During her summer working in the office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Simone Gerald-Burns found it enlightening to learn that people from all walks of life can find themselves in the unfortunate situation of filing for bankruptcy.
“The most interesting thing to me is to see the judges talk to people,” Gerald-Burns said. “There are a lot of successful people who end up in a bad situation, and there are also a lot of people with nothing left to lose.”
Over the course of seven weeks working in the court, Gerald-Burns said she received hands-on lessons in empathy and fiscal responsibility. From her coworkers, she learned the value of a collaborative spirit.
“I like being able to see how people interact in an office setting, which is very quiet compared to school,” she said. “You have your own responsibility, but you can also call on others when you need to.”
Going to lunch with her colleagues from time to time, Gerald-Burns valued the chance to hear them talk about the journey through school that led them to their career path. She said she feels better equipped to make decisions about her own future after hearing about the learning experiences of those in her office.
“Learning to talk to more people who are not just people my age also helped me be more comfortable talking to people in authority,” she added.
Above all, Gerald-Burns came away from her job with a meaningful understanding of concepts she had previously only seen on television.
“Before this job, I didn’t know anything about bankruptcy besides the spot on the wheel in Wheel of Fortune. I think this experience will help me keep good credit and pay my bills on time, and the work experience will certainly help me in my career,” she said.
Gerald-Burns’s position at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court was funded by the Boston Bar Foundation, along with 10 other positions for teens in Boston this summer.