Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baccalaureate Mass: A Conversation with God...

Graduation week has come and gone. After four long years, I am officially done with my Rockhurst undergraduate career and I have walked across the stage to receive my prize--a piece of paper. JUST KIDDING!

It is obviously more than a degree that I am graduating with, but also a Jesuit education. On Thursday at Baccalaureate Mass, Fr. Curran was able to highlight one of those benefits during his sermon.

When he spoke to some students about the singers to perform at this year's Spring Rockfest concert, he discovered that country songs often describe the lives of Rockhurst students. Although it was a joke, he offered one song called: "If I could have a beer with Jesus..." by Thomas Rhett as a reminder for us to keep close to our faith even after leaving.

As graduates of Rockhurst, we have to reflect on our lives, not just as professionals, but also as responsible children of God. Fr. Curran also made it a point to remind us that prayer can take many forms. Perhaps we like to pray the rosary, but prayer can be as simple as a conversation with God.

As a gift, each of us received one of the coasters pictured below:

We promised to keep it in a place where we would see it frequently, and that whether or not that drink was alcoholic, he hoped that we would be able to have these conversations frequently.

The Mass ended with one of Fr. Curran's "true stories" and we walked across back to campus to enjoy a small reception with our families. Below are a few pictures from the reception:

 Hawks walking back to campus. 
Cathy Phillips (my first college roommate) and I. 

Lorie Castilleja and I.

Yummy dessert kabobs. 

Fresh fruit kabobs.

Paloma Carmona, Lais Carvalhinho, & Hero Balani by the Bell Tower. 

Hero Balani, a student from Belize, waving his country's flag.  

Hero posing for his sister.

Afterwards, the SOL seniors that could make it, headed over to the SOL room to carry on a tradition that has been alive for many years--the addition of our hands to the SOL alumni wall. Here are a few pictures from the actual event:

And to wrap up, we celebrated with cake. How could we resist doing the tradition Mexican cake bite?

I know...we are just too cute. 

With that picture and a promise to carry on as a strong Latina Hawk, I would like to say my farewell. Thank you to Rockhurst University for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts and life as a Hispanic student. I have many great memories as a Hawk and I really think that the challenges I have faced throughout these years has helped shape me as an open-minded and confident person. 

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope that you too will have a meaningful and unique college career. 

Hasta luego!


Monday, May 6, 2013

As I see it...

"Two finals, a ten-page paper, and a presentation stand in between me and graduation!"

"Four finals and a capstone presentation until summer!"

"Only three exams to go!"

These are the kind of statuses that are flooding my Facebook news feed. No matter what the combination of obstacles is, graduation is so close we can almost smell it! Kinda...

I've picked out my outfit and I'm ready walk across that stage on Saturday just like everyone else. Walking through the halls of Massman just to get lunch has never felt this way before. Perhaps it is because I know that I will never walk through campus again as an undergraduate. Not as SOL president and not as a student, but today as I sat down in a pew during my sister's high school graduation Mass, I realized that I shouldn't be sad about leaving.

As I walk across that stage on Saturday, so will thousands of other high school students across the nation. What came to mind during my sister's Mass was that while I am on my way out, others are on their way in.

The first few pews were full of Bishop Ward High School seniors getting ready to graduate. Just like me four years ago, their eyes were full of so much promise. I just thought to myself, "Where will they be four years from now?"

I prayed that their lives would be illuminated and that God would help them find their individual and unique callings. It was a special moment for me as a Latina and as a Catholic, because I felt excited for what their lives could become.

Now, I am able to look at graduation not just as me leaving a place that I have grown to know well, but as an opportunity for others to come in and start their own lives.

Below are a few pictures from this afternoon that I would like to share with you:

My two beautiful sisters. Three very different sets personalities and traits, but we understand that at the end of the day, we'll always be there for each other. 

My father embracing my sister to congratulate her. When I see my father I think of everything this man has had to do in order to make sure his daughters were going to be have a fair chance at life. 

My mother's loving kiss. I think of all of the times my mother has had to put up with a stubborn child and my heart feels heavy because I understand that her love is infinite and unconditional. 

As I approach graduation, I promise that I will feel proud of my accomplishments and happy that I am paving the way and also getting out of the way so that a new generation may come and accomplish their  own dreams. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring is coming around!

Rockhurst is once again covered in beautiful blooming tulips. The trees are beginning to look green and the squirrels are beginning to roam the campus again! Hopefully we have seen the last bit of cold weather because I am definitely ready to ditch my coats for my colorful cardigans.

This past weekend my family took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed down to Loose Park, just past the plaza, and held a nice picnic. It is a park that many Rockhurst students visit because it is so close to campus and it is a beautiful and safe place for a run. The park includes a picnic area, small lake and even a tree-climbing area. Below are actually two pictures from a trip a group of friends made to Loose Park a while back. In the first, I can be seen bravely climbing an obviously dangerously tall tree (clearly!) and in the second, playing frisbee with a friend.

This time my family invited a few friends and shared a delicious meal together. My dad grilled carne asada and burgers while my mother whipped up some fresh guacamole and nopales. Of course the traditional Mexican meal wouldn't have been complete without the beans and rice to complement the perfectly seasoned tacos. Regardless of how much food I ate, I had to make room for dessert! There was no way I was going to be able to pass up the fruit kabobs and tres leches cake that my friends brought over. 

After eating, many of us sat down to talk, other kicked a soccer ball around, and then all got together to play an incredibly amusing game of "Ninja." For those of you unfamiliar with the game, the object of the game is to not get slapped on the hands by the person next to you. 

