By Samantha Clarke • June 09, 2014•Careers, Nonprofits and the Public Interest, Law School, Other Law School Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
When I received my acceptance letter, my mother and I did a happy dance in the living room. My dream came true – I was going to law school! I started my photography business about 2 years earlier and so naturally I packed my things along with my camera gear, without batting an eyelash. I was determined to continue being creative and moved from Toronto to Ottawa to begin my journey.
The choice wasn't a surprise to the ones closest to me. They believed I could do it all. Before law, I managed extra-curricular activities while studying since elementary school. To them this wasn't new. After all, I got a scholarship and moved from Toronto, Ontario to Orangeburg, South Carolina like it was nothing. I played volleyball during undergrad – all while graduating with honors. I've always pursued my passions full throttle. After graduation, I worked in Georgia before moving back to Ontario to begin my Masters. Then with the help of some friends and my family, I started to learn the ins and outs of the wedding photography industry.
The decision to continue working as a photographer through law school was one that I knew was right for me. I'll admit, it was no easy path. But I've never been a quitter, plus my art means a lot to me. Through the rough patches, my creativity has carried me through. Being able to create lifetime memories for amazing and inspirational people genuinely makes me happy.
I enjoyed my law school experience, but let's face it; I just didn't get the same satisfaction. I found that the more I put into my studies the less I got in return - and the emptier I felt. Instead I struck a balance and studied through my first, second, and third year of law school while operating a busy photography business - that I'm quite proud of.
My hope for creatives entering law school is that you don't stop doing whatever it is you love. I believe that law school can lead to a meaningful career, but I challenge those that choose the all or nothing approach. When I made my decision to continue as a photographer, I had no idea what I would be able to achieve. I had the privilege of being published in international publications like EBONY and Munaluchi Bride Magazine. I also had the opportunity to travel across Canada, the US and twice to the Caribbean to photograph the most beautiful weddings EVER.
Along the way, I met some incredible people that have touched my life in some way. And had the chance to merge my art with law through working with various law school clubs and non-profit organizations.
I can only hope this short piece inspires others to use and capitalize on their creative gifts instead of stifling them. I believe that law school is a great opportunity to find out what makes you unique in what could easily be a sea of sameness.