SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: A focused Gonzalez prepares for her future

MINOT, N.D. – When asked what her 17-year-old self would think about her going to law school, Alina Gonzalez chuckled.

“I think she would start with ‘heck no, no you’re not.’ She would certainly be shocked that I’m even interested in it,” she said. “I never really knew what I wanted to do and have struggled with that. I had friends that knew right away, but I felt kind of lost. That’s probably why I focused so much on softball. That’s what I loved.

“I’ve progressed as a person and as a student here.”

Gonzalez, from Rocklin, California, credits softball for getting her to this point.

“At the beginning my main focus was softball and I didn’t really have another area, so I invested a lot of time in my sport, which was fine because I love playing,” Gonzalez said. “It got me to college and that was the main goal.”

She is in the process of applying to law school as she finished up her studies at Minot State. Gonzalez graduated with degrees in management and marketing and a minor in law and legal studies, took the LSAT, sent a couple early applications, and will spend the next couple weeks sending more — and anxiously awaiting results.

“I haven’t got my scores back yet, but I feel I did well,” she said. “I will continue to apply to schools and the goal is to have one figured out for fall. Right now, I’m interested in family law, but it could change. The attorneys I’ve talked to have said you usually go in wanting to practice a certain type of law and it seems to change before you are done. But that is what interests me now.”

Gonzalez came to Minot State as a declared criminal justice major as she had family members in both law enforcement and as first responders. After a semester, she wasn’t sure if that was the best path and gravitated toward majors in business. Her minor in law and legal studies, however, came full circle in her academic career.

“I thought law enforcement looked cool and fun and I thought, yeah, I could do that,” she said. “But after a semester, it wasn’t for me, I didn’t know if I could put my life on the line every day. I switched to business management. For the most part, law enforcement agencies — I was looking at the FBI at one point — won’t really want you doing just CJ. After a while, I really missed some of the CJ classes, so I added law and legal studies. I enjoyed some of those classes the most.”

The California native remembers times early in her college career where she felt like going home or transferring to play softball at a different school. But the connections she made at MSU both on and off the field, in and outside of the classroom, kept her moving toward graduation.

“It was a culture shock. I think a lot of the student-athletes, especially the ones from California, would talk about it that first year,” Gonzalez said. “I got through the first season, and it was fine, but our coach was fired, and we hired (then MSU head softball coach Nat Wagner) and he changed the team culture and I learned so much under him.

“The professors in business and CJ kept me going. And, I found a great group of friends. So many don’t get that in college, they don’t find their best friend and I think I found something very special here. After that, I never really thought about transferring again.”

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Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/15/23   

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