By Shirlene Armstrong • November 20, 2017•Writers in Residence
When I think of all of the advice I have received over the years, there are several tips that resonate in my mind. However, the most important piece of advice would not be considered advice at all. Instead, it was discouragement that ended up being my greatest flame of passion. I had always been relatively successful when it came to school and prided myself at my intellectual achievements. I knew from a very young age that I needed to go to college and I knew I wanted to become a lawyer in the 6th grade. Thus, every step I took was carefully calculated to help me reach my goals and put me on the path to success. I was ambitious, driven, and confident in my abilities. I began establishing a relationship with my high school counselors in the 11th grade, knowing I would need their assistance and guidance as a first generation student. When it came time to begin applying to colleges, I asked for help in determining what universities would be best for me. I stated that I would need a good scholarship, would not mind going to one of the "state" universities but would prefer a smaller campus, and wanted to go to law school following graduation. Imagine a young high school senior's disappointment when the counselor tells them they should not go to a university at first, if at all. Indeed, my 17-year-old self was told that despite placing in the top 1% of my class, participating in several clubs/activities, and being consistently successful, I just might not be "cut-out" for the whole university thing. Fortunately, I do not get disappointed easily. Instead, I was determined to show that counselor she was wrong. I went to a university almost 200 miles from my hometown, got accepted into the Honors college, participated in student government, became a President, and even graduated a semester early. Now, I am a 2L student at a good law school and on the fast-track to becoming an attorney. Sometimes you can receive bad advice by someone who thinks they have you figured out. However, you have to take it on yourself to look in the mirror and tell yourself otherwise.