An Open Letter to Myself

August 26, 2017

New York, NY

Dear Toluwani,

In just ONE DAY you leave for the greatest adventure in your lifetime. You’ll walk into the airport, with just a carry-on suitcase and backpack in tow, with your mother by your side, print your ticket, cross through TSA and then, BOOM. You’ll be alone, with so much of the unknown ahead of you. The most important things for you to do are remain present and keep in mind your goals for the year.

You want to learn more about yourself. More specifically, you want to discover your CORE and your CREDO.

Your CORE is the part of you that does not change, and may never change. Whether in high school, in Ecuador, or in California, you’ll probably have the same sassy sense of humor and a quick understanding of people and what moves them. By the end of this year, you will have a better sense of your CORE. Your CREDO is what you believe. It is “the beliefs and aims that guide [your] actions” (Oxford Dictionary). You already know that a large part of your CREDO is that you can and will change the world. Your goal is to further refine and publicize your CREDO.

And while you’re making new friends, speaking a different language, soaking up the sun, and enhancin’ that melanin, remember these things also:

Take a one second video every day. This project will encourage you to capture the details and intimacies of Ecuador and share them with your world community.

Keep reading. You’ve probably spent a good half of your hard earned summer money on books, so don’t let it go to waste. You don’t know what you’ll be doing in the future – farming, teaching, or babysitting – but never succumb to the idea that you are too busy. You have time for whatever you make time for; make time for books.

Write, write, write. Write to your friends, family, and mentors. Write about your best and worst moments. Write down your philosophical musings and your reflections on the books you will read. Write lots of blog posts!

Lastly, Never “cease from exploration.” This quote by T. S. Eliot has been dear to your heart ever since it was introduced to you during your Odyssey at your semester school. Exploration means eating guinea pig, climbing mountains, learning to surf, and even haggling at a market. Exploration means staying in your stretch zone. The result of this exploration is to “arrive where [you] started and know the place for the first time.”

You will come back to the States, and back to New York, with a new outlook on global, domestic, and personal problems. You will come back to the States and know yourself for the first time.

As I write this, my heart is sitting in my stomach, and I can feel the vibrations of my heartbeat embracing every inch of my body. What you are doing is daring and I am very proud of you. Have a fantastic year, my love.

Forever yours (and forever you),



We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” — T. S. Eliot