Working for Justice: Hannah Bollin

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1. What have you been up to since graduating in 2014?

I took a year off and ended up teaching preschool (sort of by accident), then went to law school at University of Oregon and graduated last May. Since October, I’ve been working in Coos County, Oregon, as a deputy district attorney. This was always my ultimate goal, and it has really been a dream come true.

2. How was your PUC experience beneficial to your professional development or career? 

Lawyers do a lot of reading and writing! Of course, the books I read at PUC were (usually) a lot more fun than what I read now, but they involved the same analytical skills. Being able to bring a creative mindset to interpreting case law helps me find solutions that may not be as obvious otherwise. As for the writing, even though it’s a very different form of writing than anything I did at PUC, the variety of writing classes I took taught me how to adapt to new styles and audiences as necessary. 

3. What advice would you go back to give yourself as a freshman?

Get out of my comfort zone more. I wish I’d taken advantage of more opportunities to network at PUC. I tended to ignore functions or presentations that weren’t specifically focused on careers in law. But I didn’t realize that even if I didn’t meet someone who would one day lead to a job, I would be honing my networking skills, which is a huge part of a legal career (and something I’m still pretty bad at). I also wish I’d just gone out and done more in general. There’s still a lot in the Napa Valley I didn’t take the time to explore.

4. What are some of your favorite memories of PUC or the Napa Valley?

Most of my best memories from PUC revolve around either the department of English, or being a resident assistant in Winning Hall. Both places were great mini-communities that really became home. I loved being pushed creatively by my English professors and having deep discussions with my peers, but I also loved goofing around with my fellow RAs to make dorm life fun for the residents. Even now, some of my best friends are those that started as friendships made in one of these groups. 

5. What can you do with an English degree?

SO MANY THINGS. Don’t let anyone tell you English is a dumb degree. Sure, my career didn’t “require” me to study English, but the skills I learned while earning my degree made my chosen career much easier to achieve. And those skills will translate to pretty much any career you want; reading and writing will never be useless. Don’t limit an English degree to just teaching or writing. Even if you don’t decide to pursue an “English” career, why not spend four years on a major that lets you use your imagination daily?