My name is Ryan Mendez. I am from Durant, Oklahoma and am studying Finance.
As an introvert starting classes in a new city with no familiar faces, I knew that I needed to find a place that felt like home. Before I left Durant, my high school youth pastor recommended that I check out the Wesley House when I arrived at SMU for the fall semester. From the ice-cream social on the first Tuesday of the school year, I was hooked. Wesley House and the friends that I met there quickly became my second home.
My first semester at SMU was a rough one, and I’m sure that Andrew, Sarah, or anyone who was in our Freshly group remembers that. I started off on the pre-med track studying biology…that did not go well for me. School consumed me at all hours of the day and no matter how much I studied, I felt like I was only falling farther behind. Tuesday Bible Study and the Well on Wednesday were my solace. They provided me a few hours that I could put aside my struggles in the classroom and focus on the scripture, the worship, and the great people around me. The support that I found at Wesley allowed for an easier transition into college. And, as I’m sure you noticed, I am no longer a pre-med biology major.
I grew a lot spiritually and personally throughout my sophomore and junior years. During this time, I also became more extroverted than introverted, and I attribute a lot of that to my participation in the fall and spring Wesley retreats. During these retreats, we were able to take a deeper dive into the word and build relationships with those involved with Wesley that we might not have met otherwise. Some of my favorite memories from my time at SMU are swimming in weather below 45 degrees and singing around the campfire on spring retreat my sophomore year. My participation in Wesley opened another channel to know Christ by allowing me the opportunity to serve as a high school Bible study teacher at HPUMC.
Wesley has helped me build healthy spiritual habits like daily prayer and devotional time, things that I have struggled to stay consistent with in the past. These practices will benefit me and my future family, and I am thankful that participating in Wesley allowed me to cultivate them.
I have a few things on my to-do list after graduating from SMU. At the top of the list: getting married! After six years of dating, I am getting married to my high school sweetheart, Ally, this summer. Fun fact: I met two of my groomsmen through Wesley. Later in the summer, I will start my career as an analyst in a consulting firm. We are going to stay in Dallas and have recently adopted a puppy! My “how to Wesley” echoes what Brittany said in her post: be yourself. Wesley House is a place where people from all walks of life can gather to grow closer to God. Our days at school are numbered, and as we have seen recently, can disappear at a moment’s notice. Enjoy every moment and don’t worry about what everyone else on campus is doing.