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Sotomayor’s Advice to Students

Read time: 2 minutes

If you had a class, could not get a ticket, or are simply embarrassed because you slept through the panel featuring U.S. Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Jan. 30, never fear. The Alumni Association is here to help. Below find Sotomayor’s advice to students (with a bit of homework and even a test slipped in). Take it seriously … after all, she is a member of the highest court in the land.

1) “Everyone needs the trauma of putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. When you are comfortable, you just don’t change.”

2) “Here (at U-M) you have the opportunity to experience things that are different from what you know … if you take full advantage of that, then you will have gotten the best of education.”

3) “Laws regulate your very existence and virtually every relationship you have. If something is that important, you should at least understand its basic operation in the community you live in. I do ask you to be informed citizens. You can’t really improve the world you’re in, unless you understand how it functions.”

4) “You can listen more if you start from a place of respect rather than derision. I think that is what we need to start from: respect and an openness to listen.”

5) “You are not exploring your strengths and limits unless you fail. Without failure you have no comparison point for success.”

6) “Find out three things about your friends you did not know. Everyone has a story.”

7) “Change seats every day in class and sit next to someone you don’t know. Say ‘Hello’ and tell them your story.”

8) “Read the constitution. It takes 10 minutes. I’m a fast reader, so It might take you a little longer.”

9) “Go on the Civics website, play a game, and take the citizenship test. If you get 100 percent, you don’t need to take a citizen’s course.

10) “Don’t go to law school unless you really want to, and are very passionate about the law. Otherwise it’s too expensive.”

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