By Shirlene Armstrong • December 28, 2018
I am currently in my final year of law school. I have been doing a lot of reflecting on where I came from, where I am going, and what my journey has in store for me next. You have listened to my first generation success story thus far as I have recounted the trials and tribulations that I have experienced throughout my legal journey (to this point). I am currently about to head into my last semester of law school. Soon I will graduate and begin preparation for the bar exam. Fortunately, I have a contingent offer of employment at my law firm. Meaning, once I pass the bar (and go through the admittance process) I will be a full-fledged attorney at my firm. So that is my story to this spot in my life. The rest is unwritten as I continue my journey.
Now what can you take away from the struggles and successes that I have had thus far? Here are some tips for you:
- Know where to get information
- Actually use said information
- Find your group (cliche, etc)
- Find strong mentors
- NETWORK (seriously though)
- Never turn down an opportunity
- Say yes to everything*
- *Know when you need to say no
- Work smart
- Don’t reinvent the wheel
- Take time to yourself
- Don’t forget your loved ones!
- Do things that make you happy
- Take classes, assignments, and/or opportunities seriously
- Give 110% even if you only feel like you can give 10%
- Learn from your mistakes
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Use resources available to you
- Take breaks
- Reflect, revisit, renew!
One of my greatest fears in life is not being successful. Before starting law school, I was anxious that I wouldn’t succeed, wouldn’t get a summer job, and would never be an attorney, successful or not. However, my attitude has transformed so much since day 1 of school. I know I can be successful and I have been. I have an excellent job at a firm I love, I have gained numerous opportunities to learn more and be successful, and I have several friends and mentors who I rely on for support and encouragement. From one first gen to another, know that you can do it. Yes, sometimes it will seem unfair that you have to work harder. Yes, it may be frustrating when you do 10 times the work or take on more opportunities. However, this just makes you a stronger law student and attorney. So be confident in yourself! You CAN and WILL be successful!
Success does not happen overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and countless sleepless nights. But at the end of the day, it is all worth it. You are taking steps closer to your dreams and making it through this crazy legal journey yourself, like me. So thank you for tuning into the “first generation success story” series. It has been a great year and I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you in your success story!