Tag Archives: advice

Towards a New Beginning

Hello everyone,

It’s Gen here! Hope you are all doing well in the blogosphere. I decided to write a blog post about my experiences as an undergrad and graduation. Given that my words are not always clear, I wanted to see if I could describe the feeling I felt not so long ago.

Some of you may know that I graduated 2 weeks ago and some may not. I now understand when people say that “time flies” because these past 4 years flew in lightning speed. I can say that I took advantage of all the opportunities with my university and what I so proudly call my home. I was able to have 4 jobs, studied in D.C., had an internship at Justice, and was a chancellor honors student for 4 years! Through this course of my undergraduate career, I met people that have changed my life in the best way possible. I thought coming from high school I was knowledgeable and mature, but coming to college was a different story…

Background

I am a first-generation, Mexican-American, and a bilingual student. I am the first one in my family to graduate from a university. As the oldest of 10, there is a sense of responsibility and determination because my hard work is reflected among my whole family. My values have always been family and my faith. In college, I was truly tested by external pressures, but I never once did anything I regretted or was unsure of. I left home feeling excited, but some of the days I called my mother crying asking “if it will be better?” She would respond va haber sacrificios que tendrás que tomar. Estás aquí por una razón. Sigue adelante. To translate she said in life there will be sacrifices and you are here for a reason. Keep moving forward. Those words have stayed with me for the past 4 years to keep moving forward even through the challenges that life gives you. Normally, I am quite extroverted and take the initiative to start a conversation with the potential stranger, but I didn’t that very first semester. Here comes the sob story during my first-semester I attended classes and would head straight to my residence hall. I would eat in my room and would hardly socialize. My time consisted sleep, studying, reading for classes, and eating. I knew many felt the way I had been feeling and after my 2nd semester I was determined to be involved. I was going through stage of culture shock and I finally realized that being isolated wasn’t helping me grow or feel connected to my school.

Loss

No one ever prepares you for the unforeseen circumstances such as loss. I lost one of my close friends. He and I connected with some hall-mates in the residence halls in my first year. My roommate and I had an open door policy where we would leave the door open and people could come into our room and hang out. Most of the students back in 2013 did that; I have no idea if they still do it today. He knocked on the door and just introduced himself. He had a tendency to have his shirt off and my friend and I had commented about it.  All 3 of us started a conversation in the hallway another friend we had meet in the dorms also joined in. An hour passed, and we were still talking by the doorway the two gentleman had not come into our room until my roommate invited them in. That night we stayed up talking until 4 a.m. Even though it was 4 years ago, I still remember a lot of that night. We then made it a tradition on Fridays to have game night in one of the lounges. He taught me a lesson that I still have trouble following “to not take life too seriously and to smile more often.” I guess he noticed my stressed nights, bags under my eyes, and hesitating whether I should study more or grab a bite to eat with the group. Most of the invitations were yes because I wanted friends who accepted me the way I was all sheltered and naive and thats what they did. Accepted me for who I am and not trying to change who I was becoming.

These people came into my life when I needed them the most. I came to college to gain an education and to become a well-rounded person, but what I gained went far beyond my expectations. In November 2014, we lost HIM I remember that day vividly well. I don’t really like to talk about it because I want to remember him as that happy, goofy, game loving amigo. I know he touched a lot of people in the year and a half he was there. The grief was cyclical and it came with stages. I felt selfish trying to concentrate on my studies and knowing that he would never be able to study for a midterm, hug his mom, or marry his fiancé ever again. I fell in a state of not caring and it became harder for me to study or read for classes. I was thinking of taking a break, but I knew that Evan would not have wanted that. Yes, his name was Evan. He was a dreamer talked about becoming a veterinarian, marrying his girlfriend, and having children. He loved children and had a younger brother; he was not only pursuing education for his future, but also to help his little brother.

Those late night talks we all had were silly, but also deep and meaningful. We got to know each other as friends and I finally had a little family to call my own in a place that I had seen foreign my first semester.

I decided to continue my undergraduate journey this was not only for me, but also for my friend because he would never be able to cross the stage and even though it brings chills to this day I was able to move on with time. He will always remain in my heart and somehow I felt that he gave us something. To me– SPIRIT. A spirit to seize the day and be grateful of every encompassing moment. I only wish that we had taken pictures because he wasn’t one that liked that at all.

