When my grandfather returned from World War II, he enrolled at Michigan Tech on the GI Bill. He lived with my grandmother in a two-room house with my aunt and my uncle, both small children at the time. He studied in the main room of their home, surrounded by everything, and graduated three years later with a degree in civil engineering. My other set of grandparents were never able to go to college.
As I prepare to graduate, I realize how caught up I am in finding the perfect job, finishing my capstone and my research papers and finding time to spend with my friends before we all pursue different paths. I worry about graduation announcements, job interviews and going to end-of-the-year banquets. Yet, as I write this column, I also realize how fortunate I am to be able to attend a university, let alone a school as magnificent and grand as Trinity. I think about my father, a first-generation college student at Stanford, and the life and opportunities he and my mother have given me.
Over the past few days, a great wave of nostalgia has hit me. As I look back at my past four years at Trinity, I remember savoring raspas on Hildebrand, my excitement at discovering El Milagrit, and my elation the first time I ran 16 miles with my cross country teammates on a long run. I remember learning the pretzel in country western dance, the time I met our first pledge class at the fountain and the first time I ever saw a Madrid sunset sink behind the Plaza Mayor. These memories have shaped me as a person and have left an indelible mark on me, but would not be possible without my family.
As my life seems to rush by me in these final weeks, I try to remember that I am lucky. Yes, I have worked and studied very hard over the last four years, but I am blessed to attend Trinity University. There are millions of people who will never walk across a stage at a college commencement, who will never have access to the same resources that I have been so fortunate to use. My degree is for them, for everyone who hungers for knowledge, for everyone who thirsts to understand, for everyone who dreams of a college education.
To my roommates, Caleb, Barley and Chris, you guys are the best and I know that we will be members of the Toolshed for life: roosters, roaches and neighborhood dogs included. To the men of Omega Phi, you are truly my brothers and I would not be the man I am today without you. You are intelligent, hilarious, honest and caring human beings, and re-founding Omega Phi freshman year was one of the best decisions I have made at Trinity. To all my friends, you are what has made Trinity so special and one hell of a ride.
To Dr. Henderson, thank you for inspiring all communication majors and for guiding me through the trials of my senior capstone. From mass media as a first year to my capstone, you have been a mentor and a force. To Dr. Madrid, thank you for showing me a new side to my Hispanic heritage and the pride it brings. To Ms. Katharine Martin, thank you for your wit, your support and never being afraid to tell me when I’m wrong. To Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Nishikawa, thank you for showing me the gorgeous island of Cuba. To all the professors and coaches I have had at Trinity, you will be missed.
To Trinity, which has given me so much, I thank you. You have given me friendship. You have given me joy. You have made me sweat and you have made me angry. You have made me laugh and you have seen me at my worst. You have given me an education. You have given me happiness. All of this I take into the next chapter of my life, wherever and whatever that may be.