MINERVA VOICES

My First Semester in the Minerva Community

by Alfonso Santacruz | Class of 2022

January 8, 2019

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

Quick Facts

Name
Country
Class
Major

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences

Cognitive Science and Economics & Political Science

Social Sciences & Business

Business & Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Computational Sciences & Social Sciences

Computer Science & Arts and Humanities

Business and Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Arts and Humanities

Business, Social Sciences

Business & Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

Data Science, Statistics

Computational Sciences

Business

Computational Sciences, Data Science

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Business, Natural Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Science

Social Sciences, Business

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Science

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Science, Statistic Natural Sciences

Business & Social Sciences

Computational Science, Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Business

Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Arts and Humanities

Computational Science

Minor

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Science & Business

Economics

Social Sciences

Concentration

Economics and Society

Cells and Organisms & Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Applied Problem Solving & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence & Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Designing Societies & New Ventures

Strategic Finance & Data Science and Statistics

Brand Management and Designing Societies

Data Science & Economics

Machine Learning

Cells, Organisms, Data Science, Statistics

Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science

Cells and Organisms, Mind and Emotion

Economics, Physics

Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance

Global Development Studies and Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Scalable Growth, Designing Societies

Business

Drug Discovery Research, Designing and Implementing Policies

Historical Forces, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology

Designing Solutions, Data Science and Statistics

Data Science and Statistic, Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science

Strategic Finance, Politics, Government, and Society

Data Analysis, Cognition

Brand Management

Data Science and Statistics & Economics

Cognitive Science & Economics

Data Science and Statistics and Contemporary Knowledge Discovery

Internship
Higia Technologies
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org
Business Analyst, Clean Energy Associates (CEA)

Conversation

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