A Profound Thing That Happened to Me on My Way to My TLU Diploma

January 23, 2013

by Laura Torres, winning submission of TLU Honors Program essay contest

I've lived in Seguin all of my life, so I’ve been able to see this community from different perspectives. As a child, I thought Seguin was a vast place that offered something new for me each day, but as I grew to be a teenager, I felt tucked into the fabric of a small town. While Seguin is tiny when compared to other cities like Houston or Austin, whenever I cross into the Seguin city limits, I immediately feel at home. 

The atmosphere of Seguin is one that I’ve had to search for when I'm in a larger city. Most of my high school classmates couldn't wait for the day when they could leave Seguin and could begin working towards their dreams of changing the world. Something that I've learned while at TLU is that an individual doesn't necessarily have to go far to make an impact. Even in my hometown I continue to learn more of its secrets each day. 

TLU has helped me become involved with organizations that let me interact with the Seguin community in ways I never considered. I've visited My Father's Farm with a group that leaves TLU every other Thursday when it’s still dark. We pick vegetables, pull weeds, and plant seeds in order to help the organization grow organic vegetables for people throughout the South Texas area. Whether rain or freezing temperatures, the student group will without fail wake up at the crack of dawn.

What amazed me about this was that the farm is located off a road that I traveled on daily to and from high school. I would ride the bus every day to the Outdoor Learning Center and would always stare outside the windows and see miles of thick forest. I assumed there was only more brush behind the trees and never would've guessed that an organic farm for the less fortunate was located there. 

At the farm, I've had the chance to interact with Mother Nature. Feeling the dirt within my fingers and smelling the fresh scent of grass is phenomenal. From over the same trees I would stare at as a high school senior, I can see the sun rise over the tree tops. Waking up so early is a hidden blessing, as it gives me the chance to see the luminous scene of the first rays of sunlight touching earth.  

Other groups have allowed me to discover other hidden treasures of Seguin. With my journalism class, I was given the chance to visit Marika Bordes' local art studio. Her home is a historic building that is down the street from Las Palmas restaurant. From wood, she creates works of art that have made her a renowned artist.  

When asked why she chose to live in Seguin, she said that she gains her inspiration from the strength and generosity of the people here, something which she reminds her of the atmosphere of her native country Haiti. As an artist Bordes has to listen to the message in the wood. This same type of sixth sense is what pulled her to Seguin, a place where she feels in flow with herself and her work. 

Seguin grants this feeling only to a select number of students. I've heard my classmates say they felt it when they visited TLU for the first time. When I ask why they chose TLU, they respond by saying that "It just felt right."

This message is hidden under superficial layers that push others way. With few large chain businesses and little entertainment venues, Seguin could easily provide many a ready excuse to leave and not appreciate our town. The usual tag I hear when someone mentions Seguin mostly indicates a limited vision that restrains their appreciation of this great town. Making excuses is an easier thing to do than actually doing something about it. "It's so boring. There is nothing to do there." There is plenty to do here! One would be amazed at the amount of new opportunities one misses in a day. By talking to the person ahead of them in the grocery line or by even going home a different way, an individual could gain a different understanding of their place in the world.

Learning provides a solid foundation for people to become familiar with the unfamiliar. By involving themselves with different types of groups and becoming involved in their own community, individuals can find the strength for actions that could change a community for the better. While helping in other cities, states, or nations is a great benefit, help will always be needed within the community we call home.  All we have to do is open our eyes to see past the trees and into the sunlight. 

For more information about the TLU Honors Program, visit www.tlu.edu/honors.

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