To the Cougars Who Need That Extra Push

Dear Student,

 
This is it. There are only about two more weeks left in the first semester and it sure can get hectic. You are making your last stretch to finish off the year on a high note. You are writing papers, studying into the morning hours and maybe even started drinking coffee. I am writing this to tell you to not slow down. The long nights and intense workload definitely isn’t fun but for what a college degree is worth in this world, it is something worth fighting for.

 

A college degree can open countless doors for you in the real world and could very well establish your future. Think about it; you made it to college. Not just a college, but a prestigious University. You worked pretty damn hard and made huge sacrifices to get here and giving up now would just tarnish everything that you have ever worked for.

 

I have noticed that some students, particularly fellow freshmen, second guessing their skills as a student. To those questioning their future, asking “What’s the point?”, it is quite simple. You are here for a reason. For my fellow Cougars who feel like they are struggling, just know that SXU saw something special in you when they accepted you. They saw potential. They saw you as not just a well-rounded student but somebody that can survive and thrive under pressure and become successful when it’s all said and done. They are giving you an opportunity to show everybody and yourself what you are capable of. Just last week, one of my professors told my class that she was proud of us. She said that some people don’t make it this far and for her to see us in the position that we are in really made her happy.

 

If you are questioning your future, I am personally telling you that you can do it. You should be proud of everything you have accomplished! If you have hit some rough spots in your college life, just know that it happens to everyone and you are not alone. You can never be successful without making mistakes. Trust me, it is all part of the plan. Take advantage of the tools here at school. The professors are always willing to help and you can go anywhere for assistance. Remember there is nothing wrong with getting some much needed help. Remember why you are here. I know you can do it. Take a deep breath, relax and have faith. You’ll be surprised of what you can accomplish if you give it 110%. This is your opportunity to make your mark and finish strong. Take full advantage of your chance to better yourself here at SXU. After all, “You don’t get another chance. Life is no Nintendo Game.” -Eminem

 

Believing in you,
Nicholas Vazquez

Are You Thankful?

For us students here at SXU, we all have our feet on the gas pedal as we continue to stay focused in our classes. The final weeks of the 2016 school year are just upon us. For many students, including myself, many of our classes have some form of a final grade. It could be a test or even a paper. However, despite the amount of work and effort needed to finish the year off strong, I feel confident in my abilities to be successful this year and finish off the semester on a high note. As Thanksgiving approaches for all of us, it seems fitting to talk about the things that I am thankful for and how I was able to come this far in my life.

 

One of the most important things that I am thankful for is my family. Growing up, I was blessed to have a family that loved me enough to give me everything that they didn’t get as children. They made many sacrifices for me and my younger brothers and are still doing so today. They put a roof over our heads, food on our plates, and lots of love and support in everything that we do. One of the biggest sacrifices that my parents made for my brothers and I was putting us through a private high school and college education. Private education, as everyone knows, is not cheap. However, they felt as if the money would give us all a better opportunity to be taught by the best and be one step ahead in our lives. Not only has it prepared us to do just that, but I enjoy the environment and atmosphere of it all, especially in high school. I attended Saint Rita of Cascia in Chicago, and the memories I made there will last a lifetime. If it wasn’t for the sacrifices that my family had made, I honestly do not think I would be as successful or even as happy as I am today.

 

Along with my family, I can also never forget about the friends I have made throughout my life, especially within the past four years. High school allowed me to meet many new people and have numerous experiences that I will never forget. Going to an all-male high school was a blessing in disguise and the brotherhood that came along with it is something that cannot be replaced. For me, in addition to having a great family, it is also important to surround yourself with good people. Friends are a necessity in one’s life, and it is a good idea to always have people in your life who will be there for you. There have been many people in my life that have come and gone but the real friends that I have today are the ones that I still talk to and see today and they know who they are. With that said, I am thankful for them for riding with me throughout the years.

