I’m thrilled to begin the 2020 Summer Series! Not just because I’m excited of the work that fellow Lawtinas will share in this ever-changing, “new normal” world, but because we get to start off with a bang! We’re beginning with Yadilsa. Who is no stranger to Summer Series and has graciously shared her journey with us each summer. She just graduated law school and is prepping for the Bar. But what I’m more excited to share is her testimony to everyone that it can be done. You can reach your goals. We all start with some serious deficits but we have the drive, intelligence, and faith in ourselves to do it. Yadilsa is the proof:
Hermanas, I did it! After the three longest, most exhausting, and greatest years of my life, I graduated from law school. Although the circumstances aren’t ideal due to Covid-19, the joy I feel is just as overwhelming as I expected.
I want to speak to my pre-law ladies. Those of you who on one hand have the unyielding desire to be attorneys, but on the other hand have a paralyzing fear that almost convinces you that you can’t do it, you’re not smart enough, and you don’t belong. Instead of telling you the obvious, that all of those statements are unwarranted, I want to briefly share my story with you so that you can see yourself in me. I grew up in a low-income city and attended schools that failed me every step of the way. After I took the SAT, I was devastated to see that I scored a 1330 out of 2400. Yes, scary. Still, I applied to colleges and got in! When I began, I learned that I was extremely behind my peers, academically. For example, in order to take the course that satisfied the writing requirement, I had to take, not one, but two remedial classes. Yeah, my ego was bruised! Still, I forged on and welcomed every academic development opportunity that came my way. Fast forward a few years, I graduated from College Cum Laude and got into law school and quickly excelled!
I say this all to say that your pre-college education, low standardized test scores, academic insecurities, etc. DON’T define you. Instead, you should use those experiences as motivation to chase your goals. Plenty of people have praised me because, to them, attending law school is an unattainable goal. My response to them is that I am not unique, my story is not uncommon, and attending law school is within our possibilities. Although I did not have certain privileges that would’ve made my journey easier, I, like many of you, have grit and the unyielding desire to succeed.
It is important to know that struggles with insecurities do not end at graduation. For me, they have followed me and creep in when bar prep gets tuff. The uncertainty that we are all facing during this pandemic makes this process even more daunting. To ward off those thoughts, I force myself to look back at my life to remind myself that I am a badass that has beat the odds by getting to this moment and I am months away from achieving my dream. When I wake up in the morning, I remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for: health, a supportive family, a career that I love, and friends who I admire. I remind myself that I am not only doing this for myself; I am doing it for my ancestors, my descendants, and all of the boys and girls of color that need me to succeed so that I can be a role model and one day advocate for them.
Never forget that no one can keep US down. “We were supposed to fail a long time ago, but look at us now, striving for greatness.”