4 Hours

July 16, 2022

Top left: Capitol building; Bottom left: person looking at ceiling; Right: U.S. Senator Alex Padilla speaking with students

Written by: Itzel Ramirez, Caminos al Futuro 2022

I was worried sick that I had ruined my chances of getting into the Caminos al Futuro program when I turned my application in the day before it was due. Little did I know that I would be part of this amazing program, which has allowed me to meet Congressional staff, Representatives, Senators and more.

The day at the Capitol was an experience to say the least. On top of the humidity, we had to wear formal clothing, something I am still getting used to. As we entered the building, I was taken back by the grandeur. I had only ever seen the Capitol on television and, even though I was seeing it in front of me, I could not believe it. We took photos with Senator Alex Padilla from California and saw another Senator who took everyone for a surprise… BERNIE SANDERS! Despite our group being surprised, we were able to take a photo of him going into a building. We also talked with and asked questions to Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. Through everything, I had an amazing time that day.  

Side of the Senate building with Bernie Sanders walking
Photo captured by Caminos Scholars of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

All the new people and experiences are something that I will never forget. When I first got the email that I had just gotten into this program, I was nervous. I had never been so far away from home without my parents, but as soon as I got into my dorm room, I was greeted by two people who would soon become good friends. I have been here 12 days and the people here already feel like family. It is comfortable to talk to them about things that I would usually not be comfortable with. They are all extremely outspoken, something that I am not, so it was a breath of fresh air to say the least.

We still have a few days left, but it hurts that we are going to say goodbye to each other soon. This program is showing me what it feels to truly feel independent and has given me a glimpse of what college will be like, and I am genuinely so excited for what is to come.  

Itzel Ramirez is a Caminos al Futuro 2022 scholar. Itzel’s views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.