By Anna Synakh || Managing Editor
Every year Franklin and Marshall College welcomes dozens of students full of passion, hope, and motivation. Each and every one of them with dreams of becoming something great, step on this campus looking for ways they can make themselves known. Miguel Graupera is one of those energetic students, full of excitement and positivity, ready to take on every opportunity that comes his way.
Challenge and adaptability are no strangers to Miguel, who was born in Cuba, and raised in Germany up until the age of 9, and then in Florida. He picked F&M exactly for that reason. “F&M picked me in a way,” says Miguel as he is a Posse student, “But, no, really I picked F&M because I really like the academic challenge. It might make me sound crazy, but I do.” Other than the academics, what really attracted Miguel was the campus, which really resonated with his “old soul,” a feeling many of us had felt that visiting students day years ago.
When asked about what he wants to get involved in on-campus, Miguel’s eyes fire up with excitement. “I want to try the rowing team, run for student government, join Mi Gente Latina and SAGA and do Mock Trial if I have the time.” Sitting there with jealousy for his liveliness, I was amazed by the unbeatable eagerness for experiences Miguel had, despite the chaotic state of the world. We have all been brought down more than ever before over the course of COVID, yet here I was talking with a student who barely had a senior year of high school, not beat down even a little bit, but rather motivated by it.
The student government campaign is what really rallies him up. “Vote for Miguel so you can Excel,” or “A vote for Miguel is a vote for yourself,” are two of his possible slogans for the campaign. Miguel says that he’s always been interested in student government, but in high school, it always felt like a popularity contest. Here it seems different, so he thinks it’s worth a shot. Miguel says he likes a lot about F&M, even the food apparently appeals to him (he applauded DHall for being “healthy”), but there are things he wants to fix. One of the issues that stand out is the lack of accessibility to buildings for disabled students, something the college hasn’t thought out.
While Miguel is very much enjoying the start to his freshman year, he is already feeling a little overwhelmed. But, he says he’s very grateful for the support system that F&M provides its students with, and feels quite happy here, which radiates through his bright smile which never seems to leave his face.
Miguel’s desire to get his feet wet, be it through involvement on campus, doing research related to the F&M barometer, or volunteering off-campus, was really the theme of our conversation. No matter what topic we touched on, he saw an opportunity for him to grow. As a senior, I got disappointed in myself, because I forgot how passionate I was when I came to F&M, and the interview with Miguel helped me reignite that excitement for learning and experiencing life at our school, and for that, I am very grateful.
At the end of our interview Miguel posed a very important question to me, and the rest of the senior class: “What would be one piece of advice you wish someone told you your freshman year?” At the time I couldn’t think of anything, but now I am realizing that the most important advice would be to not forget yourself and your passions. Don’t lose yourself in the school work, or the positions you start taking on. Enjoy life, soak up knowledge that F&M provides, and continue to try new things. Basically, be more like Miguel.
Senior Anna Synakh is the managing editor. Her email is email@example.com.