By Alma Hinojosa, Fellow Class of 2014
University of Colorado at Boulder
It was my junior year of high school when I had the honor to see one of my greatest role models. United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the very first Latina I connected with in my history books. Justice Sotomayor is a woman that has surpassed many hardships to get where she is now. She is my superhero. At the beginning of this school year, I once again had the opportunity to hear her speak in person. Judge Arguello made it possible for the Fellows to attend a small group meeting with her and attend her afternoon public lecture. I relived that incredible opportunity from my junior year of high school. Both of the times I have heard her speak, she has left me with encouragement and the strength to not give up. As a junior in college, I was no longer experiencing discouragement from my counselor about attending college, but rather the doubt in myself that I was not capable of passing the LSAT exam.
Her words of wisdom really spoke to me because I wanted to give up my dream of law school. In her lecture, she spoke directly to the people of color on how we are just as worthy and, through our determination, we will be able to achieve our goals and dreams. She stated that through her drive, perseverance, and the ability to just keep trying, she has been able to succeed. She continued by talking about how most people give up because they let fear conquer them. And although she often feels afraid, she just won't let it conquer her.
“Fear can be embarrassing. It can be painful. But it doesn’t kill you. The trick is recognizing that and saying to yourself, even if it hurts, I’m going to keep trying.”
As I wrap up my junior year of college, I replay her words in my head because the LSAT perpetration continues to be a barrier to me, just as it is for many like me. The challenge of learning English as my second language has made it very difficult to learn the exam techniques. It has made me feel like I am not prepared to take the exam in the summer. But as I remember her powerful message that day, I have realized that I was afraid to disappoint myself, my Mentors, and my parents by not getting the LSAT score I need to be able to attend my dream law school. I have learned to trust the process instead of letting fear conquer me. Maybe I will not be ready to take the exam this year but I know that if I keep trying and continue to work with the resources I have available to me, I will eventually be able to get there.