By: Lucia Ramirez, Daniels College of Business, Puksta Scholars Program
From the moment you get on the bus to Estes Park with your Puksta family, picking up scholars along the way, you realize how beautiful this family truly is. You pick up on conversations about school, social justice, and life in general. If there is anything that I have always cherished about the Puksta Scholars Foundation, it is that we are given a space where we know we are scholars, but we are encouraged to be people first. When you meet a Puksta scholar, the first thing you learn about them is something on a personal level, beyond “What is your name?” or “What is your Puksta Project focusing on?”
The 2020 Winter Puksta Retreat shows this on a grand scale. We are not given a hectic, busy, or long-day schedule throughout our 2-day weekend together. Instead, we have yoga and meditation at 7:30 or 8:00 AM, breakfast starts at 9:00 AM, and if everything goes as planned, we start our day at 10:00 AM. This year we were privileged to have Luis Paredes, a Puksta alumni that developed a self-sustainable scholarship fund for DACA students, join us in a conversation on self-love, maintenance, and health. Luis Paredes shared that “You lose the worth of getting there”, “there” being your academic, job, any other type of goal, “if you have to sacrifice everything you enjoy, want, or love, to get there.” Luis’ genuine character and understanding, even now as he works as a Certified Public Accountant, inspired everyone to be just as genuine. During this activity I learned that the struggles I face as a student—such as time management, self-confidence in academic spaces and self-preservation during busy school times—are struggles that others like me face and we are all still human, just trying to sort out the whole puzzle.
It is at every Puksta retreat, just like the 2020 Winter Puksta Retreat in Estes Park, that makes me feel fortunate to share with, learn from, and grow with this Puksta family.