 

Lastly, I am thankful for the SXU experience. Coming from an all-male high school to SXU was definitely a transition. I have encountered different religions, cultures and ways of life that I had never experienced up close. I have noticed a strong sense of unity here at SXU as well. This school views everyone as equal, no matter religion, color or gender. Their core values of respect, excellence, compassion, service, hospitality, integrity, diversity and learning for life are illustrated each and every day. SXU has allowed me to expand my mind and appreciate all that this world gives us. It has made me a more respectful and appreciative person, and with that, I am definitely thankful.

 

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to the people or things in our lives, showing appreciation for everything we have. I am blessed with a family, a house, good friends, and a great university education. There are many people in the world who have none of these things, and as the holidays approach, it is important to be appreciative for all the things we have, big or small. I highly encourage you all to use Thanksgiving to say thank you to all the people in your life that have had an impact in making you the person that you are today, even if you are no longer in touch with them. I promise you that that simple thank you will go a long way.

Election Views from SXU

This year’s election, from start to finish, has been unlike any other election that we have ever seen. It was comical, odd and serious all at the same time. It was definitely the first time in a long time that schools and universities have paid so much attention to an election. Now, I’m not here to preach about my political views. I’m not here to push an agenda or reject another. I’m here to simply talk about the madness that was the 2016 Presidential Election and how it effected Saint Xavier.

 

There were many candidates at the beginning of this presidential campaign, however, only two became their party’s nominees and would lead the way to the most talked about presidential campaign in history — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. These two were as opposite as opposite can get. If one candidate supported a certain belief, the other believed the exact opposite. If one candidate talked trash, the other would retaliate with the same amount of smack talk. It was almost like watching two little kids fight. They both pointed their fingers at each other, both made some bold claims and even called each other names. It even got to the point where the two participated in a war of words over Twitter. TWITTER. However, despite all the games and antics that kept it so entertaining, the two candidates also brought some negativity within the country. America has become horrifically divided, and with that division came anger and sometimes violence. It has been all over the news and supporters for both candidates engaged in some pretty ugly behavior. Social media even became a hostile environment to talk about politics. Many immature Americans were exposed this year due to their childish behavior, and it really did sadden me to see the country I love look so divided. It seemed that everywhere I went, and every social media platform I went on, hostility from both sides followed. I did, however, catch a break when I went to school.

 

To be quite honest, I was extremely impressed with the way Saint Xavier handled this year’s election. The professors did a great job of not showing any bias toward a certain candidate. Even if the election were brought up in a class unrelated to politics, the professors would allow both sides to be heard. The student body was also very mature about the election. No ugly words were ever used between students, and if a debate began, it would be done so in the most civil way possible. I happened to catch a debate between two students in the diner and the way they carried themselves could not have been more civil. Both students were respectful of each other’s opinions, let each other talk and never engaged in hostile behavior. It just goes to show that even in a time where everybody is so divided, respect can be found in the smallest of places.

 

Of course, citizens will always have different opinions, it is inevitable. However, debating the right way is what is most important. Being calm, respectful and civil with one another are all important factors when debating over things such as politics, and so far, Saint Xavier has impressed me with the level of maturity throughout this election, through the faculty and staff and the student body. There are many other universities in the country who have failed to follow SXU’s example and they have become hostile environments for students. I hope, within these next few years, that the country and its people can learn how to get along with each other. Because after all, united we will stand, but divided we will fall.

Top 3 Paranormal Locations I Want To Visit

There are many people in the world, such as myself, who have grown to love and enjoy horror movies. There is something about a chainsaw maniac, a machete-wielding madman or a man in a hockey mask that has me hooked. The rush of adrenaline, the “what happens next” feeling and jump-scare anticipation is somewhat addicting. Although there have been many horror movies that have brought chills to my spine, none have ever made me more paranoid about life than paranormal movies. The more realistic the movie, the more frightening it feels. Movies like “The Exorcist,” “The Haunting in Connecticut” and “The Amityville Horror” were all, supposedly, based off “true events.” Coming from an extremely religious family, I was told that these paranormal experiences are definitely possible and that there are certain locations in the world, specifically the United States, that are home to locations crawling with paranormal activity. Although some people might reject the idea of an afterlife, it is still interesting to hear about the experiences of others. With that said, here are my top three paranormal locations that I would love to visit (with some friends, of course):

