My second semester as a freshman at Butler has been a blast. One of the greatest experiences has been working with the students at Shortridge. On the first day on site, I was welcomed and greeted by the student body, and I felt at home again. As the weeks went by, I established several strong relationships with students and have opened up to them as they have opened up to me, whether it be through the poetry prompts that help us connect with similar struggles or through reading with them and sharing our innermost thoughts.

I just loved how everyone got along with each other and the work that we have produced together. I was very surprised to see how many gifted writers there were when we first began. I was also in awe when I realized how deep a lot of these students were. Some of these poems and stories described what love was through different perspectives and the scary monsters that we deal with every day. Some of my favorite writers in the class are known as the Indigo Children. Each member of the hip hop duo brings wonderful ideas and beats to our Open Mics. I was privileged to work with one of them, Isaiah, a while back, and we talked about how scary, yet amazing, windows are.

The bonds we have created at Shortridge are deep and long-lasting. Recently, I was talking with a student in Spanish about his life. He seemed to open up when I did this, and I began to appreciate my heritage more and more. He told me about his goals and his future as I encouraged him to pursue his dreams going to college in Europe. I am so glad that my classmates and I, as well as the students we serve, will be able to have cherish these memories and lessons for the rest of our lives.

Sam Atilano is a freshman English Creative Writing major.