Friday, April 20, 2012

Something Kind of Funny

Do you ever go to an event (say a speaker or poet or movie) and you expect to enjoy yourself but you’re completely unprepared to hear something that you really needed to hear? You don’t know it in advance, and you’re not even sure what it is you need to hear, but when you hear it, it just clicks? At least in my experience, this happens occasionally and it really makes me stop and think. Today, this wisdom came in the form of a simple phrase, “Don’t forget to breathe.”

Not too long ago, I received an email from the President of our campus’s chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the national Hispanic Honors Society. I have been a member since my sophomore year, and they host some great cultural events every semester. This specific email referred to an upcoming event featuring famous US-Latino author Daniel Olivas. The email also talked about a lunch before the event. As a college student, I always appreciate a free lunch. I guess I didn’t read the email that carefully because I thought it was just going to be a lunch with other members of Sigma Delta Pi. When I got to the room today, Daniel himself was sitting at the table, too. I was pleasantly surprised. He told us a little bit about himself, and then he spent this time asking us all about our experiences studying abroad and what we had learned. It was cool to hear of the experiences of my fellow students who had traveled to places like Costa Rica and Peru with RU. He asked some really interesting questions, and it was just a nice way to spend part of my afternoon.

After our lunch, we went to another building on campus so Daniel could give a presentation.  What a fascinating person! He has had so many cool experiences as not only an author but a lawyer as well. He is also a Latino Jewish American, and I can’t say I have met someone like that before. As a Spanish major, I have always been so interested in hearing personal stories about US-Latino citizens. A few years ago, I took a course called US-Latino Literature, and much of the time spent in class was hearing firsthand from local authors. Their stories were enthralling, as was Daniel’s. As he read out loud, the chapter ended with, “Don’t forget to breathe”.

It’s hard to believe, but I only have 22 days until graduation. These past few weeks, I have run the gamut of emotions when it comes to my impending life transition. I have also been occupied with papers, organization events, Greek Week, you name it. It has been a hectic time, and I have been all over the place. Sitting in a full room in the science center, listening to an author whom I’d only known for an hour, I felt like he was speaking right to me when he read that ending phrase. After the presentation, I purchased a copy of his book, The Book of Want, which he signed and personalized for me. At the end, he wrote, “P.S. Don’t forget to breathe.” At this hectic yet beautiful time in my life, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Take a step back, soak everything in while it lasts, and don’t forget to breathe.

1 comment:

  1. Kelsey, you and many other wonderful, giving students and teachers at Rockhurst made my stay very special. I have little doubt that I was enriched more by the experience than any of you! I'm heading back to L.A. this afternoon, but wanted to say: Best of luck, treat others well, and stay true to yourself.
    --Daniel Olivas