Ashleigh Renteria | January 6, 2017
Editor’s note: Published in June 2016, A Letter to My Freshman Self is an anthology of 65 personal letters that Notre Dame alumni spanning 60 graduating years up to the Class of 2016 addressed to themselves as freshmen. Edited by Lily Kang '16 and Ian Tembe ’17, the letters reflect on often complex undergraduate experiences and offer wisdom to help undergraduates make the most of these transformative years of their lives.
Congratulations! You did it! While Frosh-O was a literal nightmare for your introverted self, this is still the place you’ve been dreaming about for a while.
However, you will soon realize you are not in L.A. anymore.
Your peers will begin to ask if you think you are here as the result of some affirmative action policy.
An instructor will be so surprised to find out that your last name originates in Mexico and he will poll the class to see “who can tell.”
A peer will publicly say undocumented people deserve to die if they arrive in an emergency room.
But I want you to know that you deserve to be here. You are no less worthy than they are. You are not operating at a deficit. Your voice matters and you should use it — use it to challenge others, to tell your story. These experiences will build resiliency and clarity of purpose. They will help you to embrace your identities in ways you haven’t discovered yet.