1. Don’t waste time on magical wishes. You know the drill, rubbing your golden lamp for good grades, good food, good friends, and no embarrassing trips down the stairs of your freshman dorm. You’ll wish and wish and wish, but maybe tripping on the stairs is better than tripping over your first college kiss--because he won’t answer your wishes or even your text messages.
  2. I don’t need those wishes--I have all the wit in the world right here. From growing up in East Side San Jose, walking home from Quimby Oak Middle School, and learning how to college almost completely on my own, a magic genie has nothing on me.
  3. That being said… college will kick your butt all the way back to your public/private/boarding/what-have-you school. So WORK HARD. Shoulder your backpack with notebooks and pens, social anxieties and career aspirations--wake up for your 8am and do all the reading. It pays off.
  4. Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Palm Drive or McLaughlin-Walsh or the new art building. If you wait long enough for anything, something beautiful might just happen.
  5. While I try to be as nice as I can… some people just aren’t nice. Some people intend well, but they tend to their feelings more--they end up dropping prejudice about your race, your gender, your major--they tend to drop and shatter your optimistic worldview. So I keep my guard up.
  6. I am a woman and women are looked at a little bit differently… I am strong and confident and all of that jazz, but do not try to jazz me up. Just because I’m smiling--I love to smile, but it’s also a social expectation--just because I’m smiling does not mean I want your body pressed against mine, hold on sorry, my roommate’s calling me, she’s telling me to PRESS NO for do not mistake a woman’s “niceness” for her consent.
  7. Remember when I said to be patient? I meant in regards to your sophomore year crush --he’ll come around and around and around and around 8 months, he’ll hold your heart in his hands and you will have never felt safer.
  8. My major is not my end-all, be-all
  9. And neither is the color of my skin. Because as much as I am PRIVILEGED to be studying English, to communicate my thoughts clearly, and to be studying THEATRE, to create art with a purpose--Because as much as I am PROUD to be brown-skinned and brown-eyed, to be MEXICAN and FILIPINO in one body--I would hope that you pay attention to not what I look like, but what I do-- I hope you will not pay attention to what my degree will say but what say. And what I say is:
  10. Don’t give up. You DESERVE to be here. I believe in you and you and you and you and I made it this far for a reason and that reason is making our parents proud, making our grandmas proud, making our aunties proud, making way for our 11-year-old cousins so that they too can see what they are made of.

Published by Marissa Martinez