Bridges: The First-Person Writing Project
Travis Gidado, JD/MBA ’22, wanted a space where he and his classmates could examine how one’s background shapes the Law School experience. The genesis of this interest is best explained by Gidado’s essay below, but here’s the upshot: in the fall of 2019, a small group of Law School students joined a pilot program aimed at using creative writing to unpack and share their personal stories.
They called themselves Bridges.
Led by Gidado with the support of two Law School departments—Diversity and Inclusion and Communications—the group met about twice a month during the academic year. Their prospective audience was the student body at large, as well as potential law students who might otherwise struggle to “see” themselves in law school, despite their successes. They wanted to be honest about their struggles and self-doubt, but they also wanted to show others how they had created paths forward.
Over eight months, they traded experiences and ideas, explored writing techniques that would help them share those perspectives with a broader audience, and worked through drafts of their essays with a writing coach. In the process, the Bridges team tackled difficult issues, such as race and identity politics, the stigma surrounding mental illness, and the fear of failure. They also challenged each other’s self-perceptions and preconceived notions of the law school experience as a whole. Above all, they became a source of mutual support, kindness, and validation—even when disagreements arose.
“This was an experiment in every sense of the word, and I had no idea how it would evolve,” Gidado said. “Thankfully, I could not have envisioned a more honest, thoughtful, or open-minded cohort, and I’ll cherish the community we created together for the rest of my life.”
These are their stories.