Articulating Goals

Although I had a great break, relaxing would not be the word I’d use to describe it…yes, productive is a much better choice. In fact, this past winter break is the most productive break I’ve ever had. I packed up my room at my parents’ house and helped my mom clean like crazy. I also finished my application for the Truman Scholarship, providing financial support for graduate study, leadership training, and fellowship with other students who are committed to making a difference through public service.

The scholarship is uber competitive (there’s only one winner per state) and is a beast to fill out; it has seven short answer questions plus a policy proposal, none of which are easy things to quickly anwer. Luckily, I immediately knew the theme of my application: going to law school to further my work advocating for the Hispanic community. A child of an immigrant, I’m especially interested in immigrant rights issues. I spent most of my first two weeks of break researching statistics and gathering information about possible career paths, law schools, etc. Then, I had to articulate my thoughts into coherent essays. The process was particularly difficult because, although I’m passionate about the subject, I’ve never had to write about it before now.

I’m glad to be finished; it’s a huge weight off my shoulders, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but just filling out the application was extremely rewarding. Believe me, there are several other things I would have loved to have been doing over break besides filling out an application, but let me explain: as a junior, this application forced me to consider what type of graduate school I want to go to, explore law schools, speak with professors at those schools, brainstorm possible career paths, think about the steps I must take now to get there, and work towards a solution to a problem plaguing our community. One of the difficult things about attending a liberal arts school is that you don’t have to ever narrow your options or goals in life, which can lead to a crisis senior year when people graduate with no idea of what they are going to do after college. I, on the other hand, now have a set of concrete goals and a plan on how to accomplish them. So, even if I don’t get this scholarship, I’ve gained a lot from just filling out the application. But fingers crossed that I get an interview – they’ll announce finalists in four weeks.

Even though I was rather productive this break, I had time to relax a little bit. I caught up with old friends, played in the snow, hung out on Pearl Street, and rode my bike. During the first three weeks of break, the weather was freezing and super windy. But when a sunny day sneaked in, Xavier (my brother) and I managed to fit in a bike ride.

taking a quick break before heading home