I have dreamt of being a college graduate since before I can even remember because my parents and family instilled in me the value and importance of education at an early age. My dream has come true. As I stood on the bluff of my university staring at the Pacific Ocean and West Los Angeles with tears of joy streaming down my face, a wave of gratitude overwhelmed me.
I remember the day that I first visited Loyola Marymount University as a thirteen-year-old when I competed in the Junior High Academic Decathlon as my school’s religion representative. When I arrived on the campus with my parents, I was in awe of how massive the campus was. We parked and had to take a shuttle to get to the place where the competition was held. When it was time for me to take the religion test and I had to walk through the campus, I was struck by how beautiful the campus was. Since I ended up winning first place, I left with so many good vibes of LMU. The thought of attending college at LMU, however, never crossed my mind.
When it was time for me to start thinking about college, my parents convinced me to stay relatively close to home so my options were limited to Southern California (and to be more specific, Los Angeles). Though I was accepted to more prestigious universities, I chose LMU after visiting for a scholarship interview. While the scholarship offer definitely helped me make my decision, seeing the Hollywood sign from the bluff and the welcoming spirit of the students that captivated me. Since that decision was made, I have never felt an ounce of regret.
Like any other fine institution of higher learning, I have received an incredible education at LMU. I have learned the theories and practical skills needed for success in the workforce. But LMU has given so much more than the knowledge I learned in the classes I have taken.
Freshman Year: Friendship
The people at LMU – everyone from the presidents and trustees of the university to the food service staff, from my professors to my fellow classmates – make this university the wonderful place that it is. People care for one another in a way that is truly astonishing. Whether it was the cashier at the school’s convenience store who provided encouragement when I was on my way to take a difficult midterm, the person who sat next to me in one of my classes who sent a Facebook message to make me laugh, or the professor who was willing to read through another draft of my paper and then give advice for hours on end about life, I have always known that I have been blessed with amazing friends throughout my time at LMU. While I know that I will never see some people ever again, others will be with me for life. Regardless, I find so much joy knowing that true friendship is demonstrated each and every day as people go out of their way to offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, and an ear to just listen.
Sophomore Year: Leadership
Through the multitude of extra-curricular activities I joined, I gained valuable leadership experience. I learned how to effectively deal with people with all different personalities and beliefs. Moreover, each particular club or organization I was involved with offered something unique. My service organization Gryphon Circle, filled with fellow members who are inspiring role models, helped me define the meaning of service. My sorority Delta Zeta taught me so much about dedication and commitment. Church choir demonstrated the meaning of a welcoming community while the Student Alumni Association ignited my passion for networking. Lectoring at Masses gave me the opportunity to learn how to use nerves and anxiety to better connect to others, and cultural organizations such as Asian Pacific Students Association and the Filipino club, Isang Bansa, made me even more proud of my heritage. The rest of my involvements have also taught me meaningful lessons. I will take all of these lessons and experiences with me.
Junior Year: Perspective
The beauty of the bluff and the rest of the campus has helped me become more aware of my surroundings. I was not the kind of person who would enjoy majestic views, and I was definitely not the kind of person who would appreciate the little flowers that bloom next to the parking lot. Things have changed. Whether it be something as stunning as the sunset over the Pacific Ocean or a tiny little violet, nowadays I am more present to seeing the beauty that exists in this world.
Senior Year: Confidence
LMU has helped me develop a greater confidence in myself as I am. A few years ago, I would do everything I could to hide my imperfections. I put on a facade of infallibility and did everything I could to do things flawlessly. In my quest for perfection, I found the people I considered to be perfect and tried to become them. My years here have taught me that mistakes are inevitable. While they may be challenging, those mistakes are blessings from God. My years here have also taught me to be at peace with the woman I am. While I can always look to others as role models, there is only one me. If I spend the rest of my life trying to become someone else, then the person God created me to be is wasted. If, on the other hand, I stay true to who God calls me to be, I am able to best fulfill God’s plan.
I am eternally grateful to this university and to all the people who work hard to ensure that each student grows intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually; to my friends, family, and, of course, my parents for giving all the love and support I have needed; and to God, from whom all good things come.
Loyola Marymount University has shaped me into a woman who strives to walk with, serve, and love others. I am ready to go forth and set the world on fire. A.M.D.G.