Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Time for Goodbyes.

I opened this tab and stared at a blank page for days. What on earth was I going to say about four years of adventure in 800 words for a Yale Daily News column? I wrote several drafts all playing with different ideas and tripping over my own words. What was I looking for? What was a single thread that I could tug and reproduce images in your head, just as they flashed through my own.

I love the feeling of words when they fit. But when they don't they are so painful and awkward to experience.

How do we say goodbye?

I don't think I do a good job with it. What are the options?
Long, drawn out and painful
bitterly sweet, quiet tears down cheek bones, never ending embraces
tequila infused dancing beneath tents in dewy courtyards until the sun comes up
promises to keep in touch (and actually meaning it... so it's not goodbye, but I'll see you later)
running out the door without a second glance
see you soon.
I love you.
Don't leave (but I have to.)
come visit me this weekend!

We all had some of these with the commencement ceremonies this past weekend. Deliciously mixed together in short whispers and promises promises promises and smiles fall on and off our faces.

Maybe I'm a little strange -- but there is something beautiful about goodbyes. This one wasn't sad for me. I was ready to go, I think. I will miss the community -- but I know that I will keep finding them in new places and seeing everyone do what they love most brings me joy. They will flourish and make their own rules. That is what I want for everyone.

So yes, it is a time for goodbye. The end of college, as a cycle for some of us. But... it's not really. Because I WILL see you later. Be sure of it :)

Remember to Say I Love You (repost)

ENRIQUEZ: Remember to say I love you

I was walking to class on Monday, reading through emails and speed-walking to make sure that I wouldn’t be late, when one particular email caught my eye. It was from a friend. The subject line read, “your brother,” and the only word I saw in the next line was “bombs.”
My little brother spent the past year training for the Boston Marathon. I thought Patriots’ Day was a national holiday until I stopped living in Boston; there, it is a statewide holiday. I live near Heartbreak Hill, so my brother and I would walk over to the grassy areas of the road and cheer on the Kenyan runners as they flew by wearing their flags every year. We chased each other along the sidewalk, cheering until we lost our voices. This year, he was part of the race.
And I was so proud of him.
But yesterday, the marathon wasn’t a display of human achievement and beautiful movement. For me, it was that chilling, heart-shattering moment of looking through the headlines, desperate for information from anything I could find.
I had no idea what to do, so I called one of my friends on the cross-country team and gave him my brother’s running stats and times, hoping he could tell me that Nico was OK. I was clinging to everything. And all I could think about was: Why didn’t I call him to wish him good luck? What was the last thing I said to him?
Marathon Monday was terrifying for many members of my family and my friends back at home. But in the background of explosions and confusion and the crowds of frantic, scared people away from their homes, I saw so many signs of heroism.
My mother got into the city, despite the locked-down streets and blockages. With a friend of hers, she managed to get through the crowds and passed policemen blocking the streets to find my brother, who had to borrow eight different people’s cellphones to text her and tell her where he was. She was a lioness that day. The kind of mom who lives up to the superhero status she had in my eyes.
My friends from across the city posted messages about having open couches and corners and beds for anyone who was lost in Boston and needed somewhere to stay.
Headlines about runners who left the finish line and went directly to the hospital to donate blood for the people injured in the explosions appeared and were all over Twitter.
We may be known as “Massholes,” but I saw love pouring from every corner of Massachusetts towards all those in need. I have never loved Boston as much as I did yesterday.
Someone told me once that we can remember what is beautiful in the world if we remember to look for the random acts of kindness that take place in the face of tragedy.
I read the news while waiting for more information about my mother and my brother and felt a little better because I believed that someone out there would help them if they could. Just as I knew Nico would, too, if someone needed him while he was out there running.
I have never been so relieved to hear his voice as I was when he called me yesterday evening. A little out of breath, tired and in a lot of pain (he finished the marathon), we joked about how hard it would be for him to climb the stairs the next day. I told him that I loved him, and remembered how lucky I was to say that to him whenever I wanted.
Yesterday helped me remember the communities I never really thought about having, from my friends who immediately texted and emailed and left class to call me, to my fearless mother, to my friends back in Boston and around the world. I think too often I wander through my work and daily routine without appreciating all that I have been given.
Yesterday I was given the gift to say “I love you” again to my beloved little brother. I will never forget this gift.
Diana Enriquez is a senior in Saybrook College. Contact her at .

Senior Reflections: The Reckoning

The Reckoning
Some people go out to East Rock to think about their place in the world. Some wander through cities, enjoying the feeling of being anonymous in a crowd where no one knows your name. Wherever you found that space of solace, there was probably a moment or two, at least, when you experienced a moment of reckoning.
Some of us came to Yale with neatly constructed narratives about our lives and our goals. We handed out neat, packaged descriptions of our “purpose,” much like the mission statements we used when fundraising for our conferences and events. Maybe it felt like we could package our lives into these descriptions, just like we packaged these one-time events into neat paragraphs on a single typed page. I found myself doing this.
But Yale taught me something important. My moment of reckoning came my sophomore year, at the end of what I would call my slump. I was desperate to get away: This campus felt too small. I felt trapped by my “purpose” — the type- cast I had written for myself on that single typed page. I needed some clarity and space; I even considered studying abroad.
As it turns out, I did not need to go far to find my solace. I left my room in Saybrook and went to meet Miles Grimshaw ’13 to talk about launching TEDxYale. As we worked to bring TEDx to campus, I found a new space to grow in and to ask questions, instead of just jumping directly to answers.
I spent so much time my first two years here conforming to the definition of “Diana” I had built for myself. I had stopped looking for new ways to learn and be pushed. I had found a comfortable place, but it was smothering me. My mission statement was written by a younger me who didn’t understand what I would come to see after more exposure to the world.
So I tossed it out. I gave up my 10-year plan, and opened my eyes to the other opportunities around me.
The rest of college was defined by new projects and people who pushed me to redefine my conditions for “success.” I found friends who were patient enough to tell me and correct me when I was making mistakes. I went to events and sought out students whose passions for different subjects made me excited to learn more about their talents and research. I spent more time writing and trying to understand what Yale, as a community, was teaching me about my values, my prejudices and my goals for the world. I found happiness in seeing how many different ways people were thinking and doing things all around me.
It was easy to fall into a routine, to settle with a group and stick it out, even when some of these relationships and projects weren’t working. I made the active decision to leave my corner and look for other places I wanted to be on campus. It was the best decision that I ever made.
I still think I have a sense of purpose, though its direction is far less concrete than it was four years ago. I am excited to see what I find along the way, and I know I can trust myself to take on new challenges that fit within that sense of purpose.
I have not given up. I have come to understand that sometimes the best route is not always preplanned. The people that I found at Yale helped me understand that would never be happy on a straightforward path, even if the path was my own design.
Sometimes I still struggle with questions. What will success feel like for me? Do I need to meet a more widely accepted definition of success to be happy?
I realized that I, at least personally, do not. I want my projects to be challenging and give me interesting problems to solve more than any thing else.
Yale was a safe space for me to test my ideas, plan new projects and reach out to professors who became my mentors and confidants throughout the challenges. My reckoning came from the access to different worlds and opinions that I found all around me. I am grateful for the rigor and thoughtfulness of my classmates, the friends who pushed me and the ideas that I could turn into realities while I was here. I leave now with a sense of purpose, however abstract, and know that I am better for my time here.
DIANA ENRIQUEZ is a senior in Saybrook College.
 Read more senior reflections here