For a while now, the National Forum on Higher Education has felt like a place I really fit in. Being a Latino myself, it’s nice to work with so many different individuals that are managing projects working to improve the conditions of the Latinx community and undocumented students in higher education. More than just the work they’re doing, however, the individuals that work in the National Forum have felt like a family for me this summer. Everyone strives to support each other and make sure that the work that we are putting forth is our best. People encourage colleagues to take breaks and take care of themselves. It’s comforting to be in a work environment where people care about each other as much as they care about the work that they are doing.
I think one of the aspects that I miss most about the New Leadership Academy (NLA) are the meals that we shared together. While the program’s fellows and coaches had their meals and talked with each other, the Forum staff also ate together. It felt like being part of a family to me–eating a meal with a group of people around a table, something that I don’t get to do a lot of the time living on my own in Ann Arbor. Although NLA was a week-long struggle of getting up early, going to bed late, and working more than 10 hours most days, I love the people that I worked with for it and am glad that I’ve found a work space like the National Forum.