Sí Se Puede and My First Semester in College

By Devon Johnson, Former Fellow

Just before my first semester of college really got under way, Law School Si Se Puede held a workshop on “Study Skills.” The skills that I gathered at this workshop would help me in all of my efforts over the course of the semester. During the workshop I got a chance to have a look into what kind of a person I am, and turns out I learn best through a mix of listening and doing, which would entail that I need to find a way to approach every task through a manner that appeals to one of these methods. One example from this semester was during English I found that listening to an audio recording of the assigned reading gave me a better grasp on the material, than reading alone would. The workshop also emphasized the pertinence of planning whether that be through a calendar or daily planner. Shortly after the workshop I went out and bought myself a planner and wrote everything in it, from work to assignments or even just time with friends. This enabled me to have a set place to collect my thoughts about what needed to be done. This aspect of planning ahead helped me to execute another part of the workshop - to always study way before the test. The planner held me accountable for the times I carved out for studying; therefore leading to better testing scores.

My semester honestly could not have gone better. I wanted to find some kind of extracurricular activity I could devote myself to and, after a bit of browsing, I found Student Government.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I applied to be a Justice.  At UCCS, the Student Government is comprised of 3 independent branches, each with its own respective powers.  You may recognize them, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary, which is the branch I am in. After I applied to be a justice my appointment went to a committee in the Senate called AAC, and my appointment was referred to the Senate for ratification. The Senate approved my appointment with only one abstention on September 12th, 2015. I was recruited to sit on the Rules and Organization Committee by the Committee Chair, due to my legal experience in Teen Court. The Committee is in charge of redesigning our governing documents at least every two years, and it is one of the most important committees a Justice can sit on. As the semester progressed I found myself getting more and more enveloped in the association, and I was encouraged by the President to run for the position of Chief Justice because the position would open when the current Chief graduate at the end of the semester. So, after a bit more pushing, I began my own campaign. The documents would require that I receive a majority consensus vote from my branch members to be elected. Unfortunately, I would inevitably lose by 2 votes. But, my campaign would not be futile, according to documents another election for Associate Chief Justice could occur with another majority consensus, and after a successful motion for that vote, I was elected the Associate Chief Justice unanimously. Currently I am working very diligently, in tandem with the Chief Justice, to fix the very dysfunctional branch.

Despite these positive experiences, my first semester of college would not be unmet with its own unique challenges and hurdles. In October, one of my roommates physically assaulted his girlfriend due to his own drunken belligerence. Another one of my roommates was selling drugs out of our dorm room leading to a police investigation that would last the duration of the semester. Yet, I managed to persevere through those lovely distractions, and was able to earn a 3.94 GPA. As the new semester begins I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds.