Stephanie Peatman, a California State University, Northridge (CSUN) alumna and third-year day student at Southwestern, shared the following at the reception to celebrate the new collaboration between the two schools.
As a student who was fortunate enough to attend both Cal State Northridge and Southwestern, I am so excited to see this partnership come to fruition. When I think about how much I've changed and how far I've come in the past few years, I can't help but be thankful for the opportunities that these institutions have provided me.
Growing up in Valencia, I always felt so far away from anything new or exciting. I mean, with the exception of Magic Mountain and TGI Fridays, there was never anything new happening there. Like a lot of my classmates, I never considered education to be a big deal. After I graduated high school, I took a few courses at a local community college but I wasn't excited or motivated to go to class, and that was readily apparent from my grades.
It wasn't until I transferred to CSUN that I discovered how much I really loved to learn. For the first time in my life, I had professors that challenged and encouraged me. I was offered a curriculum that covered everything from political science to fashion design. I sat in classes with students from such diverse backgrounds that I didn't even know existed. For the first time in my life, I would get excited to get up in the morning and get ready to go to school.
It was while I was at CSUN that I realized that I eventually wanted to go to law school. I also knew that I could major in anything I wanted before going to law school. I joined the Family and Consumer Science department and focused on fashion design and merchandising and worked in the fashion industry after graduation. After a few years in the real world, I decided that if I ever wanted to go to law school, I had to do it now.
The thought of going back to school after taking several years off was daunting, to say the least. I hadn't sat through lecture or studied for an exam in years and I thought that I would feel so out of place and too old compared to the rest of my classmates. I was absolutely terrified... until the first day that I stepped on Southwestern's campus.
Before I decided to attend Southwestern, I took a tour of the campus with a few current students and I sat through contracts class with professor Krone. I remember sitting in that contracts class and smiling from ear to ear because I was so excited and intrigued by the subject matter. I'm sure I looked absolutely crazy to anyone else sitting in that class. The students were so engaged in lecture and professor Krone magically knew how to make 100 year old case law seem entertaining. After class was over, a few students approached me because they knew I was visiting and they offered to show me around campus and to answer any questions that I had. I had never felt so welcomed by a group of strangers before. It was at that moment that I knew I was ready to go to law school, and I knew that Southwestern was where I wanted to go.
I did not change from a "C" student in Valencia to the person I am today over night and I did not change all on my own. A huge part of who I am and what I have accomplished is due to the amazing people that have made CSUN and Southwestern great; it is due to many of the people sitting in this room. Without all of you and everything you have done to make these institutions diverse, challenging, and supportive, I would not be standing here today. I am so honored to be part of this event celebrating the partnership of CSUN and Southwestern, and I am excited to witness all of the great things to come.