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Full Circle…: Leezel Ramos

April 12, 2010

Being a NUFP fellow and blessed with the opportunity to attend the NASPA National Conference in Chicago I’m overwhelmed with excitement for my future, confidence to pursue it, and thankful for people who have guided me along the way. The theme of “living the legacy and being the movement” didn’t stop after the conference ended – two weeks after my return to Southern California my father called me with devastating news. My grandmother experienced complications after a surgery which left her on life support. In the following two weeks my entire family came together and made the decision to let my grandmother go. I initially didn’t have time to sit and write down my reflection about NASPA after processing it, but it hit me as I make sense of recent life events.

NASPA gave me the tools, knowledge and network to be successful, but my grandmother taught me the value of education and gave me a family that unconditionally supports me which keeps me going.

One of the learning outcomes for NUFP fellows is the ability to identify and develop personal, academic, and career goals – well, I’ve come to realize how much they work hand in hand and the necessity of each to achieve any goal. After my grandmother’s passing, it was the most beautiful sight to see extended relatives, former neighbors, and friends come to my hometown to celebrate the life of my grandmother. This illustrated how she built meaningful relationships in her life that span the nation and oversees. I felt the formation of just that at NASPA – met individuals that shared my passion and we created the foundation for long lasting friendships. It was instantly did I feel connected to peers who were determined to do the same thing as me – make a difference. These friends were kind enough to send me supportive and heartwarming messages when they heard the news about my family. It’s their thoughtfulness I am thankful for to have met them at NAPSA and I look forward to maintaining these relationships personally and professionally.

Academically, it was my grandmother and parents who instilled the value of higher education in me. With the inspiration of mentors, I found my way to student affairs. NASPA offered an array of educational sessions and roundtables. The ones I attended were mostly about spirituality in higher education because as a college student I’m in search of balancing a way of worship and the instinct to intellectualize. I think this is a common and an important issue that college students face. I listened to the challenges administrators faced who identified as very religious, spiritual, in search, and non believers in relation to their work with students who maybe on their own journey of answering those questions. As I continuously strive to do well in my undergraduate and soon graduate school career I’ll look to faith for strength, purpose, and source of passion in helping others.

After NUFP pre-con the opening video on the first official day of the conference was so powerful and moving it almost brought me to tears. Words highlighted like justice, advocacy, progress, diversity, and power of one are just a few that from history we learn to better serve students and shape the future. My grandmother lived through some of the most pivotal moments of recent history and had to fight for her rights as a woman of color, an immigrant to this country, and a person of faith to provide opportunity of her children and grandchildren. By keeping her stories of struggle, hardships, and triumph with me, it is like what the Romans said, “We… rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us” (Romans 5;3-5). I live the legacy of my grandmother and move to be part of a profession that is my true calling.

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