Maria Barrientos is a 2015 Kids’ Dreams Scholar who now attends Florida State University. She has since finished her first semester with a 3.58 overall GPA. Maria is currently majoring in Criminology and plans to later achieve a law degree.
“I am a first generation. This year I will be the first to graduate high school in my family, as well as the first to pursue a college career. My parents are originally from Mexico, where their education does not exceed a middle school level. I am my family’s translator, speaker, and the one they all go to when they need help. I do not mind, for I know that is a privilege and obligation. I am the oldest of four children and that comes with many responsibilities especially when my parents are unable to complete certain tasks. For instance, helping my siblings with their homework. My parents know little to no English so it is up to me to do everything that involves English in the house. Since I was very young I was imposed upon the task to be my families translator and whatever else they needed.” -Maria Barrientos
Dear Kids’ Dreams:
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this email as an update of my Fall 2017 semester. This semester has been my most challenging semester yet, I was enrolled in 15 credits, which was the most I have ever taken. I also had many new responsibilities, I was appointed President of Freedom at FSU, an anti-human trafficking organization that aims to spread awareness and provide resources to victims and students. I was also appointed Core Leader of Advocate for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and I was asked to establish and co-lead the first student sub-committee of The Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking to connect students from colleges in the Tallahassee area. I also continued to mentor through The Center for Leadership and Social Change: Youth Programs, this semester I mentored children attending Tittle I schools. I was very involved this semester and I took a much harder course load, nevertheless I finished the semester with straight A’s and my FSU GPA is at a 3.8.
This summer, I earned a seat in Chicago Kent’s Summer Pre-Law Program, where my desire to attend law school has only grown. We took five core classes and a few guest lectures from contract law, evidence, and legal writing to trial advocacy, intellectual property, internet privacy law, and employment discrimination among other courses. We were law students for three weeks where we were expected to be prepared and completed assignments for a grade at the end of the three weeks. I am proud to say I did well on my end of the program exams and assignments. During the program I also had the opportunity to briefly job shadow attorneys in Accenture consulting firm, DLA Piper Law firm, and Federal court.
Another part of the program was to help prepare us for applying to law school, so we were given a practice LSAT exam, in which I learned that I would benefit greatly from an LSAT course. Unfortunately, standardized tests are not my strongest areas and they seem to limit my opportunities. This is very discouraging for me because I understand that the LSAT scores are crucial in admission to universities. I am currently exploring test preparation programs to hopefully begin in the Spring since I must take the LSAT in the summer. I am excited and frighten at the same time, but I am ready to begin my next chapter.
I would not even be in a position to consider applying to law school without the support of organizations like Kids’ Dreams. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for all that your organization does for me and other students who would not attend college without financial support and mentorship. Kids’ Dreams is an amazing support system for me and it is fundamental for my success and development. I hope to one-day give back to my community and help other students in similar ways that Kids’ Dreams is supporting me.
FSU Class of 2019