Waverly Hills Sanatorium- Louisville, Kentucky

Deemed the most active paranormal location in the world, Waverly Hills Sanatorium opened its doors in 1926. Now, around this point in time, tuberculosis was a contagious and incurable disease. This hospital was supposed to be the most advanced medical facility to treat those with tuberculosis. Though some survived, many perished here as well. It is estimated that at least 160 people died here but not only due to tuberculosis. Many of these patients were used as test subjects for new experiments to try and fight the sickness. They went through hellish treatments, such as exposure to UV lights, removal of muscles and ribs, surgically implanted balloons in the lungs in for breathing purposes. A majority of these test subjects died during these experiments. All deceased bodies were sent down “The Chute”, a tunnel from the hospital leading to railroad tracks nearby. Because these bodies were never properly buried, it is said that their souls and spirits are still not at rest. By World War II, new medicines were created to treat tuberculosis, and in 1961, it closed its doors. However, it reopened a year later as a mental health facility. Throughout the years, the hospital saw numerous suicides occur by patients due to barbaric treatment of the doctors. It officially closed in 1982.

Gettysburg Battlefield- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

In one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, this battle took place for three whole days, from July 1-3, 1863. General Robert E. Lee felt confident that, because of his victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, he would have the edge and momentum in Gettysburg. However, it was a costly battle for both the Confederates and the Union. It is estimated that around 50,000 Americans lost their lives here in this open field. I would love to visit this location because of its historical value to the United States and because of its supposed astounding paranormal activity. Many people claim to still hear distant cannon shots and drums in the night. People have also claimed to see apparitions of soldiers with their bayonets and backpacks.

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery- Midlothian, Illinois

If you asked anybody from the South Side of Chicago where the most haunted place in the area is, they will tell you Bachelor’s Grove. The history of this place has many different stories. Opened in the mid 1800’s, this average-sized cemetery started off as your basic burial place for the deceased. However, over the years, it turned into a dumping ground for bodies for the Italian and Irish mafias. In the 1960’s, after it became abandoned, tombstones were smashed, spray painted and vandalized. The forest also grew in after years without landscaping and maintenance. Bodies are no longer buried here, and it has been like that for quite some time. However, that still does not stop people from coming to visit. This cemetery is home to many visitors, such as tourists, paranormal investigators and Satanic cults. These cults still practice in this cemetery to this day and can be validated through the remains of supposed animal sacrifices that are found deep in the forest of the cemetery. People who claim to have seen the cemetery’s paranormal activity witness almost the same things; ominous white and red glowing orbs, apparitions, a barn (reappearing and disappearing) and even old phantom cars from the early 1900s. Of course, not everybody has these experiences but I think it would be interesting to have seen some of these things with my own eyes.

Hitting the Reset Button

Greetings, readers and welcome back! As I write this post, I am on my way home from the great state of Michigan. My good friend and I decided to head up to East Lansing to visit a mutual friend at Michigan State, and it was a great time. After my experience, I can’t help but think how soothing it was to step away from the comforts of my daily routine and recharge before coming back home. This semester is going by insanely quick and we are only a few weeks away from winter break, which means the workload is likely to increase, which could cause stress to also increase. I’ve spoken before on the many ways to distress, but after this weekend, I find it appropriate to tell everyone a new way to help make their life just a little more peaceful.

 

I have lived in Merrionette Park for 15 years, and I love it. The South Side is full of delicious food, friendly people and endless things to do with friends and family. I know the area so well, I can probably get around blindfolded (maybe not that well). However, going to Michigan was a unique experience for me. It was the first time in a long time that I had actually left Illinois and everything I was familiar with. East Lansing itself was an experience but even the road trip had me in awe. I was able to step away from the cars and buildings and enter a rural, more peaceful atmosphere. Michigan is beautiful in the fall. The leaves of trees turned into cooling fall colors and cows and horses grazed on the farms. Now for me, this was somewhat a culture shock. I rarely leave Chicago. Seeing a rural environment allowed me to see how beautiful this country really is. It almost made me forget about all my worries back home. Then, I began to think about the woes of other people. Most Americans are in the same routine every day – wake up, go to work/school, come home, work some more, eat and sleep. It not only drives people crazy but being stuck in the same loop for years can also affect someone’s mood. They may lack energy and motivation to continue doing what they are supposed to do. Nobody wants to fall behind at work or in school, as it can be costly to your career. Taking a trip somewhere away from home is just what everybody needs.

