Who remembers being a carefree child and always having an idea of what you wanted to be when you grew up? Some of us wanted to be actors, teachers, firemen, doctors, serve in the military, etc. For me, my family and I always knew that I would be a lawyer or pursue some form of career in the legal field. Our family and society may have inspired or influenced which path we ultimately took but without our own dedication and perseverance, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Dedication: “Your self-sacrificing devotion to your purpose in life and your unwavering faith will carry you through times of difficulty”- Martin Luther King Jr.
Pursuing a legal career is very time consuming, as in majority of the states, you need to have first received a four year degree to qualify for a school’s law admittance program. Upon receiving my Bachelors degree in Political Science, I questioned whether I really wanted to pursue a legal career, which at minimum would take another three years of education. I told myself that I didn’t want to be a “career student” while all of my friends were accepting job positions or starting families, but I knew that in order to achieve my goals, that I set for myself when I was younger, I would have to be dedicated to continuing my education and putting forth the work.
Once I graduated with my Bachelors, I then obtained my Paralegal Certificate within one year. I figured since my undergrad university didn’t offer a law major program, in order to test myself in determining whether I still wanted to embark on the legal field journey, the best way to do it was to enroll in a local school and pursue my Paralegal Certificate. After obtaining my Paralegal Certificate, I then prepared for and took the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and applied to numerous law schools while simultaneously working.
The law school that I chose happened to be more than 14 hours away from South Carolina and Georgia, which meant that my time with family and friends was going to be even more limited and restricted. Nonetheless, I moved and completed my J.D. (Juris Doctor) program within three years. Those three years definitely weren’t easy and if I didn’t remain dedicated to the process, I probably would have packed my bags and relocated back south immediately!
Perseverance: “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish”- John Quincy Adams
Even after you’ve walked across that stage to receive your J.D., you still know that there is one final test in which you have to pass, which is the infamous Bar Exam. Every Bar taker’s goal is to be “one and done”. Meaning that the first time you take it, you want it to be your last time unless you decide on your own accord to get licensed in another state.
The reality of the Bar exam is that unfortunately, everyone is not going to be part of that “one and done” class. It took me awhile to realize and accept the fact that my time was not always going to be the same as my former classmates, friends, or colleagues. Not passing the Bar exam on your first try doesn’t define how “smart” or “intelligent” an individual is or how successful they will be as an attorney.
Statistics show that an examinee’s chance of passing the Bar exam decreases with every failed attempt and the time lapse between when the examinee graduated from law school and is sitting for the exam also has an effect on its pass rate. It’s also not recommended that you work full time while studying for the exam.
After joining the TMX Finance® Family of Companies (a company that prides itself on performance, talent and culture) in October 2016 as a Litigation Paralegal, I decided in 2019 that I would once again re-sit for the Bar. Though the odds of passing were not in my favor, I was able to defy those odds and pass the exam while also working full-time. This was far from an easy process and many days I literally felt like a real-life walking zombie, especially since I did not take time off from work to study.
Don’t give up on your goals
One of the main keys to success is remaining positive and trusting both the journey and process. A bad attitude, pessimism and the feelings of defeat will stump your growth. If I chose to sulk in the trials and tribulations that life threw at me over the past few years, I would have never ultimately reached my goal of passing the Bar. In fact, not only did I pass but I exceeded the minimum score requirement for my licensed state and can transfer my score to any other jurisdiction that offers the UBE (Uniform Bar Exam).
I say all of this to encourage anyone reading to pursue whichever goal or dream they may have placed on the back burner for any reason. No goal, dream, program idea, etc. is too small or too big to put forth the effort in achieving. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to challenge yourself and grow both personally and professionally. Most importantly, remember that delayed doesn’t mean denied!