Growing up in a small rural town and never having travelled outside the state of Minnesota “I have often wondered what opportunities there are for me in the wider world.” I decided in high school that I must experience something bigger than a rural town of 800 and decided to enroll in college in a large city. Within my first few days of college I was told to take advantage of the opportunities that college offers. This advice, along with my own motivation and enthusiasm, has pushed me to reach for the most diverse education possible. In addition to the courses I have taken during my undergraduate study, the opportunities I have seized upon have had an immense impact on my educational experience and preparation for life after the University of St. Thomas. These opportunities have also given me a better sense of who I am and what I can accomplish. These opportunities included travelling across the country with Students Today Leaders Forever, participating in the University of St. Thomas Machine Design competition, serving as a Product Development Intern at St. Jude Medical, and serving as a technical aide at 3M.
The opportunity to travel the country with Students Today Leaders Forever not only allowed me to gain a sense of pride of giving back, but also allowed me to see how people of different backgrounds live. While on the trip, we travelled through seven states on a coach bus. We stayed in five cities doing various community services projects in each city ranging from Habitat for Humanity to cleaning up a historic cemetery. This unforgettable experience cannot be compared to anything else in my life. Every stop had an impact on me personally. I was able to give back to people that needed it the most. Even though we only helped these people for a short period we realized that what we were doing was bigger than we could ever imagine. The gratitude and faith these people showed us opened my eyes to a whole new world. The people I encountered and the places I visited through this experience will remain in my memory for the rest of my life.
Taking part in the University of St. Thomas Machine Design competition was another opportunity that significantly furthered my educational experience. The rigorous preparation that was necessary to compete in the competition is the strongest form of educational discipline I have ever received. An intense atmosphere involving extensive research, and analysis was vital to my success. The competition consisted of two teams going head to head in a timed contest. The objective was to stack blocks with your designed machine. Points were awarded depending on the height of your stack, and the amount of blocks you had pushed onto your platform. The sense of pride I felt as I was able to proceed from round to round all the way to the semi-finals showed me the true reward of hard work and determination.
Being part of multiple high profile companies has also been a valuable asset to my life. As a product development intern at St. Jude Medical, I became immersed in the medical world. This position allowed me to further hone my technical writing skills, along with developing a keen eye for catching minor mistakes which in the medical world can become a huge problem. As a technical aide at 3M, I was able to develop an understanding of how to turn ideas into reality, and those creations into products that can be patented. I was able to understand the nuances with patents and was first hand able to see how little wiggle room there is to obtain a patent. This skill is vital for my success as I continue on to study patent law.
Taking advantage of these opportunities has served as great preparation for life after the University of St. Thomas, when I attend law school for patent law. I have learned the importance of commitment, the need to become thoroughly involved in a project since this leads to a securely grounded knowledge base. Through technical jobs, a great undergraduate university, and numerous volunteer organizations I have learned a great deal of knowledge about myself and what I can accomplish. I have learned that with the right mindset and dedication I can accomplish anything. These experiences have provided me with skills, self-confidence, motivation, and dedication in my future studies. I am prepared for the next step in my life—to tackle the rigorous and demanding curriculum of law school.