Those Who Made Me Better

Posted on Wednesday, May 08, 2019

I have no shame in admitting that I carefully handpick those whom I consider my confidantes. They hail from diverse backgrounds, profess various ideologies, and own colorful stories that make up who they are. What they all have in common though, is their predisposition to excellence. It is this valued trait above all that inspires me the most. As a community we empower each other to not only root out mediocrity in our lives but aim both our hopes and goals high.
 
Some of the members of this inner circle include Spencer Krummholz, a policy intern working with the Texas A&M System who is getting ready to begin his law school journey in the fall. He is an ambitious, intelligent young man who has the ability to turn detail-oriented work into an artform. He’s also just about the best dang orator I’ve ever heard speak, at the ripe ole age of 22. Another is Caroline Elvig, a Colorado native, who has been working as a legal assistant for the past year, feeding her passion for public defense. She’s going to a top 10 law school where most of her peers will go on to make 6 figures in a corporate job; she on the other hand dreams of working against a criminal justice system that operates at the expense of the poor and marginalized. She knows that with a pile of debt, public service won’t be the easiest calling to pursue, but she believes that people need excellent representation and knows she will be able to provide it. Finally, Madison Codney is a powerhouse unlike anything I have ever seen. Always on the move in an unassuming yellow bug, with a cup of coffee in one hand, her trademark clear glasses suspended high on the bridge of her nose, and a sharp and impeccable style that is sure to leave an impression on those she encounters. I was terrified of Madison when I first met her, only to find myself laughing hysterically with her a mere ten minutes later. Madison I’m sure she will be our next president, but first she is off to teach unruly middle schoolers while earning her PhD in the process.
 
These people have simply made me better. Through my time in the Public Policy Internship Program I have leaned on them, called on them, cried with them, laughed with them and hugged and danced it out more times than I can count. The truth is I often struggle to see excellence within myself. I often sell myself short and allow myself to believe I am little more than a nice smile and a booming laugh. But I AM in fact more than that! I must remind myself of that every day, especially on the hard days. Texas A&M gave me friends, classes, professors, organizations and opportunities to grow in leadership and character. Now in the working world I am using it to produce excellence.

Armando Vendrell-Velez
Office of State Senator Pete Flores
Austin, Texas | spring 2019