BLOG | Brittany Solomon
Journey through College
July 2, 2019
College, while rewarding, has not been an easy journey for me for several reasons. I began college as an International Studies major with a concentration in Asia, through which I studied Chinese; I have since changed my concentration to Europe, where I now study French. I went from having a job that I only worked at during my vacations to having three jobs: one for vacations, one for weekdays primarily, and one for weekends and occasionally weekdays. I learned what it means to be spread so thin that even finding a moment of free time can be difficult. Along the way I learned exactly why I want to finish and earn a college degree. College has taught me that I can handle almost anything, but even I have my limits.
When I first began college, I was doing really well, with the exception of my Chinese, but as the school year progressed, I found it increasingly more difficult to find a balance between my social life and school. At the start of my freshman year I was doing well with balancing homework, my social life, and attending classes. I even visited my Chinese professor’s office hours regularly, spending hours with her ensuring I understood the material. First semester was an adjustment for me, but overall successful, when second semester hit, everything changed. It was not immediate, but my social life began impacting my school life, then I ended up on crutches for a few weeks and found myself trying to maneuver getting to all my classes on crutches. Overall, I believe I let my social life impact my school life more than I should have and I lost sight of what was really important, the entire reason I was in Fort Collins, my education. Once I realized I had lost sight of why I was at Colorado State, I started spending more time focused on my studies. I dedicated more time to my assignments and ensured all of my assignments were completed prior to doing extracurricular activities. Additionally, I started spending time with more supportive people who were willing to study with me and help to better me.
Sophomore year, I began struggling with school primarily because I had a desire not to disappoint anyone, specifically my family. Around this time, I was still studying Chinese and struggling more than ever before. I was no longer enjoying school and I found myself constantly stressed, especially with my time being diminished due to work. I realized life would only become more stressful moving forward, so I decided to call my dad, who I often go to when I am stressed, and in need of help or advice. I explained my growing frustration with a concentration for my degree that I had no interest in and how difficult it ad been for me, primarily because I was not able to truly connect with the courses I was taking and the topics being discussed. He told me I should stop trying to please him and do what I wanted. He asked me what would make me happy, and I knew I would be happier if I switched to a European concentration and changed my foreign language to French. Realizing that I had the support of my family to choose any path that I felt was the right fit for my future, led to my success the remainder of my sophomore year and got me through a lot of struggle my junior year.
I am currently in my final semester at Colorado State University and I have never felt as much stress during my time at CSU as I am experiencing now. Part of that stress stemmed from the idea that I needed to go straight to law school. I have learned, however, that I do not need to take this next step immediately if I am not ready. Therefore, I have decided to take a gap year between my undergraduate and law school.
The stress of my senior year began last May when I made a commitment to myself that I would graduate from college on time in May 2019, but in order to do so, I had to take three summer courses, while working full time to pay off my previous semester. Thanks to Law School…Si Se Puede, I was able to work part time towards the end of the summer while I was preparing to take the LSAT. Throughout the summer, as I have been during most of my college experience, I found myself stressed most of the time. I had to find time during family vacations to complete my assignments, often leaving events to get home early. I missed out on a lot of experiences that I will never get back, but I learned that it is worth the sacrifice now if I do not have to sacrifice my livelihood in the future.
Immediately after completing my online summer courses, I began my LSAT prep course, which was even more time consuming. During that time, I worked part time at my summer job and would go into work early and leave in the middle of the day to return home for my online class, afterwards I would have to return to work. I started to feel the stress once more as I tried to find the time to finish a hundred pages of studying before the next class session. It was not a difficult balance in the beginning; however, it became increasingly difficult when I returned to school in the fall. My class schedule coincided with my online class session and I had to speak to my teacher about missing a few classes during the first couple weeks, in order to attend my online course. Thankfully I had a very supportive and understanding professor who excused me from a few classes and excused me from both classes the week of my LSAT exam so that I had additional time to prepare before taking it.
After this I returned to normal life again, working and attending classes, but once I realized I needed to find another job if I wanted to stay at Colorado State, I immediately began my search. That is when I found my third job and felt my days begin to blend together. It was not until Winter Break that I finally thought that I might see some relief from my busy life, but it did not come. Over the break I was still concerned with my inability to pay for the prior semester’s tuition. As such, I spent my weekdays back home with my parents working at my job that is for vacations and every weekend I drove or took the bus up to Fort Collins in order to work at my other job. The break flew by for me and before I knew it school was starting again.
With all the stress I have faced this year and my desire to put my best foot forward when preparing for law school, I concluded that I need to take a gap year. I want to be fully prepared and in the right mindset to go to law school. I learned that it is acceptable to not be ready, if this means that I will have a better chance at success when I finally do make it to law school, then I am all for it.
