By Janelle Martinez, Fellow Class of 2016
University of Colorado at Boulder
My first year attending the University of Colorado Boulder was quite the learning experience for me. During my first two semesters of college, I had many ups and downs, but in the end, I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today, without any of these experiences. After withstanding so many obstacles and doing quite a bit of reflecting, I have a better grasp of who I am, and most importantly, who I want to become. After changing my major twice, I have decided to study Ethnic Studies with a minor in Communications, as well as Women and Gender Studies. I am proud to say that I am on a better, well organized path to success. Perhaps what I look forward to the most, is applying all of the lessons I have learned into the rest of my college career.
I had a very unconventional start to Law School...Yes We Can, my mentors and I did not join the program until later on, but now I can say, without a doubt, it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. What I appreciate most about this program is the ability to network with so many inspiring people, as well as the relationships that I have gained through my mentors. It’s nice to have a constant role model there at your side, supporting and guiding you. One of my favorite memories, so far, was when my mentor Katie took me to her place of work at The Colorado Supreme Court. Sho told me about her day to day tasks, introduced me to the rest of the clerks in each chamber, and gave me great advice on time management and organization. I also had the opportunity to receive a personal tour from her boss, Justice William Hood. He showed me around his chambers, he let me walk around “The Robing Room,” and eventually the actual court room. What I was surprised by the most, was how humble, generous, and down to Earth he seemed to be. After leaving the building that day, I knew without a doubt, that I needed to be in Katie’s position someday.
This past year has proven to be quite adventurous as well. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic as part of a writing program for first generation college students. Getting the opportunity to study abroad and learn about an entirely new culture was extremely fulfilling and exciting. I learned about the Mirabal Sisters and how they impacted Latinx culture as well as the feminist movement; I even got to see some their clothing and personal belongings! We toured the sugar cane fields, played baseball with the local kids, examined the first ever slave plantations, made jewelry with an inspiring group of women, and of course swam in the Caribbean! Although I was only there for a weak, it was one of the most emotional, impactful experiences of my life.
Overall, my journey is not over - I know that I have a lot to learn. I know what I need to improve on and most importantly I know where I want to be.