In August 2015, my husband Franklin and I dropped off our firstborn, Rafael, at Johns Hopkins University. During their Freshman Orientation Weekend, the university took photos and video interviews of the parents and incoming students. The parents were directed to speak to our children as we answered the questions. (Franklin was in the financial aid office when the interviewers approached me and Rafa on campus.)
The university made a lovely audio college of the interviews. I cried when I listened to it. Rafa and I are featured prominently. Here’s the transcript of our impromptu answers. I was looking into Rafa’s eyes when I spoke these words. It was a tender moment.
RAFA: (0:33) I’m most excited about coming to Hopkins because it’s awesome . . . and it’s a great, great campus.
LILI: (0:55) My dreams and hopes for you are . . . and that you will find friends who truly love and care about you.
LILI: (2:50) [When you feel homesick] please do remember to call your little siblings. You’ve got 5 of them; so call them.
LILI: (3:25) [The most important lesson] that I learned as a young adult – wow! – was to trust my instincts. Always trust your instincts. So listen to the rate of your heart, the pace of your breathing. If your hands are sweating and tingling that means you’re not comfortable in that situation. So you either have to fight or flight – flee! So when you feel uncomfortable, listen to your body and react accordingly. OK. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.
LILI: (4:45) [When you feel stressed out] play your piano, your digital piano . . . I hope you go swimming. I just saw the swimming pool. There’s a great swimming pool here.
(Click on our photo below to hear the audio collage. It’s short. On a side note: I’m happy to report that Rafa aced all his midterms while also rigorously training with his JHU track team.)