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Simona Stodulkova

Associate of Arts, Paralegal Studies, 2018

Skyline College, San Bruno, CA
Simona Stodulkova

Simona Stodulkova

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