Leaving our nation’s capital, my life was seemingly back to some degree of normality. But when I arrived back at my dorm, things were not like they had been before I left. Upon my return, I was greeted by my friends. There they stood waiting for me in the early hours of that New York morning.
They asked the questions that have become customary as hailing a cab: they asked about the president, my feelings, how I enjoyed my trip, and the women, of course, asked about Denzel. One aspiring civil engineering major asked me “who was the most influential person you met?”
I stopped, I smiled and I answered, “Mona Dixon, Tommy Walls, Delsy Morales and Maria Hernandez.” Again, smiling, I added. “They are the most influential people I have EVER met.” This prompted her to ask why. I told her their stories. Before the end of the conversation, I had drawn a small crowd of sorts. Seven, maybe eight, I suppose. They were all interested not merely in the adversity that we all endured, but the strides made to ensure success.
There is now an understanding amongst the students on the third floor of my dorm, in the words of the soulful Mona, “If you have to start somewhere, why not start here?” The message resonated to people who barely even knew her, or knew any of us, even myself -- and I live across the hall. Then the conversation ended. Everyone dispersed with new-found vigor and motivation but, much as my life has become now, I got a new question, a profound question: How can I get involved? This was asked by the Associate Dean of Admissions of one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the nation. And this question has made all the difference.