BLOG | Nicole Millan
Identity is a Process
July 2, 2019
Living in such a fast paced society, we often forget to reflect. Consumed by all the deadlines and assignments, we discard the moments that are currently present to us and tend to live more in the future than the present. My senior year of high school resembled this imbalance. I can distinctly remember the anxiety I felt when I submitted my college application to the University of Denver. The countless hours spent editing and perfecting my personal statement was sent to be judged by board members who knew nothing about me. For months, it felt like I was writing essays and emails in sentences and structures that did not resemble me. What is often untold about the college application process is the confusion in self identity. Senior year proved difficult for me because I was expected to explain to others who I am, when I could not even explain it to myself.
I recognize that I over emphasized aspects of my life to create an image of uniqueness. Most of my time was spent building upon who I thought would appeal most to others instead of building upon who I actually was. Although it can be argued that this unidentifiable image of myself worked in my favor, as I was accepted into the University of Denver with a full ride, I felt lost in my surroundings. I had isolated myself further with each over exaggeration.
The passage of self identity has not been an easy one. I have had to disentangle the lies that I convinced myself were true. If I could redo my senior year in high school, I would not change my path, but rather my perspective. Identity formation is a topic that is not widely talked about, but is perhaps the most important. Senior year is a critical point in life where we transition from one stage of development to the next. I wish I had known that it is okay not to know who I am. It is also acceptable to unapologetically be who I am, without trying to impress a board of directors that can not place a value on me. I have learned to form my identity as I go. With the help of programs like Law School Yes We Can, I have found communities that allow me to explore countless opportunities for growth and knowledge.
Empowering Communities can Empower Individuals
July 2, 2019
When I first told my teacher that I wanted to be a lawyer, she implicated that people “like me” are not intended to be in positions of power. She did not mean it in an offensive way, she simply did not want me to get my hopes up when systematically, I was not meant to succeed. I was told that my success could only extend to community college. When I was accepted to the University of Denver, I was met with comments such as, “That’s a very expensive school. Will you feel comfortable? College is a lot harder than high school” With a current GPA of 3.97, I have proven not only to myself but to those who doubted me that I am capable of attending a top four year university and thriving as a minority student on campus. I know I am not the only student who has been discouraged by the stereotypes surrounding their ethnicity, gender, religion, and even sexual preference. My past has exposed me to the unjust treatment and indifference towards my education due to my identity. I continue to strive each day, paving a way for every student like me. I aspire to lead by example.
There are certain systemic oppressions that disallow minorities to fully obtain the resources, social skills, and networking opportunities that other students have access to. Law School Yes We Can has helped close the gap that disables minority students from reaching their true potential. Through LSAT preps, mentoring sessions, and workshops, students like me have been given guidance that would otherwise never have existed.
I am truly grateful for my mentors and those who give their all to the program. It is with such guidance and leadership that I am able to expand my horizons while also staying connected to my roots. Law School Yes We Can has taught me the importance of contributing commitment, passion, authenticity, and joy to everything I do. By selflessly committing to the program, I found happiness in navigating the terrors of the law school application process alongside my fellows. Law School Yes We Can has shown unconditional love, dedication to their fellows, community, and a sociable environment that has made me a stronger individual.
“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)