Law school is a new world, full of fears and hopes of the unknown.
In the midst of conversations about torts and criminal procedure, I have come to realize that I am in this huge cultural transition where I am evolving into an “educated woman of color,” whatever that really means. In reality, I am the daughter of two immigrants who migrated from Mexico to California to provide me and my siblings a better future. I am the nerd who read eleven books during the summer in elementary school. The girl who just had bigger aspirations than getting pregnant or getting hooked on drugs. I am the girl who escaped the troubled streets of Salinas, Ca., but in my journey I have brought with me my family and my community on my shoulders. This sense of responsibility of going back and giving others what I never had.
Sometimes I think to myself, is this fair? Why do I feel this sense of responsibility for people I don’t even know? Do they help me brief cases late at night or whisper answers when I’m getting called on in class? And then I conclude this is part of my transition. Coming to terms with myself that being a trailblazer is one of the most difficult things one can be. I can’t expect my family or my community to understand what I am going through, not because they don’t have the capacity, but because I am living in a different world. A world with a different language and different foods. Different experiences and different mentalities.
This is my own migration. Just like my parents, I have left everything familiar behind and I am here, figuring things out as they come. I have taken a chance on myself and defeated all odds by sitting in a classroom speaking a language my parents didn’t teach me, connecting with professors and classmates who are not part of my familiar crowd, and thinking in ways that are so beyond what I ever expected. Although it feels lonely sometimes because my family and community aren’t here to support me physically, I wonder if this is what my parents felt too when they started their life in California. How lonely they must have felt not having their loved ones here in the United States and how unfair it must have been for them to work in the fields day in and day out most of their lives. Through different means, I am doing nothing more than continuing the journey my parents started.
Although both my parents and I have made our own transitions into different worlds, we will always carry our families and our communities on our shoulders. I am discovering this isn’t a burden. It is what gives my journey direction and motivates me to thrive.