Friday, March 7, 2014

Life at Yale: Liliana Santos

Liliana Santos, our keynote speaker at last year's SMART Goes to College event, recently visited the SMART office with her a capella group, Living Water, to speak with our Scholars and answer questions about student life at Yale. Here, she shares some reflections on her first year:
Life at Yale, in one word, is glorious. Fall was a stunning experience; leaves falling silently into piles of reds, and yellows. One week, the sky turned stormy grey and there was a sudden downpour. I put on my rain boots and coat and walked out into the rain, taking in the beauty of Harkness Tower and the stillness of the world. I found refuge in Dwight Chapel, a place that has quickly become my favorite place to contemplate and reflect.

From my weekly visits to the Farmer’s Market, to my work at Creating Kids Childcare Center with toddlers, to singing with my a cappella group, Living Water, being at Yale has been a whirlwind of beautiful, quiet, and extraordinary moments. When I first arrived, I was often so happy that I could just cry: the classes, the professors, the buildings and the leaves falling off the trees, were so surreal and yet so delightfully real.

At Yale, I’ve continued exploring, reflecting and learning. Each of my classes challenges me in new and exciting ways. My Black and White Photography class taught me to observe my world in a unique way; behind a 35mm lens. In my Dance on Film class, I’ve been pushing the boundaries of what I think dance, film, and the relationship between spectators and performers is. I’ve also been able to write stories and poems in my Spanish Creative Writing class. And, my Education Studies class has allowed me to explore a subject I’m truly passionate about.

I sometimes catch myself lost in memories as I notice the sunlight on Harkness Tower, or the engravings on the buildings on campus. It seems not so long ago I was only a fifth grader interviewing for SMART, a toddler lining up my stuffed animals as if to teach them something, a senior graduating from high school. Someone at last year’s SMART Goes to College event told me, “This is only the beginning,” and though it seemed a strange concept to me at the time, it is true; I’m beginning anew. There’s something exciting about starting again, about changing my family’s history: I’m off in uncharted waters. SMART helped me change not only my future but my family’s as well. SMART nurtured the potential I had to learn and grow and it was this initial support that kept me going.  Without SMART, I might not have realized that there was a greater world outside of my neighborhood, and that there was more to myself than just my circumstances. In supporting my education, SMART supported me as a learner, a global citizen, and a person. I now see that there is more to life and myself than I could possibly know, and I’m forever thankful to SMART for showing me that there is always something more to explore, learn, experience and grow from.

Liliana and her a capella group, Living Water at Yale, visit the SMART office and talk with our Scholars about student life at Yale!
Join SMART on May 1st at San Francisco Friends School for our 6th annual SMART Goes to College Fundraiser! Tickets and tables are available now.

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1 comment:

Syanat 3 said...

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