It’s hard to believe I’m writing this senior column for a few reasons. I was born and raised in San Antonio and went to an inner-city high school on the city’s west side.

Although I decided to go to college in my own home town, I experienced a major culture shock during my first year. I can remember times in the middle of the night when I would sit on our balcony on Miller second and call my dad in tears. My voice would quiver as I’d say, “Dad, I can’t do this. It’s too much. I don’t feel like I belong. I don’t feel like I’m on the same playing field as these kids when it comes to school. I want to go home. After this semester, I don’t want to come back.”

I look back on that time now and it seems like such a distant and faded memory. I’m writing about that because maybe there is a first year out there who, for whatever reason, will read this senior column and realize that it gets better. It does.

As some of us move on to new seasons in our lives, I hope and pray that we continue to represent Trinity well to the world around us. I hope that we don’t forget the beautiful privilege we have had to attend a school like this one. I hope the desire to learn never leaves us. May we continue to be a people of curiosity, compassion, grace and sympathy. I wish with all of my heart that we continue to be a people who work and strive for a better world for our children and grandchildren. I hope that we continue to be a people that value relationships, intimacy and connection over differences. Let us not be afraid to be open, vulnerable, raw and authentic if it means it will help another person realize that they’re not alone.

I hope that we’ll take the shirt off our backs for the cold man under the bridge. I pray that our hearts would break in agony at the sights and sounds of injustice and that we would rise up in righteous indignation and not sit back and turn a blind eye to some of the harsh realities of this world.

I pray that we would never be satisfied with just knowing someone, but that our hearts would ache when their hearts ache, that we would be joyful in the success and happiness of others, and that we would laugh deeply when other people laugh.

Above all, I pray that we would never lose our wonder; may we eternally be wide-eyed and mystified, never forgetting the beauty and the mystery in the people and the world around us.