Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Challenge”

letterVictor

 

Dear Future Cortinian,

You are about to embark on a new chapter in your life that will forever change the way you view things and people in the world.  You are going to meet people who have different values than the ones you believe in. As a result you will be challenged. Many people don’t like to be challenged, mainly because most of us don’t like to think that we could be “wrong” or that we could be the “bad guy” in someone else’s eyes. The think to keep in mind though, is that it’s not about being right or wrong. It is about making the effort to get to know the other person, and hearing their story to understand where they are coming from and why they hold the values that they hold. In doing this you will open yourself up, and consequently open upother people to a whole new world of new experiences, new life lessons, and new friendships. Remember to just keep an open mind and to make yourself vulnerable. When people see your vulnerability, they are seeing the truest manifestation of yourself. Most importantly, remember to love, and love deeply. Never let a moment pass you by that allows you to tell someone how you feel about them. You’ll be amazed by the warmth in your heart that you’ll feel throughout the year. Your face will hurt from smiling so much and sometimes your eyes will hurt from crying with and for others. All of this will lead you to understand that you have acquired a new family in your life. Good luck with this coming year! Welcome!

Much love,

Victor Diaz

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Who am I and whom shall I become?”

letterAM

My dearest Cortinian,

“Who am I? And whom shall I become?” This is a question that has come to the hearts and minds of every single person I know. We are on a constant quest to know the path in which we belong, but thankfully God doesn’t tell us. He instead guides us, and lets us go on a journey that sometimes seems fruitless but shall become fruitful. So although you may think you joined Cortina because of your friend, your parents, or to boost your resume; in all actuality you were meant to be here. God, or whomever you believe in sent you here. You belong. I unfortunately am not a poet, so that’s the end of my eloquent speaking, of the words in my heart. Now I will speak simply and honestly. Enjoy your journey! There will be hard days and easy days. Through it all remember you are strong. Going to your service site will almost always brighten your day, it is an escape, and a time to give of oneself. Go to Community Time, someone worked hard to put it together, by someone I mean a fellow Cortinian, show them you care and attend. It is a time to share with your fellow Cortinians or just a time to listen. Don’t miss a retreat. It is a time to think; nothing else, but peace and quiet to think about that question of “who am I and whom shall I become?” Remember we all make mistakes, and that’s the beauty of it, we all are flawed. Take care of yourself, college is hard yet wonderful, “you can do it!, si se puede!” You are loved my dear and you deserve love! Seek guidance when needed, listen, be patient, and show the love you receive by loving others.

Sincerely,

AM – a fellow Cortinian

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Embrace”

letterembrace

 

To a Future Young Cortinian,

I’m not going to write you a letter assuming your year, your gender, your past. I am not going to tell you what you ought to do. I am merely giving advice I wish someone would have told me and my advice, in general, for anything, anytime, is to embrace it.

Embrace your friends and family. Embrace them so warmly that their loveliness joins yours. Embrace their thoughts and ambitions because it will fire yours. Embrace their hardships and sorrows, their triumphs and celebrations because they deserve it.

Embrace the situations you’re in for; you will learn and grow. Embrace the good. Embrace the bad. You need to know both before you can understand. Embrace the challenge. You do not need to be afraid. Embrace all that is around you. Especially embrace yourself. Embrace your best qualities, they should not go unrecognized. Embrace your faults because that will make them falter. Embrace your wisdom, your shortcomings, your fears, your humor, embrace all of you. Appreciate all of you. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve come from, what others have done to you. You are you and there’s no one else like you. Embrace yourself because you deserve it. You deserve it like the opportunities you encounter, the friends you make, the family you love. Trials and tribulations may come, but you will survive, no, thrive because you embrace challenge. You challenge hardships. So like I said, there is nothing to fear. We’re all here to grow, to learn, to love. If you embrace anyone here, they will embrace you back, and invite you for another.

Cortina is a place to test yourself, but you will only get out of the community what you put in, which is why I say embrace it all.

X

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Vocation”

kristinletter

 

Dear Future Cortinian,

Welcome to the family! Your year will be full of ups, downs, and all sorts of experiences. A comforting fact is that you are a part of the Cortina family and support system. The key to making your college experience great is to have an open-mind and be flexible. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I’ve survived my freshman year and you will too! I came into college hoping to become successful, and I had my heart set on majoring in biology to become a doctor. Now I’m still pre-med, but I’m majoring in Theology, something I’m actually passionate about. Through service, I realized that success is not being the smartest or getting a high-paying job. Success is doing something you’re passionate about. Wherever I am led on this path of life, I will be flexible and keep an open-mind. Maybe I am meant to be a doctor, maybe I’m not. I will let myself be vulnerable and listen to my heart. My prayer is that you will do the same. Sometimes all you need is a little patience and a whole lot of faith. Best of luck!

Love,

Kristin

Letters to a Future Young Cortinian: “Growth”

erikaletter

Dear Future Young Cortinian,

To explain my experience in Cortina, I can use the Cortina symbol of a tree to represent what I have learned this year. I think one of the most important factors for experiencing growth is the need for strong roots, as the symbol reveals the tree’s roots to us. Cortina has given me a wonderfully positive community (or soil) to grow from. I have developed a strongly connected network of friends who appreciate who I am and deeply care for me. They make me feel safe and grounded. The trunk of the tree represents the growth I have been able to produce from this positive community. I feel that I have become more patient, more self-aware, and more vulnerable, just as a tree is vulnerable to its surroundings as it reaches out. The leaves of the tree represent how I have been able to reach out to other people, giving a part of myself to them. From serving others at my service site, to listen to other people’s stories, I have been able to share the nutrients I have gained just from being with others. While each part of the tree represents a stage in my Cortina experience, they are all necessary to creating a better community for myself and others.

Sincerely,

Erika Bowman