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Sonia Sotomayor spent her first week at Princeton University obsessing over the sound of a cricket. Growing up in New York City, her only notion of this insect was Jiminy from "Pinocchio." She tore her dorm room apart looking for the critter every night.

Finally, her then-boyfriend and future husband visited and explained that the cricket was outside the room, where she had been holed up most of that week in 1972.

"This was all new to me: we didn't have trees brushing up against windows in the South Bronx," Sotomayor recalled in a speech to the Princeton Women's Network in 2002.

The freshman who was so taken aback by a cricket's chirping now has a more public challenge: Senate hearings on whether to confirm her as a Supreme Court justice, potentially the first Latina to hold such a post.

At one time, being different may have been difficult -- for it wasn't just Princeton's crickets that startled Sotomayor. The academics and the students on the leafy Gothic campus, with its ivy-covered dormitories and castle-like towers, also made her feel out of place. Read full article »

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