My First Semester in the Minerva Community

Alfonso (bottom left) at the Friendsgiving feast in San Francisco

Hello from San Francisco!

The semester is almost over, which is the perfect time to reflect in our growth during the last few months and to set new goals and plans for the challenges to come. Looking back, I must admit that adjusting to Minerva was not a piece of cake. New languages and country, different food, and challenging subjects were difficult, yet having an amazing community, who hugged me like lifelong friends, helped me through.

In fact, recently there were two major events that increased my love for this community. The first of them was the performance at the San Francisco Opera. It was an event organized by students for students where we spent the day composing and performing original pieces on our experience thus far. With Minerva’s selective admission process, and as I have seen in our seminars, I already knew that I was surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the world. However, my expectation was surpassed when I saw my classmates’ smiles during the outstanding fine arts performances. From poetic readings to theatrics, unique talents and dedicated skills were demonstrated — each one of them was beautiful in a unique way. But most of all, I felt like watching my brothers and sisters perform; they were my family.

The second moment was the Friendsgiving Feast. My first ever Thanksgiving-like celebration was adorned with a fresh salad, sweet apple pies, and about a hundred pounds of turkey. Music, dance performances, and letters of gratitude, all of which showed off the inestimable value of this community. It is said that by small and simple means, great things are brought to pass. And I couldn’t agree more because, once again, these people astonished my perspective of them. How else would I discover my neighbor is such a great guitarist or the girl at the library wants to become a masterchef? Just think about it! Isn’t it unbelievable that all these talents, and even more characteristics, highlight my talented classmates? In this moment of gratefulness, I felt blessed to be a part of this selective pool of individuals. I felt blessed to call it home, and blessed to call them my family.

In the few months I have been in San Francisco, Minerva has pushed me to do what I never imagined I would be able to accomplish, from developing Mexican cooking skills to creating solutions for the worldwide starvation. In addition, this institution has shown me how much I can improve even in my field of expertise. The courses are so demanding that even Einstein would fall behind without the adequate amount of effort. In the beginning, I was overconfident in math and science until my professors challenged me up to the point where my skills began to seem weak. This experience certainly made me grow. But, above all, the Minerva community has taught me that success or failure are not about being the best or the worst, rather unique. Uniqueness, that is exactly what home means to me, because here I found a family.

For me, family is one of the most valuable aspects of life and the place where families can safely share their feelings and support is called home. It is hard to think about home without acknowledging that I am merely the result of all the trust and sacrifices of my family in Mexico. I am grateful for their worries about my academic standing, emotions, and especially my health. But they must know that this community has vaccinated me against homesickness. My classmates’ love and unique enthusiasm make this place the home I now belong to. Because we are a community, a family, and a whole culture. We are Minervans.

Love,

Alfonso Santacruz

Class of 2022


This letter was written by Alfonso Santacruz to the family members of the Class of 2022. If you are interested in joining a community that will support you to follow your passions, consider applying to Minerva’s Class of 2023.