I wish I could write everything that I experienced these past 4 years, but a 3 page blog post would turn into a full book. I am published, so who knows I might dabble in writing something in the future :).

Lessons

I learned so much about myself like I have said in the beginning of the blog post. I think some advice that I would give past me would be to enjoy every moment even if its studying or taking that difficult game theory class. Enjoy every moment because our future is uncertain. Step out of your comfort zone because that is how you grow by making mistakes and learning from those failures. Be willing to be okay with being uncomfortable certain situations may not always be sparkly and that’s okay. Maintain a positive outlook and try to be open minded. The most difficult advice to follow has been to accept failure. A wise person once told me that we fail a lot more than we succeed. What I interpret from this is our failures shape who we become and allows us to grow strong if we are willing to climb that rock, wall, or tree. Know your values and who you are. This could be difficult because college at times challenges this notion, but at the end of the day remind yourself WHY you are here and the goals you want to accomplish.

I planned my future, but unexpected things have occurred and know I am in the process of self-discovery. Even though I am creating my own path I am leaving a trail so I do not get lost. I hope I ignite that passion and to keep my spirit high even with the upcoming challenges I will inevitably face.

Graduation 

The feeling was like nothing I ever experienced or truly imagined. I still couldn’t fathom that I was going to be a soon to be graduate. Everyone was asking me in the past week “how I was feeling?” My answer “nothing.” In reality, I was pleading that time would just stop and wishing for a teleport machine, so that I could look back at the moments that have meant so much to me.  Graduation meant more to me because I was finally going to be able to graduate from the same school all 4 years. This was something I was unable to do in high school. Merced had become home, a safe haven– my overall stability.

As I was putting my cap and gown, it became very real that I would never be an undergraduate student again. Each stole symbolized what I ended up contributing to  my school. As I was zipping my gown, all I could recollect were the memories that my university symbolized. My cap was not decorated it was an empty canvas filled with possibility sort of a parallel to the mindset I had as a first-year.  That morning I woke up with a smile and my heart began to race. My close friends who have become sisters and who I feel blessed to have met we all got ready together. We wore cake faced makeup and did our hair which most of the time is unbrushed and messy. I remember eating 2 donuts because I was not willing to be in a 3 hour ceremony with only water in my stomach. I do-nut wanted that to happen. That morning I didn’t know what to expect. All I saw was a sea of blue in every corner. Every student that I saw sported a different facial expression and I was curious to know what they were thinking.

We started walking with my class I couldn’t help, but smile and look forward. I was ascending to adulthood not the real world because I believe that the real world is college. I sat next to my best friends and we could not be happier. We were all feeling different emotions and we tried our best to understand each other. As my name was being called, I heard cheers and applause I couldn’t help, but just put my hands up and smile. On stage, everything sort of stood still as if someone paused this moment for me to recollect every movement and instant in the future. I am a public person and I shared everything through Instagram and Snapchat the power of technology is pretty mind boggling.

This has been an amazing experience and I feel grateful to have gone through this journey that many aren’t able to pursue because they reach the top of a ceiling. I hope to give back to all those young people who may not have the resources to pursue what they desperately want. Even though, I have finished my undergrad learning never stops. I feel confident in the woman I have become and will live my life the way I want to live it.

To all the people who are graduating it’s okay to not know where you are going. Everything happens for a reason. Watch USC’s Commencement Speech with Will Ferrell if I have not convinced you.

Thank you for reading!

Signing off,

Genesis


Quote of the Day

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but rising up every time we fail.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Quote of the Day

“We are the ones that limit ourselves we believe in CAN’T and stay where we feel comfortable. Instead, look at life and see that nothing has limits and that you CAN”

~Gen


Quote of the Day

You can’t control how people treat you, but you can control how you treat them


Quote of the Day:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”~Mark Twain


A Little Glance at Law School Admissions: What You Need to Know

I felt so inspired going to a law conference today that I decided to write a blog entry on my experience. The conference allowed my intellectual ability flourish in analyzing briefs, knowing how to write well, and what admissions are looking for in a potential law student. I felt enthused to learn about all the opportunities that I can have during my undergrad experience. Working in any type of job whether it is legal or not, it proves beneficial because one learns how to speak with a variety of different people. As a lawyer, speaking and communicating with a spectrum of different people and backgrounds is a criteria that you will need in law school. In attending a university I have been more challenged and open with the many different cultures and beliefs that I have been exposed to. A large part of students think that in order to go to law school you need to major in a specific major or by majoring in the popular major of most law students it proves to be beneficial. That is farther from the truth actually you can major in whatever type of major from biology to psychology, and you can still be able to attend law school.

