Here at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA, we strive to let our students shine by supporting their efforts to develop as competent, committed, and self-reliant legal professionals. So, for our contribution, we decided to invite an alum to share their success in their own words. Here is Simona’s story.
As a kid, growing up outside of the U.S., I dreamed of having a job where I would have my own office. My mom would say that she wanted me to be a lawyer. I was inspired by her dreams, but in my head, this job was only for the smartest people and it was out of my reach. I have since learned that hard work and persistence actually take you further than book smarts.
Fast forward to graduating from high school when I had to decide which universities to apply to. I wanted to double major in English and Journalism but to my disappointment, I was not accepted. I ended up obtaining a bachelor’s degree in special education, but I felt like this was not what I wanted for the rest of my life. After graduation, I spent several years as a live-in nanny, which brought me to the U.S., and I eventually decided to return to school.
When deciding on a major, my host mom suggested that I apply to a paralegal program. I had no idea what a paralegal was! So, I did my research. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the office of the paralegal studies program director at Skyline College, Jesse Raskin. I felt welcome from the very first moment and immediately knew this was the school I wanted to attend. The program was not yet ABA-approved, but the quality of education was already high. I knew right away this was the perfect match for me.
While enrolled, I faced some struggles in my private life, yet I always had the support at school that I needed, which included help finding an internship at Schinner & Shain, LLP, a San Francisco based law firm. When I first started, I felt intimidated because most interns they had were law students. I had no idea if I could keep up! My first duties involved legal research, proofreading, and other entry-level projects. To make up for my lack of experience, I made sure to finish all projects in a timely manner while triple checking everything. The attorneys started noticing my potential and kept sending me increasingly complex and challenging tasks. Eventually, the internship became a full-time job with the same firm. This was the moment when I realized all that I was capable of and started to see that I had a real future in the law.
After working as a paralegal for almost three years, my employer encouraged me to take it one step further and to start applying to law schools. I was doubtful at first, but as I reflected on my past few years, I realized that my hard work at every level had been rewarded by supervisors and teachers. And, that made me feel confident enough to take the leap. Right now, I am studying for the LSAT and preparing my applications for enrollment in Fall 2021, so it looks like my mom’s vision may come true after all. No matter what happens next, I know that I made it this far!
-Submitted by Jesse W. Raskin, Program Director, Paralegal Studies Program, Skyline College