 

This little trip allowed me to step away from the things that I am used to. I was able to leave my woes at home and clear my mind for the first time in a while, and it felt refreshing. I also became less stressed about the school year and was able to just let go and have fun. I think that it is essential that all everyone take an opportunity like I did to get away from everything, even if it is for a day or two. Taking a break from your usual routine can be very beneficial to your health, whether you are a student or an adult. It is almost like hitting the reset button! I also feel more determined to do my best in school after taking a break from the daily norms of my life. In general, it just feels good to “get away” for a little bit. Of course, Michigan isn’t the only place to go to recharge. There are many places you can go to in order to feel comfortable and relaxed, such as a forest preserve. You can even go somewhere in which you feel the most comfortable, such as a friend or family member’s house. It is all about going to a place where you know you can swim in your own thoughts and just relax. There are many places to help clear your head. It is just up to you to find them.

Is Hell Freezing Over?

So, I was going to write about my week in school. I was going to discuss how the week went, how I was doing and what not. However, I simply cannot avoid talking about the history that was made in the city of Chicago over the weekend. So if you’ve been keeping up with Chicago sports, specifically baseball, the Cubs have been on a quest to make it to the World Series, which would be their first since 1945. Well, the Cubs are now just four games away from a World Series championship. Yes people, this is actually happening.

 

Now I doubt I’ll be the only one talking about this but the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 on Saturday in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series to punch their ticket to the World Series. Yes, you read that correctly. The Chicago Cubs are going to the WORLD SERIES. It almost doesn’t seem real. It sounds so weird just mentioning “Cubs” and “World Series” without any negativity whatsoever.

 

Now for people who don’t care too much about sports, specifically baseball, just know that this is a HUGE deal. For starters, the last time the Cubs reached the World Series, World War II had just ended, the first ballpoint pen went on sale and Franklin Roosevelt was president. Yeah, it has been that long. The Cubs worked their tails off all season to reach this goal, and it finally paid off. Although the journey has just begun, this historical accomplishment has hit home for many Cubs fans, especially for me and my family.

 

Watching the Cubs in the playoffs this year has been remarkable. Yes, it was stressful at times but the Cubs have shown time and time again why they are the best team in baseball. Their win on Saturday night was just another reason for me and Cubs fans to stay calm and just enjoy baseball. After the Cubs turned a double play to end the game, my family was thrilled and excited beyond belief, especially my dad, who was the most excited out of all of us. He has been a Cubs fan his whole life. He enjoyed watching Cubs greats growing up, such as Ryne Sandberg, Dave Kingman, Andre Dawson, Rick Sutcliffe, Mark Grace and many more. He shared his passion with the Cubs with me at a young age and, of course, with the rest of my family. He supported this franchise for many years and to see his support pay off with a Cubs World Series berth just warms my heart. However, we weren’t the only Cubbies fans getting emotional. We watched endless clips of fans at Wrigley also feeling what we felt. Fans of all ages were yelling, cheering and crying tears of joy. In my neighborhood, “W” flags flew, horns sounded, and fireworks lit up the sky. It almost felt like a dream. I did nothing but smile and thank the Lord. It didn’t hit me until I woke up Sunday morning and realized what we had just accomplished.

 

Though it was a great weekend for baseball, us Cubbies fans can’t get too ahead of ourselves. It was good to see our team reach the World Series but the journey is not over yet. The Cubs are going into Cleveland Tuesday night to face an extremely talented Indians team in a seven-game set. These games will definitely not be easy by any means but after a brilliant performance by the North-siders in the NLCS, I can definitely say that the Cubbies will put on the show of a lifetime. The trip to the grandest stage of them all was stressful but exciting, and now it is time to relax and let the Cubs be the Cubs. Even when the Cubs were struggling, they managed to get themselves together and never quit. They showed their “Never Back Down” attitude and it is just a reminder to me of how good of a baseball team we really have. The Cubs’ chemistry is at an all-time high and the bond between every single player is stronger than ever. Of course, it is a huge accomplishment itself just reaching the World Series but getting that illustrious ring after 108 years would be the icing on the cake.

