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April 12, 2007
Today, I was at school for 6 hours, which with first mention does not seem appealing at all. Luckily, by “school”, I am referring to high school, where I have the wonderful job of helping juniors and seniors prepare for college – a much more enjoyable way to spend a day.
Spending the day at Career High School, a local public high school in New Haven, I helped two senior classes learn how to structure and write a typical research essay. Perhaps more importantly, after our tutoring session was over, I gained major street credibility by demonstrating my vast knowledge of old school rap lyrics.
Last semester, a classmate and I started a non-profit organization called College Acceptance. Our mission was, and currently is, to recruit volunteers from Yale University to go to two local high schools and mentor students. In with fall, working the seniors, we helped two classes select schools to apply, write essays and prepare resumes. With the juniors, we inundate them with college books, describing the differences between public and private, secular and non-secular and big and small schools. This term, we are continuing our efforts as we prepare the seniors for college life and start the application process for juniors.
Creating the program was simple. After meetings with the administration, I soon had co-sponsorships with clubs on campus as well as an application to become a licensed student organization. With the University’s support, my partner and I have built a volunteer base of over 60 people. Moreover, this semester we are using Yale’s non-profit clinic so we can receive 501(c)(3) status. One of the many clinics at the law school, the non-profit clinic helps groups and clubs become official governmentally recognized organizations. By doing this, we will soon be able to receive financial donations that allow us to expand. It is our goal to bring the club to every high school in the city, and recruit students from other colleges in New Haven.
I realized last week that my experience was an anomaly. Where else could a law student create a non-profit organization during his first-year, especially during first semester? Moreover, I was able to start the organization without any sacrifice to my grades.
At Yale, the school encourages each student to take their own path. For me, I wanted to make an immediate impact in the community, and thus my motivation to start the club. Other students differ, coming to law school with a desire to learn every aspect of the law, while others are here to begin their run for the Presidency. In sum, law school is a time to learn, but it is also a time to explore your passions and gain life experience. Because of the grading system and overall culture of the law school, my classmates and I have the world readily available – with the discretion to choose the path that makes us most happy.
I now always tell people that I love going to school. Sure enough, this Monday, I will be spending another full day in Career High School, giving back to a community that so desperately needs my and others’ help.