I edited out some info to have a little anonymity.
It was February Xth, 2010. I received a call that would end up altering my life’s trajectory. Between sobs, I hear my brother say, “Joey shot himself.” Joey was closer to a brother than a friend. Initially, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard my brother cry. I was shocked and upset by the news as I had known Joey since we were small children. After the initial grief, my brother’s cries stuck out the most to me.
After much deliberation, I figured out why this had the impact it did. The last time I heard my brother cry was when our Uncle Allen passed away from a work place accident. This revelation was very powerful to me. Our uncle was the closest thing to a father that my brothers and I had. His loss was a devastating event for us. Allen was the finest person I have ever known. He was a meter reader for GENERIC UTILITY COMPANY, a coach, a mentor, and father. Despite what many would consider a meager position, he embraced his job. He ran his routes instead of walking them so he finished in a fourth of the time of his coworkers. This efficiency let him do what he really loved, which was working with youth sports. Allen always made time to coach my brothers’ and/or my teams. Occasionally, I would be annoyed with his tirelessness because if we had kids on the team that needed a ride to or from practice, he would pick them up and drop them off (I was always last to go home). His positive impact stretched far beyond our lives.
Allen’s commitment to others inspired me as a teenager. I looked up to everything that he did for other people without an expectation of anything in return. This inspiration allowed me to connect with my absentee father’s culture by volunteering. I tutored children of illegal immigrants and mentored a group of 11 to 14 year olds in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. I learned Spanish to better connect with the students I was trying to help.
The loss of Joey forced me to reexamine what I had done since Allen’s passing. I had graduated from TCU. I had a family. I had been with three different employers in five years. I was looking into business schools to continue my education. There was something lacking though. I was determined to get an MBA in Finance to make myself irreplaceable but I only wanted the degree for the economic stability. There was no passion behind the decision to get an MBA.
Due to my self-examination, I decided I wanted something that would allow me to get back into community service in a meaningful way. My volunteer work as a teenager had left a lasting impression. I was exposed to the courage of people coming to a country where they don’t speak the language and face grave injustices since they aren’t supposed to be there. Additionally, I was thinking about Joey. Joey never received many opportunities that he could capitalize on. He was kicked out of his house at 15. From that point, his life was a series of minor criminal offenses, drug and alcohol dependency, and psychological conditions. I was always dismayed by the disproportionate impact his bad decisions as a youth had later on his life.
Despite the days’ tragic events, I’m grateful for the direction it gave me. Being a first generation college student, I felt that a title and a job in the finance industry would make me a success and with that success, fulfillment. After five years in Finance, I can say that I have learned a tremendous amount but haven’t had the fulfillment that I expected. My experience in finance refined my analytical process. I learned to have a balanced, data driven approach while remaining aware of any biases I might have. An additional benefit has been the interaction between the industry and their regulation. With the multiple licensing exams I have passed, I have become familiar with judging whether actions are permissible according to the regulation. I believe these two skills will assist me in being successful in law school. However, while these skills have been beneficial in a practical sense, I have discovered through much introspection that Finance is not my true passion. Law school is my next step.