Jose Rodriguez, Attorney in North Hollywood, California

Dear Dr. Serene,

Remember my first email asking if you could tutor me after I did so badly for my 2nd year University of London law exams?

At the time, I was studying for my law modules at an institute of higher learning in my home country and I had failed miserably in two of four modules.  I was too embarrassed to tell you my results, so I fudged and said I had failed by two and four marks.  It wasn’t until the re-sit results came out and I passed with 77 marks for one module and 79 for the other, which is a First, that I ‘fessed up and showed you my original result… 12 and 23 marks out of 100!

I think you knew, but you didn’t let on.  I appreciate that.

I was at my absolute, rock-bottom, lowest point when one of our neighbors mentioned to my parents that you tutored their daughter in Property Law and she scored a First.  My parents insisted that I get on your coaching and tutoring program, even though it was just 19 days to the first of my two re-sit exams.

After that, I never went back to the local institution.  Instead, I studied all four of my final year modules with you, online.  And I achieved a Second Upper.  I credit you with pulling up my grades.

When I decided that I wanted to apply to study for the LL.M in the United States, you worked with me on my research papers and personal statements, and advised me on programs and universities.  I got into my first choice university — on a merit-based scholarship!

Without that scholarship, I could never have made it to the USA.

Without your tutoring and mentoring, I could never have done well enough to be offered the scholarship.

As the saying goes, it took a busload to pull my grades up.

My dad had to work quite a lot of overtime hours, and my mom baked many many many of her special tiered buttercream cakes to sell to pay for my lessons and coaching sessions with you, but it was all worth it.  Cool thing is, my mom eventually started her own bakery!  Everyone was overwhelmingly overjoyed when I received my diploma.

It has been more than nine years since I first took lessons with you, but I will never forget what you said to me when I felt like giving up: “I see something in you worth nurturing…”

Truly, thanks for not giving up on me.

Now, as an attorney, I try to pay it forward and give of my time to nurture others, as you had with me.



[June 2019]