Sonia Sotomayor Tells NYU Grads About Growing Up In The Projects

Sonia Sotomayor

Photo: nyu via YouTube

Justice Sonia Sotomayor never aspired to have a seat in the nation’s highest court because she had no idea what the Supreme Court was growing up. “You can’t aspire to do things you don’t know about,” Sotomayor told graduates from New York University last week. 

At Yankee Stadium, Sotomayor told hopeful graduates her story of growing up in public housing in the Bronx to acquiring a seat on the Supreme Court. 

But how do you dream big when you have no experience with those ambitions? If you lived in the projects like Sotomayor did, it’s likely that you probably didn’t witness those ambitions growing up. For this answer, Sotomayor referenced the late Steve Jobs. 

“How did Steve Jobs — who grew up in an era when there were no PCs — create Apple?” she asked the crowd. “By trusting his gut, liking what he chose to do and living each day as if it were his last.”

“Look, disappointment and uncertainty are constant companions in life’s pursuits. Being a little frightened is natural and unavoidable.”

“Neither your life or the world you live in, just happens. You control it.”

And once you figure out what it is that you want to do with your life, Sotomayor advised that you need to “take the time to build your relationships as carefully as your craft your careers.”

“Remember that no one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths.”

Watch Sotomayor’s full speech here. 

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