I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak last night at the Fox Theater in Redwood City. A huge thank you to Kepler’s books, one of the last independent book stores on the planet, for sponsoring the event!
Justice Sotomayor is the first Latina appointed to the US Supreme Court (and woman named Sonia, which I like). She is an American born in New York to Puerto Rican parents. She discussed the fact that the US has territories and Puerto Rico is one of them, making those people US citizens. She mentioned her 60 Minutes interview in which the interviewer mentioned that her parents immigrated to the US – she said, it’s actually “migrated to New York” because territories are part of the US. She challenged the audience to name any US territory (like Guam, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa). She said she is American, but Latina at heart.
Justice Sotomayor concentrated a lot of her talk last night on learning – she beseeched the audience to foster a desire for and a life filled with a love for lifelong learning. She encouraged everyone to “learn what you can,” seek help if you can’t learn more on your own; learn it well enough to figure out if you like it or not or want to continue learning more about it. She was adamant about this point, “Don’t say you aren’t interested in something unless you have tried it and can say you could do it if you wanted to.”
She also said she loves learning from lawyers (and mentioned a three week mosquito repellant case that had come before her), which is something I can relate to and love about my career as a lawyer and my work in eDiscovery (not the mosquito part, but the learning from lawyers part, although sometimes eDiscovery does feel like a swarm of mosquitoes has attacked you and left red itchy welts everywhere).
One of the interesting stories she told was that she wasn’t competitive with other people she was competitive with herself. She said that you should be ambitious for yourself – compete against yourself – not others. She gave a great example about ambition for herself and it was something I wouldn’t have thought of (because I’m more of an “all in” person who aims for the top and has no doubt that I’ll get there). She said when she started school (not sure if it was college or high school), she had a personal goal of getting 2 As and 3 Bs. Then the next semester, 3 As and 2 Bs until her third year it was all As. It was a gradual accomplishment and resetting of her own reasonable goals and she didn’t set up a completely unattainable initial goal to get all As when she didn’t know what the program would hold in terms of workload or expectations. (I think I need to talk to my high schooler about this story.)
A 14-year-old girl had asked the question, “how do I make the most of the next four years of my life, in high school? (I remarked at the time that a boy would never have asked this question…) Justice Sotomayor’s answer was one of the most important points of the night: Don’t wait until college to learn how to write. Learn it now, find someone to help you, if not a teacher, find someone in your community, but listen and learn. Ask for help. So many people could learn from this message. Now that I have a computer and can actually touch type, I love to write, but writing long hand and then two-finger typing a 15 page paper was sheer torture for me in college, as a philosophy major… I wish I had learned to write better in high school so that college wouldn’t have been as painful. I really learned to write in law school. Don’t wait that long.
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- Meeting a Supreme Court Justice - PractiGal on Meeting a Supreme Court Justice – Part 2
- Meeting a Supreme Court Justice - Part 2 - PractiGal on Meeting a Supreme Court Justice – Part 3
- Meeting a Supreme Court Justice - Part 3 - PractiGal on Meeting a Supreme Court Justice – Part 2
- Meeting a Supreme Court Justice - Part 3 - PractiGal on Meeting a Supreme Court Justice
- Meeting a Supreme Court Justice - Part 2 - PractiGal on Meeting a Supreme Court Justice