Conquering the Challenges of the First Year of College

By Ashley Fisher — Fellow, University of Colorado - Boulder

Being a Fellow in LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has been one of the best experiences of my life.  Over just a short amount of time, I have been able to build a strong support system with my mentors.  The relationship I have with them is more than just an “academic advisor/ academic support” relationship.  My mentors have become a support system in my personal life as well. They check to make sure I’m doing okay in my academic and personal life.

In my first year of college, I have gone through many challenges, from struggling with classes, to struggling with the social life on campus, to even personal struggles at home.  Nonetheless, I had my mentors’ support every step of the way.  I think the best advice they gave me was to focus on what’s going on in my life now, enjoy college, and worry about the future later. Yes, they still wanted me to keep my mind on the end goal, which was to attend law school, but they did not want me to overly stress about it.

My first semester was pretty challenging.  It was the first time I had been away from home, I was taking classes in large 500 seat auditoriums (which was extremely different from my high school classes with 20 students), and I was also working two jobs.  Taking classes in large auditoriums was very different for me, and as a result I struggled.  Of course my first reaction to struggling in class was, “I’m not going to get into law school with a grade like this on my transcript!”  My mentors laughed and said everything would be fine.  After talking to them, we made a plan of action with steps I needed to take in order to be successful in my class.  I needed to talk to TA’s, go to office hours, take more notes and, if all else failed, I needed to find a tutor.  Finding a tutor was the best decision I had made.  I was able to pass my final exam and class with the grade I’d wanted.

Enjoying college was also a huge concern for my mentors. They were a bit worried about me mostly spending time either studying or working.  I hardly ever had any free time.  “You’re growing up too fast Ash, make sure you enjoy your college experience and take full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.  Take classes you’re interested in, even if they have nothing to do with law.  You could even join a recreational sport, just do something!  You need to find a way to escape from work and school sometimes.”  I took this advice full heartedly, and now I try to make time for myself.  At least once a week I set aside a few hours for myself that does not involve homework or anything work related.  I am truly grateful for the wonderful mentors LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede has brought into my life, and I look forward to what the future holds for us all.