Trevor Reed - Lessons from a Law Student

Trevor enjoys the outdoors.

Trevor enjoys the outdoors.

Trevor whose Hopi name is Pahuwytewa means “beginning, new year” from the village of Hotevilla represents the Iswungwa (Coyote Clan) and is currently pursuing a JD in Intellectual Property Law from Columbia University. He is also a proud father of five kids: Madelynn (7), Camilla (6), Cameron (4), Sadie (3), and Gwendolyn (1). Trevor enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, while balancing the pursuit of a law degree. 

What have you had to overcome on your educational journey?
“One of the biggest obstacles I’ve struggled with along my educational path has been learning how to be self-confident. Growing up, I was always the shy guy--thinking I didn’t know as much as other kids in class. I was always embarrassed to share my ideas with other people. I decided to try music, letting instruments do the talking for me. That helped a lot, giving me the chance to express thoughts, ideas and emotions in a way that could reach others. But, one of the most important changes in my life actually came when I took up writing for my high school and college newspapers. I learned how to do research and to write to persuade. I also started taking time to do volunteer work, and ended up being selected to go to another country, teaching people every day.”  
   
What tools have helped you most, while in college?
“The most useful resources I found were my academic advisor, the library, and my dictionary. My academic advisor had connections to people and resources I never knew existed. The library has knowledge on every subject you could ever imagine, and learning how to use it means you can figure anything out. Most libraries also have a writing center to help you turn ideas into A+ papers. Finally, because I didn’t read a whole lot growing up, I had to carry around a dictionary with me to understand what I was reading and hearing from the professors in my classes. I learned never to take words for granted—they’re a lot more powerful when you really know what they mean.”

Trevor and a student he mentors.

Trevor and a student he mentors.

What advice would you share with other Native students?
“College is really what you make of it. It’s a lot of experiences wrapped into one. It is your first chance to live on your own in the world.  It’s also one of the first chances you have to feel very small and very different.  It’s the first time many of us will learn how to study, how to use a library or do real, non-wikipedia research. It can also be the first time your voice makes a difference in someone else’s life. There’s no easy way to feel comfortable in college, except to love learning and to talk to your neighbors in and outside of class.  One way to love learning is to take a little bit of time each day to review what you took away from class and write it down in a sentence, picture, chart, etc. Another trick is to let yourself be a whole—some people join clubs, others get jobs, others volunteer, others go to the gym or run marathons. Making your life more than just classes and exams will make you feel like a complete person. Be adventurous, and stretch yourself.”