Cindy (in yellow) can be seen laughing because she just missed my sister's (in black) move. 

Each person takes turns making "ninja moves" and can either go after the person to the left or the right. The object is to get either person next to you out of the game by slapping their hands, however, you must stay in the position you are in until it is your next turn. 

We had an incredible time, though I'm not surprised! There are so many things to do around campus that it's nearly impossible to be bored. 

See you next week!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My last SOL event...

The cap and gown that hang from a corner in my room, are signs of the happy, but sad reality that graduation is just a few weeks away. I am beginning to experience a lot of "last" experiences at Rockhurst. For example, I've filled out teacher evaluations for the last time and last week I was relieved to realize that I had registered for classes for the last time as well. 

However, the most important "last" experience was attending my last organized SOL event as a Rockhurst student. On Monday, SOL screened the Oscar Award-Winning film called "Inocente," about a young homeless and undocumented girl from California that aspires to be an artist through her vibrantly colored and animated paintings. A discussion of the problem immigrants face due to a broken immigration system followed the film that had been viewed by more than 40 students and community members. 

 A picture from my seat of people watching the film

It was a very touching film and I'm sure that I wasn't the only one that was moved to tears by Inocente's story and her bravery to confront her struggles. One lucky student even walked away with a print of one of her art pieces. 
Ahmad Maaz presenting our winner with her prize!

As the event came to an end, I was assured of the success that SOL will be able to achieve in the next few years and I am incredibly happy that this organization will continue to offer a place where Latino and Spanish-Culture loving students will be able to come together to celebrate the Latino culture. In addition, I am happy to see that as a Jesuit university we are socially conscious of the problems our community is facing. 

Best of luck to the next generation of SOL members!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The things that I will remember...

This past week, the Student Organization of Latinos officially bought airplane tickets and booked our hotel rooms for the National Council of La Raza Conference in July.

Five SOL members, including myself, will be traveling to New Orleans to attend the three day conference which is supposed to be the largest gathering for Latinos in the United States. We will be able to attend workshops on health, education, business, leadership and many other topics.

In addition, we are excited because in the past, the key note speaker at the gala has been President Barrack Obama. Below is a video in case you would like to learn more about the conference:

This has all been possible because SOL has worked very hard over the last two years to raise near $3,000 to help cover the expenses of traveling to the conference. After many fundraisers and receiving donations from community members, we were able to reach our goal. Just this past week, we spent three nights filling orders for our annual burrito sales. Luckily, Rockhurst students and staff have grown to love Latino foods and they ordered over 60 dozens! Below is a picture of me actualy trying to teach the guys how to make vegetarian burritos.

Our small group has worked extremely hard to make this year a success. Last year we were nominated for the Outstanding Support for Diversity and unfortunately lost. However, this year we have been nominated for a new award. For the first time since I have been here, SOL has been nominated for the Outstanding Student Group Award!
It has been both a great honor and and blessing to have served as president of SOL for the last two years. I have learned so much about organizing and being a leader. I strongly encourage everyone to become involved in some kind of leadership position while they are in college. The lessons you learn and the friendships you make will stay with you forever.
Until next week!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life takes off so fast...

With the new direction my life has taken in just the last few weeks, it's hard not to feel like I'm walking on Cloud 9.

A few weeks ago I learned that I had been accepted to my top three law schools. Just last Friday I learned that UMKC's School of Law was offering me a full fee scholarship that was renewable for three years and this week I mailed the letter that sealed my future with UMKC.

It has been an incredibly humbling experience for me and my family. Not only do I have the opportunity to minimalist the cost of law school, but I have the perfect opportunity to be a leader for my community. I have been reminded of something I learned in my leadership class while we were studying the Jesuits last semester: we are leaders and we are leading all the time.

Whether or not I am working towards finishing law school to have a better future for myself or going through law school to further my education, my action have the potential to affect someone else's life. I see my accomplishments as confirmation for other students that have similar dreams. It also motivates me to be a leader even while I am a student.

I am very thankful for this new opportunity and I definitely hope to inspire someone through my accomplishments.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The moment' I've been waiting for...

Snow, Facebook, shoveling, aches, hot chocolate, CABIN FEVER, shoveling...

Those words can all be used to describe what the week before Spring Break was like and I'm definitely grateful that our break came with incredible news:

All in the same day, within 30 minutes of one another, I had received the news that I had been accepted to my top two schools!

I can't explain the joy that I felt as I read those e-mails over and over. I had done it, I had been accepted. 

The first thing I did was called my dad. 

I fought back tears of joy as I told him that not only had I been accepted, but that both schools were planning to offer me scholarships. I felt confident about the applications and I was relieved to finally be in the negotiating stages of the admissions process. 

I finally felt the sense of security about my future that I had been longing for. I can remember reminiscing about all of the moments in my life that have led me to this moment. All of the hours of volunteering, organizing, planning, studying... it had all paid off. 

I went into work that day and gave my boss and co-workers the good news. We celebrated over a delicious lunch and the law school advice started pouring in from the attorneys, "The trick to law school is highlighting." 

"Three hours of sleep is the norm, four hours of sleep is incredible and six hours of sleep is a dream."

I obviously have a lot of preparing to do. Law school is supposed to be a whole 'nother animal, but I can't help but be naive about it for now. I'm looking forward to reading about cases and learning about procedures. 

For now, all I want to think about is that I've done it. I've been accepted to law school and in two months I'll be a college graduate. :)