my second family
01.29.02 // 5:14 p.m.

I spent the weekend in the other LA, Lake Arrowhead. This one is more than 5,000 feet above sea level, colder, and has fresher air than the LA I’m used to. I go to the San Bernardino Mountains at least once a year. In high school, I’d go for church retreats, but now I go for retreats (MEChA or USAC).

This MEChA general body retreat was unlike other ones I’ve been to primarily because so few people went and those who did already knew a lot about the history and philosophy. The Mesa decided to change the agenda and we worked on assessing the summer and fall quarter to see how the organization was doing.

Most of the 13 people who went were either in their first or second year as Mechistas, and there were only four of us “crusties.” It’s weird how in such short time we became the leadership of this 30 year old organization. A few years ago, most of the leadership graduated forcing the younger students to step up and take on tasks that seemed a little too big for us. We then became the people who the younger students looked to for leadership and advice. It’s a little odd. Time really just flew by.

Just three years ago I began volunteering on Fridays as a tutor and mentor at Venice High School for College Bound (now Xinachtli), and attending MEChA meetings on Wednesday nights. I felt so overwhelmed those first few meetings. Some of the older members intimidated me, others just seemed like the personification of cool, and still others seemed to take themselves too seriously.

The following year, all those folks graduated and most left the LA area to attend graduate school somewhere else. The few who did stick around in the area, Ralph, Jo Anna and Henry were really valuable for the new leadership. I spent two years of my life on the mesa, in two different positions. As I got busier, I did better in school. My family began to understand why I couldn’t come home as often, and luckily they were very supportive of my MEChA activities.

In the past 3 years MEChA has become a second family. I really don’t know how I would have ever survived UCLA without it. In the summer before I entered UCLA I was introduced to the academic supports program run by MEChA called MEChA Calmécac. Thanks to my peer counselors, I learned to balance 10 different things, do it well, and still do well in my classes.

In my 4th year I’ve felt a bit disconnected from the organization. I guess it’s natural since I am no longer on the Mesa and was sort of sacrificed to student government. When I was initially elected I knew that one thing I didn’t want to do was forget that I was accountable to MEChA and the other orgs. I come from a firm grounding rooted in MEChA’s philosophy and history.

MEChA is what some students would call a “mother organization” since it gave birth to programs like Calmécac and Xinachtli. I feel like the child who was born, and then my tie to my mom – the umbilical cord – was cut off and I was left out on my own. I’ll survive though.


Comments: 0 comments [this feature no longer works]

Me siento:

Más reciente:
Searches - 09.16.05
the big move - 07.29.05
mother and daughter: a comparative analysis - 07.28.05
jardineros y domésticas - 07.27.05
tough question - 07.25.05

antes // después

star star star