When it comes to thinking about who makes up the community of Grove City College, often the first thought is students and professors. However, there are many more components – past and present – that play a vital role in the community here. I talked with Josh McFall, a December 2017 graduate. He studied accounting and participated in many camppus activities. Here is the interview that transpired:

Can you tell me a little about your academic journey?

I started my pursuit for higher education at Kent State University Trumbull Campus in the fall of 2013 as an undecided business major, after a semester I declared my major as Business Management before changing my major to accounting.

I stayed at Kent for two years before transferring to Grove City College. Three of my siblings had attended Grove City and I wasn’t convinced that it was the place for me. One of the turning points in my decision was at my sister Lizzy’s wedding at Harbison Chapel in the fall of 2014. I got to walk around the campus with my sister’s husband Joe, who also graduated from there. During this time, I got to talk with him about my preconceived notions and what I wanted from the remainder of my college career. Ultimately, that conversation and overall experience was the first event that led to my decision to attend Grove City College and I would end up applying about eight months later.

What has been the most difficult thing about graduating mid academic year?

Leaving my fiancée, sister, and friends in a rather anti-climactic way. I am a sentimental person, so I like having solid beginnings and endings as they help me compartmentalize my feelings and emotions. Graduating and leaving campus halfway through the academic school year is rather akin to walking out of a movie theater 10 minutes before the end of a movie while your friends all stay and watch it. You miss the last semester excitement and relief you share with other seniors who are about to graduate and walk to receive their diploma in May. I felt that excitement and relief mostly alone, and there was no fanfare or send off when I left campus. The vibe was just that of another winter break, and everyone else would see each other in a month.

Mind you, this is no fault of Grove City’s. There is nothing they could do to change the way things are. I was privileged to attend a dinner for the few seniors graduating in December at President and Mrs. McNulty’s house and it was a lovely time. Also, I will be back in May to walk, but if I’m being honest that is more for my parents than myself. If I had my way, I would choose not to walk simply because I have closed that chapter of my life and I am in a new one now (like I said, solid beginnings and endings).

What do you miss the most about Grove City?

What I miss may not be something unique to only Grove City, like chapel requirements, or jokes about rings by spring, but are unique to my personal experience and how it shaped my life. I miss the shenanigans and community of my transfer hall in Hicks, while living in the room with the window right above the trash cans everyone walks by to go to dinner. And I miss bonding with the guys of Pan Sophic while being their RA, and being given the opportunity to help foster community on my hall. And I miss having to amend my plan to get engaged multiple times due to inclement weather, another fraternity’s rush event, and a marching band competition this past October (I did finally pop the question and she said yes!). This is a tiny sliver of all that I value from my time and are they exclusively things that could have happened at Grove City? No, they could have happened at any college, but they didn’t, they happened at Grove City. And for that reason, I miss and reminisce about my time there. Those buildings and grounds will always be hallowed to me, not because they had uniqueness or specialness that was intrinsic to them (though they certainly do and that does play into it), but because that is the place where I built part of who I am today. So what I miss most is basically everything, the whole chapter beginning to end. I can’t think of one thing without being reminded of five other things.

What have you done post-graduation?

I work at Schneider Downs & Co in Pittsburgh which is a public accounting firm, and I am studying for the CPA exam.

How would you describe GCC’s community in your own words?

When people look at Grove City College, diversity is not necessarily the first thing that pops into their head’s, but to assume that the community here is totally homogeneous is very far from reality, I try to avoid making blanket statements for this reason. Like any other place, the overall community is like a patchwork quilt, and each patch in the quilt is itself another patchwork quilt, all the way down to the individual level. It’s true but ironic because I did end up just making a “blanket” statement… quilt… get it?

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