Soup and Schoolyards

July 17, 2023

Top, left: students cooking; bottom, left: students walking; right: selfie of students walking

Written by: Carmen Colón, Caminos al Futuro 2023

Sliced carrots flying across the room and fake British accents imitating Gordon Ramsey as we all rushed to cook up the best ramen was not what I had in mind when applying to this program. All thirteen of us were in the kitchen in the dormitories starring in our own makeshift Chopped game show battling for glory. My familia, as chaotic as the one back home!

Like the college experience, our morning started off with a change in schedule as we had class in the room where we had all been dancing to Bad Bunny and bachata at the silent disco a few nights before. The last class of the program with Dr. Vaquera incited intrigue as topics varying from immigration reforms to race in the schoolyard were discussed. The question of identity has been the center of our classes, and our entire lives. Caminos has let me uncover mine, for which I am so grateful.

The crew shifted campuses as we traveled on the Vex, headed for a CTN session, and went over our individual projects. The end of the week was barreling towards us, and reality hit us faster than the realization of our impending deadlines. Just kidding! We had plenty of time after an amazing lunch to head to our favorite study spot on campus at the Gelman library to work on our projects.

The music never stops whether we are in the library, at the pool to cool off from the humidity, or walking in between classes with a speaker. Soft Jazz infiltrated our senses as we all got into the zone and locked in. I have never been one to study with others, but this program has made me try new things. Of course, we switched it up and intermixed songs from the new Spiderman album to Romeo Santos… jazz can only last so long.

Arepas filled with platanos, arroz, habichuelas… and so much more met my water savoring mouth. The Pabellón, oh how that seemed to hold all the answers to my hunger as we all ate together at the Western Market for dinner.


That was what we all were. Always together and never alone. A home away from home where we all had differences but were as close as siblings. The people I have come to know—and now love—over the past few weeks have changed how I view myself and my community. The shared experiences each one of them brought have melted together in one big gumbo pot that I now call my Caminos familia.

Carmen Colón is a Caminos al Futuro 2023 scholar. Carmen’s views are her own and not necessarily reflective of the Cisneros Institute.