The Lovable “Winners”

Chicago has always been one of the world’s most popular cities. Our pizza, skyscrapers, and rich history are what make the city and its people so valuable. With all these factors defining who we are, there is one thing that ties all Chicagoans together; Sports. Sports is such a huge part of the culture of Chicago and almost all of our teams have given us a taste of what it is like to be world champions. The notorious Super Bowl winning ‘85 Bears, the six-time champion Bulls, the Sox in 2005, the Hawks, specifically in ‘10, ‘13, and ‘15, and even an MLS title by the Fire in ‘98. All living Chicagoans have been able to see our teams make the city proud and give us the title of “Champions. Every team except the Cubs.

Born and raised a fan of the “Lovable Losers,” the Cubs were always a big part of my life, specifically for me and my dad. We have been watching the Cubs on TV and attending multiple games for many years. I will always remember my first Cubs game back in September 2003. Right after school, my dad informed me that it was time for my yearly check up with the doctor. As a child, hearing the word doctor only meant one thing; a shot. I felt scared and uneasy, thinking to myself how my day went from normal to tragic so quickly. Little did I know we were on our way to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs. As soon as I saw Wrigley, my dad handed me my ticket. “Surprise!” He said. I had never been so happy. It was about 2 in the afternoon when we took our seats in right field bleachers. As the Cubs took the field, I couldn’t help but smile. I had never see a Cubs games like this. Though I had watched multiple games on TV with my dad, it was a totally different atmosphere to be sitting alongside the Bleacher Bums. The smell of the field, the roar of the crowd, and the cool, windy weather made the experience perfect. I got a “thumbs up” from center fielder Moises Alou and even saw Sammy Sosa hit a homerun onto Waveland. It was definitely a remarkable experience.

You don’t have to be a Cubs fan to know the history of this ancient franchise. Words like 1908, Billy Goat, and Bartman are very popular in the baseball world. They are all reminders of how long the Cubs organization and their fans have suffered. As a Cubs fan, not a week goes by that somebody is reminding me of our World Series drought. Trust me, if I had a dime for every time somebody mentioned 1908 to me, I’d be rich. Despite what people say, the Cubs are doing something that cannot be denied by anybody; they are winning. And doing it impressively.

The Cubs finished off the 2016 season 103-58, the best record in Major League Baseball. Baseball fans around the league have become familiar with names like Rizzo, Bryant, and Arrieta. Not only have the Cubs become winners, they have become fan favorites. This year, I have seen non baseball fans start enjoying the sport because of the Cubs. Believe it or not, there are even some Sox fans rooting for the Cubs to win (you know who you are.) The Cubs have rallied the people of Chicago together in hopes of finally breaking the curse and 100+ year drought by winning the World Series. It would mean the world to my family and fans worldwide for the Cubs to win it all. We have been loyal fans through thick and thin and this year, we have never looked better.

No matter what happens, I will always support my team. The Cubs have always been a big part in my life and at this point, it is impossible to stop supporting this franchise. The past couple seasons are just reminders that anything is possible. The Cubs have become Chicago’s favorite baseball team and I’m happy that they are finally getting the attention they deserve. This team brings out the good and even the bad in baseball fans. Cub fans and Cub haters will always be at a war of words but no matter what team you support, you will always find yourself talking about the Chicago Cubs. It is how historic they are Despite what anyone says to me or whatever happens in future baseball seasons to come, you will always find me “Flying the W.”

Simple Ways to Destress

Greetings readers, and welcome back to the blog! I hope you all enjoyed the weekend!

