By Pedro Enamorado, Class of ’17
Dear First-Year Me,
You are about to have the most incredible three years of your life. The two-year school you transferred from, Miami-Dade College, is nothing like Yale. These years will also be filled with more fear, sorrow, and confusion than you can know. Take in every sight, enjoy every autumn leaf, be yourself until you learn to be more socially graceful. It’s going to get uncomfortable sometimes, but it will turn out well. You’ll realize your impressions of cartoon characters can get old (whoops!), and you’ll notice your friends kindly using their pity laugh at times. But one day you will make some quality dank memes (and you will love the rising meme culture). Some days, you will find yourself eating lunch in Commons, feeling homesick and listening to music to help you feel better. But an entire Stiles suite will adopt you and have dinner with you regularly, and you will adore your a cappella family: Living Water! You will have secret crushes and a not-so-secret ones and you’ll experience your first real heartbreak. Boy, will it sting. But you will learn more about deep, meaningful friendship through the people God will put in your life. Friends will be with you when your grandmothers pass a month apart and when you don’t even know how to categorize levels of loneliness or worry. And you will experience God’s presence in these moments in ways you could never imagine.
You will be stretched and more disciplined than you can imagine; you’ll finally realize how far God can take you. You will revive a Christian publication with only four members and watch it grow and survive past your graduation! You will often think you’re not the right man for the job in your informal and formal leadership – but you are the one God will use. You will finish certain days with a kind of weariness like you’ve never experienced. Believe it or not, there are limits to your extroversion, and your energy and love for people will fall short of all the people you want to spend time with. You will find your voice as a historian and political thinker! You’ll even write a 44-page thesis about your family’s Honduras, many blog and Facebook posts, and even a paper about Venetian pirates. But you will also feel the hurt of B-minus and C-plus papers, and the frustration of seeing papers you thought were bad get an A-minus and papers you pour your heart and soul into get the same grade. This is the new normal. But your pride will begin to crumble, and you will learn to stop condemning yourself for your inadequacy. This is one place where you had not let God’s grace apply where you will really need it.
Cling to God because you will learn how much you really need Him. There are opportunities to fall to temptation here that did not exist back home. There will be people that you will have to cut off, and others you will need to learn to forgive. You will try to use people to quell the deep pangs of loneliness you sometimes get- please don’t. They will fail you and you will hurt yourself, and sometimes hurt them. You will have a fight with your dad and not talk to him for a month because you are more prideful, spiteful, and resentful than you know. But reconciliation will be so beautiful and you will create new memories with your dad and learn how much he loves you. You will see God break through your fears and cowardice in so many other relationships because you will find yourself confessing sins and secrets, but it will only serve to help you grow.
Let me sum it up with this: you will learn the meaning of worship. You will see how weak and powerless you are, especially as you grow to know Jesus more. When you sing hymns and songs and lead yourself and others into worship, you will proclaim God’s saving power and cry, “Hosanna! Save, O Lord!” And you are going to mean it. Finally, when you walk across the aisle to lay hold of your diploma, you will know without a doubt that God’s faithfulness followed you all the way there.