BLOG | Edgar Chavarria
The Challenges of College
July 2, 2019
Nothing is made to be easy—that is the key lesson I’ve taken from college thus far. During my time, I have balanced surviving in a city like San Diego, going to a private university where I decided to double major, and fully engaging in student activities while trying to stay in touch with my family, mentors, and friends.
College challenges students with endless reading and constant exams—all of this while handling a million other responsibilities. I remember my first year brought fears of not fitting in, having obnoxious roommates, and homesickness. My second year was all about classes increasing in difficulty as well as deciding on a degree plan. During my third year, my goal has been not to starve without a meal plan and not start a kitchen fire in my dorm. Yet, the hardest thing has been finding more time to complete everything and getting the right support and motivation.
I found out this year that twenty-four hours is simply not enough time to do everything that I want or need to get done. With so many things on my to-do list, I hit a point where I could not accomplish everything. This affected my sleep and health. I realized that I was so busy that I no longer had a routine. I would get emails about meetings for work and other events on campus and I would simply adjust and go. Needless to say, I found myself in a situation that made it difficult to find direction and purpose. But even with this apprehension, it was not until I got a call this year from Judge Arguello and emails from my mentors that I realized that I was getting burnt out and was clearly overcommitted.
As I reflect on all these challenges, I realize that for first generation college students, getting through all of these challenges and continuing to law school is nearly impossible. I have seen it in my own life where so many aspects of college have made it very difficult to keep up with my goal of going to law school. Even when it came time to talk to advisors in my department, I would hear professors tell me that law school was not worthwhile, especially with my background. And, while I am aware that law school and the law school admission process is intensive, I know I can make it happen.
My mentors both in San Diego and Denver are some of the most helpful people I have who have supported me and continue to support me. Law School YES WE CAN makes it possible for someone to further their education after their undergraduate degree. Judge Arguello is a constant reminder that hard work, focus, and resilience are the key components to success. This past semester I made the decision to step back from many of my commitments on campus and, as a result of dedicating time to my mentors, I am about to begin an incredible opportunity as a legal intern through a partnership between Molson Coors and Law School YES WE CAN.
Nothing is made to be easy. But, would anyone be proud of who they are without truly challenging themselves? All the challenges I have faced were rigorous, yet here I stand committed to the challenge ahead and attending law school.
“So often in life, things that you regard to an impediment turn out to be great good fortune .”
-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Manifestation of an Anticipated Dream
June 7, 2019
In a blink of an eye, the summer had ended. For 18 years, I lived within the comfort of my home in Boulder. I won’t lie; my family didn’t have a big home, but there was no place like it. As I looked outside, I saw our car packed with all my belongings. Out of nowhere, I feel something scratching my leg and I hear a whimper. My little dog, DJ, is calling me over as if he knew something big was going on. I got up, looked around and left my room. As I went into the living room, my grandma, aunt and uncle all came and gave me a firm hug wishing me the best. These hugs brought so many emotions that it felt as if I was leaving my family forever. Tears came down my mom’s eyes and soon I could taste my own tears. Finally, my parents and siblings got in the car with me and I waved to my cousins.
I took a mental picture of my house and happy memories came into mind. I was scared. I could feel the intensity of my emotions run through my veins. I knew that our weeklong trip to LA would fly, and soon I would be living in some old college dorm room with two strangers. We drove through beautiful red mountains in Utah, dry deserts in Arizona and brightly lit buildings in Nevada until we finally arrived in Los Angeles where we spent a few days together. Every morning, we went to explore the city, and, in the afternoon, we went to the beach and enjoyed our time together.
Due to my parent’s legal status in the United States, my parents were planning on having my mom’s cousin, who lives in San Diego, drop me off due to the possibility of being detained and deported back to Mexico. It made me sad to think that my mom would never see the place where I would spend the next 4 years of my life or even my graduation ceremony in 4 years. On the last day, we were planning out my drive to San Diego and the next thing I know, my mom comes along despite the immigration checkpoint. I had driven out a day before and found that she could go to San Diego and back without a problem. Looking back at it, it was risky, and for that reason my dad stayed in Los Angeles.
That last act of courage set the tone for my transition. My mom is one of the bravest people I know, and she demonstrated that anything is possible despite any hurdles that might get in the way. When we finally said goodbye, I started to cry. Not only did I feel sad for being so far from home, I felt proud to have such a powerful mother. Then they got in the car, and I saw them drive away in opposite directions. In just a few seconds, I lost track of them in the ocean of cars that is the California freeway. Despite everything, I knew I would need help and support along my college career. My parents had never stepped into a college classroom until I began my college application process. For this reason, Judge Arguello and Law School YES WE CAN (SI SE PUEDE) has been the biggest resource in my college experience.
LSYWC has not only provided me with law school advice and future LSAT prep, their network of strong-minded attorneys expands beyond Colorado. My mentor, Kevin, lives about 30-40 minutes from campus, and he has come down to campus to have coffee and breakfast together. Kevin has introduced me to other people, but, most of all, he’s made me feel comfortable here in San Diego. He has so much experience and wisdom, and I feel honored to know such a hard-working individual. Back home, my other mentors have provided me with guidance and advice as I start my long college journey at the University of San Diego. Despite being 1,000 miles away, Maurie and Karthik have both met with me every time I’m back home. We always talk on the phone and just catch up on what’s going on. Maurie and I have even gone to see the Byers-Evans House in downtown Denver.
Judge Arguello is also there whenever I need her, and she’s such a strong woman and has a warm heart for other individuals who have the initiative to move forward. Having two strong women like my mom and judge Arguello has been one of the biggest blessings anyone could have. Their strength and willingness to work hard has set a standard that I hope to one day achieve. I am truly lucky to know such hard working and dedicated people within Law School YES WE CAN (SI SE PUEDE) and thanks to them, I know I will do well along my path. While it might be hard at the beginning, I know that this is just the beginning of my family’s dream, but with ganas, anything is possible.
“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)