Whether you were taking advantage of the beautiful weather, or soaking in some Cubbies baseball, this weekend was definitely exciting. However, I know there may be a great number of you under some stress or anxiety. You could be overwhelmed with an insane amount of work, struggling to keep up at your job or you can simply be stressing out from life itself. You could be feeling down, confused or even lost. I have definitely been stressed in my lifetime, but the more times it happened, the more times I’ve found ways to fight it. Stress is an unfortunate part of life but there are ways to combat it and get back to a clearer, more positive mind. With that said, here are some great ways to destress and start feeling better sooner.

1. The first step to destressing is to stay positive. Now, I know many of you will criticize this thought process, giving me the “easier said than done” spiel. However, staying positive is my first step to distress, and I believe it is a vital one. One cannot simply calm down without wanting to. Feeling down on yourself is not a positive mindset to be in. Convince yourself that you want to feel better. You’ve got to want it! Now, once you are driven and in the state of mind to fight stress, do some basic activities that can get your mind off of the things holding you down.

2. One easy way to destress, especially for college students, is to get away from the situation at hand and meditate. Now, I use this term very loosely. You don’t necessarily have to break out the ancient Buddhist meditation methods (unless you’d like to), but putting your headphones on and playing your favorite songs is a fantastic way to destress. It doesn’t take much effort and it is a great way to take a deep breath and to relax to the comfort of your favorite artists and bands. It is a great way to simply recharge and take a mental break from whatever obstacles are blocking you from feeling positive. Even taking a nap is a form of meditation.

3. If you’d prefer a more interactive and physical approach to destressing, exercising is a great method to use. Going outside for a walk, hitting the weights, or even going for a run allows your mind to wander and recharge, while also keeping you nice and healthy. Personally, runs are the best way to destress. If you aren’t a runner, I highly recommend this activity if you are stressed. A simple run can get your mind to break from its negative barriers and allow you to restore your sanity. The sweat can even represent all your woes leaving your body

4. Most importantly, eat well. Students tend to eat junk food when they are stressed out. Examples include ice cream, cookies and chips. It is best to avoid eating junk food when you are stressed because your brain will find comfort in unhealthy snacks causing you to gain weight. It is scientifically proven that eating heathier foods will keep your mind focused. Foods such as fruits, nuts and even chicken (don’t even think about those McNuggets) are all healthy choices for brain food. Remember, a healthy body creates a healthy mind.

There are many other ways you can destress, but these are my personal methods that I use every time I find myself feeling down. A life without stress just isn’t possible, however, ways to fight through it are! There will be times in life when we are ready to give up and feel like shutting down. It is up to us to find our own paths to healing ourselves from stress, and I can tell you from experience that it is very possible.

In the immortal words of John Cena, “No matter how great the setback, no matter how severe the failure, you never give up.”

SXU’s Beneficial Resources

Greetings readers! I hope you all had a great weekend and are feeling fantastic. It is honestly hard to believe it is already October. Freshman year is going by quicker than I expected, which definitely has me thinking of how I cannot slow down when it comes to my academics. In just a little over two months, the first half of my freshman year will be over. This thought fuels me to continue to grind inside the classroom and stay focused on what is important. Though the year is going by quick, last week felt like my longest one so far. However, despite the large workload, I was able to power through it successfully, and I even did it with some assistance.

Saint Xavier has shown me that faculty and staff are genuinely determined to make sure their students succeed in life, especially in the classroom. There are many resources available to students to help them in their studies. However, for many students, there will always be that one subject that is more difficult to them than the rest. For me, it has always been math. I have known many people over the years that are in the same boat as me when it comes to math. I can understand some of it, but when it comes to complex problems, such as word problems, I always have difficulty comprehending it. One of the reasons I chose to go to Saint Xavier was because I liked the idea of small class sizes. The small classes give me the opportunity to receive one-on-one help from my professor if I ever need assistance. And I definitely took advantage of that this week. I have been in contact with my professors for help, and they have helped me every single time, no questions asked. In addition, I have also gotten help from other students and even taken a trip to the Learning Center. With all these options available, I was able to power through the week and successfully complete a chapter in math. It is a great feeling to know that whenever I need help, the University and my professors are there for me. It is vital for students to know that there is no shame in asking for help.

