“What would you like to be when you grow up?” I remember this question being asked by my high school counselor. I remember thinking about the common professions of being a doctor, teacher, artist or nurse, but none ever excited me. I never had a role model show me beyond hard labor in the fields. My journey to finding my passion was a lengthy one with many challenges to overcome along the way, but it could not have happened without the opportunity of attending college. My mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico. She left everything behind to fight for a better future for her five children, one of whom is special needs and required around-the-clock care from all of us. She settled in Salinas, California where we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. She mustered the courage and strength to persevere and obtain back-breaking work in the strawberry fields in order to provide for the family. Living in a single parent household meant resources were scarce. I always wondered how or why. To this day, I am still in awe of my mother’s strength. It was through observing my mother in action and facing day-to-day challenges that I learned the value of hard work and perseverance. My mother’s sacrifice provided me with the opportunity to pursue an education. Young women like myself were expected to end up pregnant or working in the fields. As a child, I never thought about a career beyond farm laboring nor did I know of anything other than the life in a city plagued with violence and high pregnancy rates. Latinas like myself did not “make it.” I decided not to allow the fear of the unknown, unworthiness, or the lack of knowledge stop me from finding my passion for law. I overcame many of these fears when I began attending California State University, Fresno (Fresno State). I went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology—Forensic Behavioral Science, a General Business Minor, and obtained certificates in Legal Studies and Co-Curricular Leadership. Graduating was one of my proudest accomplishments because I graduated while raising my son as a single parent, holding multiple jobs at once, interning, maintaining extracurricular activities all while making both Dean’s List and President’s List. I look back at my time in college as the biggest learning curve of my life. It never crossed my mind that a young woman like myself could ever have any type of involvement in politics. I went on to be selected twice as a Kenneth L. Maddy Legislative Intern for the Honorable Jim Costa. I was also selected as the first Fresno State student to participate as a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow for UC Berkeley. I was thrilled to expand my knowledge in public policy and have a better understanding of the role race, politics, and law play in our country. I never imagined the young woman with the underprivileged background could even fathom the thought of law school being a possibility. Yet, participating in UC Davis’ Pre-Law Boot Camp and UCLA’s Law Fellow—Central Valley made law school a feasible reality. The more I was involved on campus through Moot Court and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, I realized I was paving my own path in life. I was empowered knowing I found a voice and anything in this world could be questioned, not necessarily to oppose, but to understand. Currently I am a paralegal at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC one of the largest locally owned employment law firms in the Central Valley. Upon graduating in the Spring of 2015, I was offered employment and have been the firm’s first and only Spanish speaking paralegal. The position was intimidating and challenging at first because of the unfamiliar territory it encompassed. However, I continue to learn the ropes of employment law and have demonstrated a willingness to build upon my knowledge in the subject area. The discipline of law is thought provoking. In particularly, knowing such information dictates our current laws and how these in turn impact our immediate surroundings. For example, new California labor laws can potentially change the way businesses conduct their business or create changes in their practices or procedures in order to be in compliance with the new laws or regulations. As a college graduate, with law firm experience, I feel I possess a solid foundation from which I can build upon with the help of law school. First, the values instilled by my mother have set the foundation for my efficiency and work ethic. Secondly, my work experience at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC has exposed me to a branch of law that has fueled my passion to continue learning. Lastly, the work family created at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC has fostered a safe environment in which I am comfortable enough to ask questions and learn from my mistakes. The supportive environment, composed of colleagues and attorneys, has allowed me the opportunity to learn something different from each of them as professionals and individuals, grow and develop my skill sets, and manage work related and personal challenges. I want to shatter glass ceilings and be the first Latina attorney at Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland PC. Moreover, I hope to set an example for my son and other young minorities, that regardless of their background, experiences or obstacles, they have control of their dreams and aspirations. A good work ethic, passion and support system, will help them pursue and succeed in whichever path they choose to walk. I cannot pinpoint the time and place when it happened, but I can now confidently respond when asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I can answer, I want to be a lawyer. This answer is immediate and fills me with joy because I can envision myself in school, at graduation and working in the field. I know I have the skills, the work ethic, and most importantly, the support of my family, son and the law firm to achieve my goal of becoming an attorney. Through my personal and educational experiences, I have learned I am capable, disciplined, and have a lot of potential. I am confident as a Latina and a single mother, I have already balanced some of the most difficult tasks a person can take on while in college. I am excited to embark on this journey toward the realization of my dream of attending San Joaquin College of Law and ultimately serving as an employment law attorney.