As an aspiring family lawyer, Chrisitna Suarez is setting the precedent with using her love for psychology to form successful connections with people. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, Christina graduated from Chatsworth High School three years ago and has been an active student of Cal Lutheran ever since. With the different jobs she has had on campus, the internships she has undertaken, and the connections she has formed with faculty and students, Christina is making a name for herself.
Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: What is your major?
Christina Suarez: I am a Psychology major and Legal Studies minor. I wanted to do psychology in order to understand human behavior and adapt my communication styles to be effective as a family lawyer in the courtroom. The Legal Studies minor is basically my way of taking the opportunity to get into the legal field by dabbling in law classes in my undergraduate years.
HCCLU: Why did you choose to attend California Lutheran University?
CS: I chose Cal Lu because I am one of those people who embraces networking and connections amongst staff members and faculty and here at Cal Lutheran the student to faculty ratio is beneficial when advancing my studies and making connections.
HCCLU: Do you participate in any on campus activities or jobs?
CS: I am the Senior Resident Assistant of Thompson Hall. As a first year, I lived in Thompson then as a sophomore I was a RA for Thompson. This year I got the opportunity to be in the Senior RA position. As a Senior RA, I guide and mentor a staff of RAs as well as serve as a mentor and resource to first-year students.
HCCLU: What are you passionate about?
CS: I am passionate about connection. That passion goes into my role as a Senior RA as well as my career choice and path because I want to have that connection with my clients when I am a divorce attorney. So my connection with people is something that drives me to do what I continue to do and to take roles that allow me to build community and make more connections.
HCCLU: Why did you decide to pursue law and more specifically, family law?
CS: I chose law because the aspect of being able to stand in front of a courtroom and having my own specialty and understanding of this branch of law was always enticing to me. I love debate; I love dispute and conflict resolution as well as problem solving so this felt like a perfect fit for me. I specifically chose family law because of my experiences seeing my family lawyers and divorce attorneys when I went through my parents’ divorce. That experience was fundamental in forming my career path.
HCCLU: Do you have a favorite quote or motto?
CS: “No is not a rejection it’s a redirection.” I love this quote because it allows you to have grace with yourself; it’s a reminder to think about the different opportunities you can have and the brighter side of things.
HCCLU: If you could change one thing about the world, what?
CS: One thing that I would change within the world is minimizing boundaries between individuals based on implicit biases that the society we have grown up in has formed. I think it’s really important to have a greater understanding of people and connect with people of diverse backgrounds and surround yourself in a diverse population in order to grow as an individual as well as an employee in all aspects of life. I think minimizing boundaries and preconceived notions about different people just based on backgrounds or anything of that nature would be beneficial not only to myself but to a lot of people within society.
HCCLU: What interests you the most about psychology?
CS: The most fun and rewarding thing about the field of psychology is learning the different dynamics that form human behavior and communications styles. I think learning that is fundamental to understanding a person as a whole. You take into consideration, as a psychology major, the situations that impacts the person; the role that nature and nurture plays into forming the identity of an individual. You take in the aspect that what you see on the outside is not necessarily what’s on the inside. There is so much to learn about the people that you see on a daily basis and psychology allows you to jump into the conscious and unconscious mind and really learn those aspects about human connection and behavior. I would have to say the most rewarding classes that I took were social psychology and learning how people interact in social situations as well as personality psychology where you see what characteristics people have on the continuum of the big 5 scale and what that looks like; both of these classes were taught by Dr. Don.
HCCLU: What were some of your jobs aside from being an RA?
CS: I started as a student assistant at Career Services and then I was promoted to senior student assistant, where I managed and coordinated a staff of 7 student workers. I also guided and helped new student assistants and was involved in the hiring and interviewing process. I have been an intern at a congressional office during fall semester of my junior year, which was last semester. I was the District Office intern for Congresswoman Julia Brownley and in the next week I will start my internship in the legal department for Sage Publications.
HCCLU: As a junior, do you have advice for underclassmen about their academic timeline?
CS: One of the most important things to remember as an underclassman is to take classes that you’re interested in and take advantage of the curriculum that we do have, even if you hear that the professor may be more difficult; it allows you to challenge yourself and to learn new things. Ultimately some of the most rewarding classes that I had heard were hard from some of my friends ended up being the classes I enjoyed and learned the most. Another important thing to note as an underclassman is that you have time to figure out who you are and what you want to do, so don’t feel pressured, everything will fall into place. Remember that you have faculty and staff here at Cal Lu that strive to support and assist you. So take the opportunity to get to know your advisors and counselors. Instead of stressing about the future, start to get excited about it. Also remember don’t let the people that surround in your environment ultimately make decisions for you. Be yourself and own who you are. Make sure to challenge yourself, strive to do your best and take opportunities that allow you to grow as an individual. Most importantly just learn to stay true to yourself, I mean after all there is only one you.
HCCLU: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CS: I see myself with my masters in dispute resolution and Juris doctorate degree. I also see myself as a successful family lawyer helping my clients on a day to day basis. In addition, I hope to be an adjunct law professor at different universities in the future.
HCCLU: What do you hope to take with you when you leave Cal Lu?
CS: The connections I have made not only with some amazing individuals I’m grateful to have as friends, but the relationships that I’ve built with staff and faculty members as well! Also, obviously the amazing education I have received here at Cal Lu. Big thanks to all my amazing professors and the psychology department.
HCCLU: How do you stay organized with all of the work you have?
CS: I stay organized by organizing my life through calendars and to-do lists on a day to day basis. I also take self-care measures like mindfulness meditation to stay organized mentally as well! If my brain is not organized I cannot mentally and physically stay organized.
HCCLU: Any other advice?
CS: Make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to achieving your goals and setting yourself up for a successful future. Also do things that you care about because ultimately when you care about anything in life and you stay driven and passionate you will treat every day as if it were your first day. Put 100% into everything you do and you’re going to not only impress yourself, but you’ll also impress others. Also remember to look at yourself in the mirror and be satisfied with the person you are today, look forward to the person you will be tomorrow and be excited for the future that is ahead of you.All photos courtesy of Christina Suarez