Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Dinner with a Supreme Court Justice

This past week at my internship I had the pleasure of meeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I sat through two of her lectures to both law school students, and high school students. She was an amazing speaker, and an inspiration to everyone in the room. There was one particular story that really resonated with me that I will share. The Justice spoke about her childhood; she grew up in a poor, Puerto Rican family. Her parents did their best to support the family, but didn’t understand much about the education system. The Justice said how if a book wasn’t from school, or on the school reading list she would have never heard of it, let alone have read it. During her first year of undergraduate education, a classmate made a reference to the fictional character Alice in Wonderland.  The Justice did not understand the reference and was slightly ridiculed for her lack of knowledge of a well-known cartoon. Like many other obstacles the Justice had to overcome, she used this to her advantage. As a college student, she went back to her dorm that night and read Alice and Wonderland from cover to cover. She wouldn’t allow herself to be uneducated because she had to option to educate herself. It was amazing to me that throughout her life, and in the present, she does not allow herself to feel pity on her childhood, or ever use her disadvantages as an excuse. Instead she puts it on herself to always be taking that extra step and that is why she is where she is today.