By Jayelynn Bordeaux
It is often easy to get caught up in school and extracurricular activities, and I find myself getting lost. Over the past few weeks, Leap LEADs has been influencing me to keep my eye on the prize. Adjusting to school this semester has been a struggle, but tonight’s meeting, and the exercises we did….
….made me think about why I came to college and what I want to leave with.
The night began with us talking about our day-to-day schedule and time management. Specifically, we got estimates of how much time we spent in a week attending class, studying, working out, eating, self-care, sleeping, leisure time, etc. Iriyana added up the total hours spent in the week and we pondered about what we did with the rest of our time.
Personally, this led me to evaluate how I am using my time and opened my eyes to my free time I am not using wisely. We also spent some times discussing short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, and how those should fit together.
Professor Yawn emphasized the importance of making sure our short term goals match up with our goals in the future. This is very important to me because if I do not begin to prepare now and take baby steps toward who I want to be in the long run, then I am wasting my time. We discussed the areas we lack professionally, which leads to the importance of self-awareness. Self-awareness is substantial because before you can elevate you have to be alert to the baggage holding you back.
I feel one of the motives of Leap Leads is to make us aware. Whether it be aware of our opportunities, potential, knowledge, future, etc. Tonight I was driven to be knowledgeable of the levels of court. Particularly, we discussed Texas’s five-tiered court system. The lowest levels being the Justice of Peace and Municipal Court . Both courts deal with misdemeanors, with a focus on traffic stops and misdemeanors punishable by fine only. The County Court at law deals with cases more severe than minor offenses. For example, Class A and B misdemeanors or DWI cases (where no one was hurt).
The higher levels of court are the District Courts, Appeals Court and then the highest level: the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals. Texas is a bit different because they have the Supreme court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Supreme Court deals with civil cases and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals deals with criminal cases, for example, murders and the death penalty. Something I learned that stuck out to me about the county government is that a county judge is not a traditional judge. County judges are able to marry people and declare a person insane, but unless they preside over one of the smaller counties, they have little to do with the traditional concept of a judge.
Speaking of County Judges, tonight we were enlightened by the appearances of Lina Hidalgo and Clay Jenkins at the Texas Tribune Festival while enjoying dinner from City Hall Cafe.
Lina Hidalgo is the Harris County judge and Clay Jenkins is the Dallas County judge.
Lina Hidalgo began her term as the County of Harris County in 2018. This was significant because she was the first woman to be elected county judge in Harris county.
Clay Jenkins has been a county judge in Dallas since 2011.
Both judges expressed difficulties they have had dealing with the outbreak of the CoronaVirus. Specifically, with the legislation put in place by Governor Abbott restricting their power to enforce masks due to Covid-19. I agreed with Hidalgo’s statements that the enforcement of masks should not be political and rather just what is best for communities. Both County Judges discussed having concerns with the outbreak before anything was done and were not in favor of opening up before the curve had flattened. Ultimately, I took away that County Judges normally have a lot more power when a state of emergency is declared.
I spent some time interacting with Juan during our workshop, which was on property tax. We learned how to calculate property taxes, learning the role of the Appraisal District, the Commissioners Court, and the taxpayer in the process.
This evening was informative and I believe Leap Leads is keeping me on track with my goals in the future. We ended with Professor Yawn challenging us to do something different this week.