In addition to utilizing the resources to improve my academics, I have also used the resources to improve my health. Saint Xavier not only stresses the importance of doing well inside the classroom, but also preach about living a healthy lifestyle. I enjoy utilizing the University’s gym, as it gives me an opportunity to stay in shape. In addition to the gym, the University also has a variety of healthy foods to choose from on campus, especially at Cougar Fuel. Cougar Fuel in the Shannon Center is a great place for me to get a healthy meal or drink for a fair price. Wraps, smoothies and salads are just a few of the healthy choices to pick from on the menus. It is great to see the University push for a healthy lifestyle, as a healthy body creates a healthy mind. It is something I will continue to enjoy as my college career continues.

It is crazy to see that I am already in the month of October in my freshman year and I am enjoying every second of it. I did not think college would be going as well as it is, and I am definitely not letting up. It is inevitable that the school year will continue to get harder, but it is within those hard times that my work ethic will illustrate the determined student that I really am. With all the resources available to me to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually, the sky’s the limit for me. I am eager to see what else the University has to offer and will continue to explore the ways to become better every week.

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Me in 10 years,

I write this letter to you from age 18, so by the time you open this, you should be about 28. I’m writing this to give you a little trip down memory lane and to show you how far you have come in life!

As for your current interests, you watch wrestling, enjoy old school video games and are currently in the midst of collecting every Major League Baseball jersey. As for your academic life, you are a freshman at Saint Xavier University. You managed to get that blogging job for the school, math is STILL your hardest subject, and your favorite place to be on campus is the small courtyard near the main entrance. You are aiming for your bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and after college, you are determined to become a police officer (hopefully, you are already in uniform). I hope everything is going great for you in 2026!

For you, life is good right now. You are just a little over your first full month of college. It is going great and you are having a fun time. You are keeping your grades up and meeting some really interesting people that you, hopefully, still talk to. As for the family at home, everyone is starting a new chapter in their lives. Alex just started high school at St. Rita, Michael is starting second grade and mom just became an office manager. We had a couple new people move into our neighborhood as well. For the most part, life is going really well and I hope you are doing great.

As for the status of the United States, the country is currently going through some rough times. The shootings in the city surpassed that of last year (we are only in September), tensions are at an all-time high between a number of Americans and the police, and our two presidential candidates are stirring the pot so much that even the rest of the world is focused on American politics. I hope our country has healed a little bit in the future. Though I’ve only been on earth for 18 years, it doesn’t take a genius to see that our country is sadly divided in many ways. Things like race, color, gender and political parties are just some of the factors dividing the American people. Of course everyone has always had a difference of opinion, I’ve never seen tensions get so high before. Riots and protests are breaking out all across the country for a lot of these things, and it hurts me to see us put each other down. Hopefully, we are all a little bit closer as a nation in the future and are working out our problems together.

As for the world, the U.S and other allies are currently fighting ISIS, the U.K. isn’t part of the European Nations anymore, and the world is still “mourning” the death of an American gorilla named Harambe (Never Forget).

So I’m hoping at age 28 that you’ve accomplished some goals that I’ve set for you. For example, I hope you’ve settled down and started a family by now. I hope that you have that Dodge Hellcat you’ve always wanted or at least are close to getting one. I’m expecting you to be a police officer already, so don’t let me down. However, beyond these small goals and changes in your life, I hope you haven’t changed your personality. Never forget who you are and where you came from and never change for anybody. Don’t forget your life values and definitely never abandon your faith. It was always a strong part of your life, so whatever you do, always make time for it. In addition, you better be the police officer you’ve always wanted to be. Be patient, understanding and keep calm when you need to. Always treat everyone with respect but never back down when danger arises. You were always an easy and approachable person and very fun to be around, so carry those personality traits with you always. Protect your family and friends and ALWAYS keep God in your heart — no excuses! You are a good young man here at age 18. You should be an even better man at 28. Take care and always be safe.

Yours truly,
Nick Vazquez

P.S. The Cubs are currently the best team in baseball. I hope you were able to witness a World Series win by now.