After a pretty rough start my first semester at a college in Pennsylvania, I came home to Chestertown thinking perhaps college wasn’t for me. I struggled with this concept because I had grown up thinking the chronology of life went pre-school, middle school, high school, college, then job. Not going to college had never been an option but, there I was, ready to quit.
Fortunately for me, I had been accepted to Washington College and it was in my hometown so I could ease my way back into college and start again. This time around was different. I found myself loving college and found a new passion. I had known since high school that I wanted to major in Spanish because my curiosity for the language and culture had been nearing obsession for many years. Throughout my time at WC I took many interesting and thought-provoking Spanish classes with a variety of fabulous professors and spent a semester abroad living in Granada, Spain.
It was by accident that I found my other passion. I started taking electives my sophomore year and idly chose a variety of sociology and philosophy classes. I became hooked. I took every class I could with two professors because their teaching styles were perfect for me. Professor McCabe’s philosophy and ethics classes were almost more informative than NPR itself (which, for the record, is hard to do). He brought such a reality to these classes, which before had terrified me (Plato and Aristotle, are you kidding me?). His classes touched on a lot of legal topics, which is why I took my first sociology and law class with Professor Lange. I took so many classes with Professors McCabe and Lange that I received a minor in Justice, Law & Society to complement my major in Hispanic Studies.
After that first class I knew I had found a new passion. I loved the law and learning about why we have laws in place, and about the mentality of both criminals and victims. In one of Dr. Lange’s classes, I had the opportunity to apply my knowledge of Spanish language and culture to the legal field with an internship providing crisis intervention for Hispanic victims of domestic violence and rape. At the same time, through another internship with Shared Opportunity Services in Chestertown, I helped Hispanic migrants residing in Kent County find social services available to them. These classes and internships showed me that there is room for change in the policies we have in place regarding immigration in this country.
My time at Washington College opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed and awakened a passion I didn’t know I had. After graduation I spent a few months in Spain and traveled around Europe, the United Kingdom and Africa. I realized then that I could marry my two loves—Spanish and law. I have decided to pursue a career in law and policymaking to fight for the rights of Hispanics in the United States. I am currently working for a law firm in Chestertown and have been accepted into three graduate schools for programs in criminology or criminal justice. If I had not gone back to college after that first bumpy semester, I am not sure what I would be doing now, but I’m sure it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be on this exciting journey.