Law School / AS / Student Trustee

Michelle Olivarez

“Counseling. That’s the key to SMC. A lot of students are here for three, four years, and that’s kinda sad, because they can speed things up through good guidance.”

As SMC’s Student Trustee, Michelle Olivarez has even more demands put on her time than just studying and then transferring. “Basically, I represent SMC’s whole student population—all 35,000 students—to the Board of Trustees and vice versa. The AS is just one of my constituents,” she says. “But I think that, just possibly, my biggest job is just simply listening to other students to learn more about their concerns and desires.”

When asked what is the secret to success at SMC, Michelle was very emphatic in her reply. “It’s Counseling!” she says. “It’s so important, because counselors can really understand you as a person, and help to discover where you want to go in life. For instance,” she continues, “Benny Blaydes has been a very powerful presence in my own life. He actually helped me to change my major from poli sci to history. And that was a great change for me, because history involves a lot of reading and writing—clarity of expression. And I’ll need that to be successful in law school… hopefully at UC Berkeley. To be honest,” she adds, “Counselors are almost like parents to you here. They want nothing but the best for you in college, and then on to the life that you envision for yourself.”

Helping all of her 35,000 constituents to achieve their goals is what Michelle is all about. And when—not if—her own goals are achieved, her SMC training will serve her very well indeed. “I want to be a very successful Latina lawyer who helps minorities and then moves on into national politics. And being at SMC has given me one very important skill: listening.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​