Bombarded by brain-stretching midterms and mountainous piles of homework, many Cal Poly students now in their third week of school have all but forgotten the unfortunate event that claimed the life of would-be freshman Enrique Jimenez during orientation week. Freshman English professor Carson Medley asked his students to explain their first college experiences in letters to Enrique.

“I felt that having students write a letter to Enrique to share with him what he would have experienced in his first week would help them realize that life is a precious thing,” Medley said. “I hoped it would help them realize just how lucky they are to be here in San Luis Obispo and going to Cal Poly.”

Before Jimenez was swept off a rock by a powerful swell of water in Monta¤a de Oro, one of the many courses he was enrolled in was Medley’s ENGL 134, writing: exposition class.

Medley, now in his second year teaching at Cal Poly, explained that his first assignment was to have students write an obituary about themselves, a difficult task he feels will help broaden their perspectives as well as aide intheir pursuit of self-identity while writing.

Below are letters from the ENGL 134 class:

Dear Enrique,
In a place where reality is not our strong point, we as students need you to remember that we are here to find our purpose. There is more to life than school or partying or even friends. We must live every day as if it might be our last…
I am sorry you will miss the bonfires, the dance parties, the pool games and even the late night study sessions … You were too young to die, but we thank you for the message you sent those of us who are lucky enough to spend more time here on Earth.
– Stephanie Lufer
psychology freshman

Dear Enrique,
You have traveled with each and every one of your peers. You felt my pride as I made the winning shot in my first game of “Beirut.” You sat next to me in my first college lecture. You saw my struggle as I tried to register for my English class. You inspired me to take full advantage of every gift life has to offer…

I feel your desperation to speak to your family just one last time. You will walk with me, you will sit with me, and you will keep my secrets, you will never judge. Your words will emerge from the silence after a whisper. … Such a friendship could not exist without the given circumstances, and while these circumstances might be grave, they bring a comforting amity that I wouldn’t otherwise understand.

Thank you for everything.
– Taylor Humphrey
City and regional planning freshman

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