I would recommend students who are interested in pursuing law to find out what the purpose is for you. Why do you want to pursue the legal field. Most of time students are unclear of why they want to become lawyers which makes it more difficult in the application process. So many think that they are not capable based on financial reasons or intelligence. I want to encourage you that it is possible. You are probably reading this and thinking why should I even listen to an undergrad who isn’t even in law school and still has 2 years left? I want to say this if you know what you want to do YOU and only you will make it happen. People will constantly be negative over issues, but it is really how you present and handle the situation that makes a difference. I’m spreading the knowledge I learned in this conference to all of you so that you can be informed, and ready to take on that net step in pursuing law.

I am quite an ambitious person when it comes to my academics and professional career. I don’t want to take a break after I graduate. I feel that I can tackle law school right when I graduate my university. Yes, it will be challenge, but anything can be a challenge if you really think about it. It is important that you start building a reputation for yourself. People have so many different perspectives on the idea of law school and I encourage you, that instead of listening to others listen to yourself.

Here is a little overview of what you need for your law school application.
What you need for law school applications:

Letters of recommendation: law schools want you to have 2-3. One of the letters should be from a professor who knows you on a personal level. I stress personal level because getting a letter of recommendation from a congress member who doesn’t know you that doesn’t give admissions a very good idea about you. You may also have a supervisor write your letter, but include why they think you are fit to be in law school. This is the portion of the application in where admissions will see who you are. You may want to attach your personal statement and resume to give those who are writing a recommendation a little more information about you.

GPA grades are important in law school. Excelling in classes during your undergrad demonstrates a level of focus that law school admissions want to see. They also want the applicant to challenge themselves by taking challenging classes like mathematics, philosophy, or writing intensive classes.

LSAT- The LSAT stands for the Law School Admission Test. This is a standardized test that students take it doesn’t test you on laws rather it tests on logic, critical reading, and game theory. This is why any major can take the exam because you don’t need to know about government or laws to take the exam. Once you are ready to take the exam you sign up through LSAC, the law school admission council. I took the practice test last semester and it was quite difficult. I had not studied, but I didn’t do as bad as I thought. They stressed the importance of preparing well for the exam by either taking classes or buying prep books to study. They also reemphasized the importance of not taking the test too many times because all the scores will be sent to that law school. So take it once and do the very best you can possibly do. There is a fee I believe $125 don’t count me in that amount. The LSAT score ranges from 100 being the lowest to 180 being the highest.

Personal Statement- the personal statement is one of the most important elements in an application. This is a portion where admissions gets to know you as a student instead of a number. Since most law schools don’t have interviews it’s important that the applicant writes a coherent, descriptive, and well written essay. Again to reiterate this portion is quite important.

Resume- include organizations, jobs, and leadership opportunities that you are involved in.

Transcripts- schools require the applicant to send a transcript to the school they are applying to. Admissions will see the classes you have taken. They mostly focus on sophomore and junior year grades. Even after you have been accepted the school will ask for the final transcripts to be sent.

Addendum- if for any reason you feel that the application doesn’t reflect who you are because of a circumstance you will write it in the addendum. An example of a circumstance may be a poor grade because of a family tragedy, or a committed crime. The addendum should not be longer than your personal statement.

I hope that this information gave you a close and personal idea of how admission for law school functions. For those who are applying soon I wish you luck. For those who have a lot of time ahead of them keep working hard. For those who are just reading this for pure information purpose now you know.

Thank you so much for reading this entry. I hope I helped some who are looking towards the legal field. All the admission information was given at the conference. All the other advice was given by me. I hope you all have a great weekend and good luck in all your future endeavors.

-Genesis
Potential Law Student