Orzechowski began by driving a smaller truck while working for a rental furniture moving company. “I thought if I can drive a small truck, then I can drive a big truck,” she says. She viewed learning to drive as having acquired a trade, and traveled to Salt Lake City to get licensed to drive the “big” trucks. Those big trucks included full-size, “sleeper-berth” cabs with 53-foot trailers, which she drove across the country. “The road is always different,” she says. “It’s never the same thing or the same day. I knew the job would lead me to interesting places. It allowed me to take my own adventure.”
The former political science major decided to attend law school after speaking to a criminal justice professor and after deciding to return to college instead of going into police work. She says her driving experience helps with her law school education. With driving, relied on split-second decision-making. Sometimes the trailers Orzechowski hauled were fully loaded, and the vehicle weighed nearly 80,000 pounds in traffic, in snow, etc. Drivers need to maneuver through difficult situations and must be able to quickly know what to do.
“You have to make decisions that you don’t have time to second guess,” she says. “This served so well to get the flavor of different legal issues.”
Orzechowski says it has also helped with law school reasoning. The circumstances while driving train a person to see the big picture quicker. He or she must make decisions and judgment calls in a split second. These rapid decisions translate to the legal field because it makes you more prepared to respond without becoming overwhelmed when someone is questioning you or challenging your reasoning. She says her experiences with cross-country driving were tough. “It trained me to hang in there to gain the experience,” she says.
Orzechowski also enjoyed the people she met while driving and continues to meet in her life. “There are so many interesting people with different backgrounds and needs,” she says. “Everyone is a friend you haven’t met.”
She says her experience has also turned into wonderful legal-related opportunities. This past summer she interned at the US Department of Transportation for the Secretary of Transportation. She originally thought she should take truck driving off her résumé, but the president of her undergraduate institution said people would want to hear her story. Orzechowski is interested in aviation law and policy and enjoys infrastructure and transportation law. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, doing yoga, and hiking.
Charis After Class
Recent Book Read for Pleasure
On Her Bucket List
Travel to Australia
Listening to district court hearings
Favorite State to Drive Through