LSSSP Benefits Me
June 7, 2019
This semester I took an eight-week course specifically designed for students with a Liberal Arts major, called Concepts/Critical Thinking in Liberal Arts. I took this class hoping to gain some knowledge about helpful resources that are available for me on campus. It did not occur to me that, as a member of LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede, I already had access to some of these resources.
Throughout the course, we had many discussions about the misperception that people with a liberal arts degree have difficulty obtaining a job. We learned about the career center that is on campus and discussed ways to seek help from this center in order to improve your resume and interview capabilities, and search for jobs or internships that are applicable to your future career path. The part of this class that truly caught my attention was in relation to the conversation about internships, specifically ones that are relative to a person’s major or future career path.
At this point, I realized that I am already a part of a program that has a variety of the valuable components discussed in my course. LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede, gives me the opportunity to attend workshops that have helped me determine the best way that I can study and the opportunity to understand myself on a deeper level. Equally important, I have three mentors who are extremely understanding and willing to help me in any way that they can. LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede gives me tons of connections to future lawyers as well, some of which mentor the other LSSSP Fellows. The board members are all important connections as well, specifically because they are all members of the law community and have proven time after time that they are here to help all of the LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede Fellows. This course helped me realize how vital networking can be for my future.
Because of the exposure programming and opportunities that LSSSP has provided to me, I have developed a network of contacts that exceeds that of my fellow classmates at DU. When I originally became a LSSSP Fellow, I understood that this was a major opportunity for my future; however, I never truly thought about how many connections I would gain from this program. I now have a network from which I can seek a variety of potential internships and tap into the knowledge of current lawyers who share a similar career passion. Being a part of LAW SCHOOL...Sí Se Puede has given me an improved perspective and I am thankful to be a part of this program.
Once in a Lifetime Opportunity
June 17, 2016
My aspiration to help disadvantaged people living in unsupportive systems has increased my desire to become an international lawyer and, eventually, to work for the United Nations. Currently I am preparing for my degree in international studies with a concentration in Asian studies, which allows me to study Mandarin Chinese.
I first heard about LAW SCHOOL … Sí Se Puede when I attended the 2015 Denver Law Pipeline Conference, at the University of Denver. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the conference, but I knew if I was interested in becoming a lawyer this event would be relevant. As the day progressed, I heard various lawyers speak, but listening to Roberto Ramirez tell his story really resonated with me. I stayed engaged the entire time, which proved to be beneficial because at the very end, he talked about a program for future lawyers that would be accepting a new class of Fellows for 2015. I immediately scrawled “Law School Si Se Puede-Apply Online” onto my notepad and I began filling out the application as soon as I left the room. I knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I could not miss out on.
That proved to be true because I had the ability to progress to the interview process. I arrived and was waiting to be called for the next interview when none other than Roberto Ramirez came to get me. This had to be a sign. The first thing that LAW SCHOOL … Si Se Puede gave to me was experience. I had never been interviewed before, so being that this was my first interview ever, I hoped I did well. I walked out of the interview knowing that I gave my best and being thankful that my interviewers were kind and understanding.
Being a LAW SCHOOL … Si Se Puede Fellow has proven to be extremely beneficial for me, by ensuring that I am aware about what my goals entail and making sure that I don’t make major mistakes that could potentially prevent me from reaching my goals. I really benefitted from having people to talk to about my struggles during my first year of college, whether it was other fellows or my mentors. I was able to ask my mentors for advice about what to do in some of my classes, with my roommate problems, and any other issues I encountered. I have been able to get help during every part of my journey so far. It is an asset to have people who care about what I am experiencing, and who want to make sure that I am doing my best and that I gethelp when I need it. LAW SCHOOL … Si Se Puede sets the foundationwhich will launch me to success.
“Sí, Se Puede” is a phrase born of farmworkers, who, under the leadership of the UFW, César Chávez, and Dolores Huerta, fought valiantly for equal protection under the law. As a result of the efforts of the UFW, “Sí, Se Puede” has become well known as a call that engenders hope and inspiration in those who face similar battles. We thank the UFW, whom we acknowledge to be the sole and exclusive owner of the Trademark SI SE PUEDE, for granting us a limited license to use“Sí, Se Puede” in connection with our efforts to recruit, in Colorado, students of Hispanic or Latino descent for our law school pipeline program. For more information about the programs offered by the UFW, please see UFW’s webpage (www.ufw.org); UFW Foundation’s webpage (www.ufwfoundation.org); and UFWF’s immigration services webpage (www.sisepuede.org)