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When I started, I received many questions about what I was doing at a program design for pre-law students when I am a pre-med student. Although I am interested in immigration, a central theme of this program, I began to question why I was here. After all, I have plans of going to medical school. I’ve been working toward this goal throughout my college career and this summer I decide to do a program that seemingly strays from my path. I had to think through it quickly because I couldn’t go thorough this entire program being worried about my decision. I had to come up with a solid reason in the context of the work I was doing.

I initially did this program because it revolved around immigration, an issue I am
interested in and wanted to learn more about. When I got here, my specific law firmed worked with a majority immigrant population in Miami but we didn’t work on immigration. So, the work I was doing didn’t technically fit why I applied to this program in the first place. Realizing this early, I still wanted to make the best of my experience and learn the best I could.

Fortunately, within the second day of working at Legal Services of Greater Miami, I saw why it was so important for me to have this experience. This realization added to my motivation and my excitement about the program.  I’ve known I wanted to be a physician since I was very young and, starting from eight grade, I worked toward this goal, researching, working hard in school, planning. Although my experience here has been important in shaping a lot of my work ethic and choices, it negatively affected me in that I didn’t get a chance to experience the many other needs in this city and how we can help. This DukeEngage program helped me experience different needs in a community of immigrants and more importantly, I helped fill this need through the work that I did. Whether I was assisting lawyers or working with clients directly, I am so thankful for this experience.

Along the same lines, I didn’t have any expectations coming in to this program with regards to forming any new friendships. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friendships that I’ve formed in my group and I am hopeful for the future of these relationships. It’s going to be hard for me to leave being that I’ve become attached to so many of my fellow DukeEngage mates but I know they will add to my senior year experience and perhaps even my time after college.

I am leaving this program having learned more than I could have done if I remained in my so-called pre-professional career path. I’m also leaving with the established beginnings of new friendships.