This reflection is one in an ongoing series highlighting notable Class of 2012 University of San Diego graduates. Daniel Hernandez’s decision to attend USD was the right one. Hernandez, majoring in Theology and Religious Studies and Spanish, took advantage of the opportunities presented him. Active in University Ministry, he went on immersion trips to Tijuana and East Los Angeles and was a student leader at Sunday evening masses at Founders Chapel. The College of Arts and Sciences’ valedictorian will serve as a teacher this year through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Brooklyn, N.Y.
I can only describe my four years at USD as a bounty of blessings. I made countless friendships that helped define who I am, I established relationships with professors that transformed the way I approach the world, I gained a wealth of knowledge that I hope to apply in the “real world,” and most importantly I carry the unforgettable memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The university offered me what Mother Rosalie Hill, our founder, envisioned in an education, “beauty, truth, and goodness,” and I am forever grateful. At USD I grew as a person in all aspects: intellectually, culturally, emotionally and spiritually. I learned of the rich diversity of the world in its beauty and complications, beauty through which I grow in love and understanding toward others, and complications that need to be overcome through the advocacy of social justice.
This fall I begin a one-year commitment with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a middle school teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a way of practicing what I have learned both in and out of the classroom while at USD. Following that, I hope to purse a master’s degree in theological studies and eventually apply for a doctoral program in the same field. My ultimate goal for the future is to teach and work as a campus minister.
To prospective, accepted and current students at USD, I offer you the same advice I gave to the Class of 2012 at graduation: “if you work really hard and you are kind, amazing things will happen.” Take advantage of all the resources available to you, engage your professors outside of the classroom, study abroad, go on immersion/service trips, volunteer, and do not be afraid to open your intellect and soul to the amazing people around you. These four years will fly so make the most of it!
— Daniel Hernandez
Photos by Nick Abadilla