My interest in the law began with donuts. As a child, I developed early persuasive skills during family disagreements on how to divide boxes of the treats. My parents belonged to the “biggest people deserve the most donuts” school of thought; while as the youngest family member, I was a devout believer in the “one person, one donut” principle. The debates were often cutthroat, but when it came to donut distribution, I sought justice at any cost.
As my family grew older and more health-conscious, we stopped eating donuts, and for many years I forgot our childhood debates. However, some recent life decisions have brought to mind those early explorations of justice. When I first arrived at the American International School of Rotterdam, I quickly learned that my colleagues were a diverse and talented group of people. Unsure of how to establish my own place among them, I tried phrases that had always worked to impress college friends. “When I work for the UN . . . ,” I told the second-grade teacher, and she answered with an erudite discussion of the problems she faced as a consultant for that organization. I told the kindergarten teacher, “When I’m in law school . . . ,” only to hear about his own experiences in law school. By the time I discovered that even many grade-school students were better travelled than I, I learned to keep my mouth shut!
Having a family is a big responsiblity. When you add having three children with going to school and work, it can make life very hectic. Going to school and having a job takes a lot of work. Not only for the person who is dealing with all of these commitments, but for the entire family. They all have to work together as one unit to make it all not only possible, but successful. There are six ...
Living alone in a new country, removed from familiar personal and cultural clues to my identity and faced with these extraordinary co-workers, I started to feel meaningless. How, I wondered, could I possibly make a difference in a place as vast as our planet? To my own surprise, I found that answer at church. Although I was raised in the Bahá’í Faith, I have only recently understood the essential place that religion plays in my identity. Bahá’í social beliefs include the need to work against extreme poverty, nationalism, and prejudice; and I now realize that I cannot hold those beliefs without doing something about them. My identity rests on these convictions; I cannot see the need for help and just move on. I have to help; it’s who I am.
The lessons I’ve learned from my international colleagues have channeled my desire for service into the field of international development. I still wish to fight the “‘Biggest Get the Most’ Theory of Donut Distribution,” but now on an international scale.