How Creative Pursuits Benefit You in Your Non-Arts Job

Charcoal drawing of the artist in 3/4 view, looking at an easel.
Self Portrait, 2004.

Ever since I decided to attend law school, people have been asking me how a person with an art background becomes a lawyer.  I’m not going to talk about my reasons for pursuing a legal career today (I’ll save that for another post), but I do want to explore how creative pursuits can benefit us in our jobs and lives.

Read more

What I’ve Learned from Being Neutral

Side view of the author gazing to her left on a beach with mountains and houses in the background
Photo by E.

The idea for today’s post came from Sarah F. Thanks for the suggestion, Sarah!

Unlike most of my fellow citizens, I had to sit out the recent election cycle. I voted, but I did not display a yard sign, put a bumper sticker on my car, contribute to a campaign, or like any candidate’s Facebook page. As a federal judicial employee, I’m prohibited from engaging in any political activity at any level. I’m not permitted to campaign on anyone’s behalf, nor am I allowed to publicly endorse any candidate. I cannot like a partisan post on social media, or attend rallies, and in most cases, I can’t participate in issue advocacy. At least for as long as I serve in my current role, you will not see any politically focused posts on this website.

Read more

The Weekend Listen

A pair of wireless headphones for podcast listening

I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving, working out, and doing chores around the house. In this weekly feature, I’ll tell you about one episode I particularly enjoyed that week. (I do not receive any compensation for these recommendations.)

I had a hard time choosing a podcast for this post because I listened to several this week that were so good.  The one I initially selected is pretty short, so I decided to pick a second bonus episode this time.

Read more

To the Blue Collar Kids Applying to College

The author's high school yearbook picture.
Me at 17, sporting a truly awful haircut and braces. Carlisle High School Oracle, 2002.

Fifteen years ago, I was a high school senior ready to graduate and move on to bigger and better things. My parents had always expected me to pursue higher education, but they hadn’t gone to college themselves and couldn’t provide me much advice in the search and application process. My high school guidance counselor was responsible for too many students and didn’t know much about me beyond the grades and test scores in my school record. He didn’t have many occasions to see kids like me, the ones who usually showed up for school, got decent grades, and didn’t get into trouble very often. So, like many aspiring first-generation college students, I was unaware of most of the tips and tricks that some of my more privileged classmates had been taught.

I’ve always been pretty resourceful and independent, so I figured things out on my own, with the help of several books, a fantastic admission counselor at the college I ended up attending, and a financial aid office that was willing to work with me. I was accepted to the four colleges to which I applied and received a generous scholarship package from my top choice.

My college admissions journey didn’t end once I matriculated. As a student, I worked as an intern and work-study in the admissions office for three years. My first “real” job after graduation was an admission counselor position at a different liberal arts college. After leaving that job, I volunteered as an alumna admissions ambassador for my alma mater. I also went through the process of applying to law school, which is different than applying to college, but similar in many ways. Based on my experiences, below are some things I would tell my seventeen-year-old self if I could revisit 2002.

Read more