Dear the University of San Diego,

First I want to say thank you. Thank you for being my second home, a place where I can learn, and for being a symbol of my future. To this day, I look proudly to the white and blue letters of USD and the picture of the Immaculata as a representation of all the hard work that I’ve put in over the years. Being born in a third world country, I’ve been raised to look at education as my first priority. However, over the years and upon the cumulation of confounding pressures, I feel that I haven’t given my education the time it so desperately deserves. And for that I’m sorry. When I was younger, I was so enchanted to the wealth of knowledge hidden in between pages of books and I found myself chasing after each nugget of wisdom I could find. This love for education and learning has been the primary factor in my success in over a decade of schooling, causing me to be placed in rigorous classes and awarded honor roll, straight A’s, and several merit scholarships. I don’t know when learning somehow became my worst enemy and when I’d avoid my homework as if it was the plague. Somewhere down the line, I began to associate my worth to the perfection of my grades. I want to change this narrative. College is supposed to be a place of growth. Where you both lose and find yourself in the process. Although it’s only my first year, I’ve gotten more support from the University of San Diego than in all my years of schooling. Here, I believe I will finally heal from the pain of constant peer-to-peer competition and let go of my ideals of perfectionism. I want to fall in love again with education and value learning the way I did when I was younger. Thank you to the staff that have listened to me cry about not meeting expectations in my first semester and reminding me that I’m more than just a GPA – I am a person. And it’s not fair for me to expect perfection in the midst of a global pandemic. This is the first time that I’ve been able to realize that I’m hard on myself because I don’t realize how many others are struggling. Everyone is struggling, but we’ve been taught not to talk about it. Not to admit it. And not to ask for help. Thank you to my professors who’ve received a defeated email stating that I simply cannot make a deadline because my body is run down from Zoom meetings and homework and for them to respond emphasizing the importance of mental health and self care. It’s crazy to think that a 19 year old needs to be reminded to take care of herself. When you’re picking which college you want to go to, I feel like nobody ever talks about how much support you’ll receive from the staff and the students. Yet I feel like that’s definitely something important.  At the University of San Diego, everyone is cheering me on and I don’t know if I’d receive the same type of support at any other college. Frequently my professors tell us “We are here for you”, “We support you”, and “We want to help”. So thank you University of San Diego, for believing in me and helping me regain my love for education.

Sincerely,

A college student

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