About the Author
I’ve been a legal assistant for the last 6 years of my life. I thought I was content, even decided to go on to a paralegal certificate program. It was through that paralegal certificate program, and by working for a firm of well-versed attorneys that I realized I would like to pursue law school and become a lawyer myself. To pursue my dreams of attending law school I must first finish my bachelor’s degree, study and take the LSAT, and get through the application process….all while working full-time.
There have certainly been many obstacles along my journey. For starters, I am a first generation college student. In other words, college just wasn’t on the agenda and was rarely spoken of. In fact, if ever discussed, my parents regarded higher education in an exclusionary context; college was for those “other” people who come from a long line of college educated intellectuals. It wasn’t until I grew wiser that I realized I could easily change that by being the change I wanted to see in my family. Feelings about my pursuit of higher education have been mixed. While for the most part my family seems happy about what I am doing, there is also a misunderstanding about what it is I’m actually pursuing as well as fear that I will no longer relate to my family. My parents aren’t really familiar with what a bachelor’s degree is nor what it takes to pursue law school. So when I tell them that I was accepted to “Prestigious School of Law” they smile and say, “great” but they do not really know what that means – their lack of enthusiasm makes this clear.
Second, it is very difficult to study for the LSAT, maintain a high-grade point average, participate in extracurriculars, and still keep one’s sanity intact while working full-time in a very stressful profession. As my fellow paralegals will agree, it can be very difficult to leave the office at 5:00 every day or to leave work drama at work. There are deadlines to meet, problems to solve, and sometimes hands to hold which can often require the attention intended to be reserved for college studies. On top of that, juggling everything can be very exhausting. It’s very hard to take a full-time course load and work full-time because this means that every free time you have must be spent on completing assignments. I work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and have classes from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On top of that, I take at least one online class a semester so that I can complete a full-time course load. My study schedule is typically from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays. If I can’t complete everything in the weekend I have to get up early during the week (usually around 5:00 a.m.) to try to pick up whatever I couldn’t complete. For me, this takes a lot of dedication.
Knowing that I was doing all of this for law school was extremely motivating and it helped me take into consideration what sort of classes or extracurricular activities I wanted to be involved in. Maintaining a high-grade point average was of course very important but I also wanted to get involved on-campus to demonstrate my dedication to social justice. Having the ability to shape my resume was a blessing.
As of December, 2010 I have applied to 8 law schools. 3 were safeties, 2 were targets, and 3 were reaches. I have been accepted with full-tuition scholarships to all 3 of my safeties; accepted to all 3 of my target schools and even accepted to one of my reaches. Seeing my hardwork pay off has been such a relief; but it has also motivated me to continue striving to be the best possible scholar, advocate, and one day – lawyer, that I can be.
Follow me as I follow my dreams on my journey from paralegal to lawyerhood.