Law school is hard. Everyone knows that, but it’s not just hard academically, it’s difficult on an emotional level. Students are used to being the smartest in the room and we’re stripped down and re-structured so that we can think like a lawyer. This teaching model was very much created with one type of student in mind. When we are not like the “typical” law student we can struggle mightily to succeed.
Today we have a guest post from J, a current law student, who wants to share that struggle with us. I think it’s important for us to see the grit, determination, and fight we often have to do as Latinxs to advance and achieve our educational goals because journey to J.D. is not often pretty. I remember when I was given my slip of paper telling me what my rank was after my first semester and my heart dropped. How could I be so bad at this? How could I ever succeed? It was a mind screw, but I picked myself up and kept on going–J has kept on going as well:
Hello, my name is J and my world was turned upside down when I opened my correspondence I was met with the words “I regret to inform you that due to your fall 2015 grades you have been academically dismissed.” The news hit like a ton of brick. I could not believe that after one semester of law school my dreams of becoming an attorney were over. The next step was the most challenging and it was was to tell my parents.
“No te des por vencida, porque en esta vida se tiene que luchar, y tienes que seguir luchando.” I was hearing those words from my father when in the midst of tears, I told him about the dismissal. Despite the encouragement from my father, the next three days I was overcome with sadness and my body would shake uncontrollably. I was not going to give up on my dreams, therefore so I decided that I would appeal my dismissal. Through my faith in God I found the strength to start writing my appeal letter. The process of appealing a dismissal requires the student to attend a class for three weeks and attend a hearing where the academic committee questions you on why you did not do well in the classes. Before the hearing I spoke to all of my professors from the previous semester, and they all said that they would send great evaluations to the committee. I remained positive, but the day of the hearing the committee was short and my reasons for not doing well did not fair with them. Unfortunately, a few days later I received another letter informing me that my appeal got denied.
After receiving this letter I had to decide whether to move on to a career different path, or fight for the dream that burned in my heart. Needless to say I chose the latter. I did my research and I reapplied to two schools that accepted dismissed students. In the mean time I found a temporary position as a legal assistant for a family law attorney. My situation was becoming brighter, but I could not let go of that fact that I had failed out of law school. I had the intuition that there was something wrong. There was only one way to find out, so I got tested for learning disabilities. The results of my examinations states that I have ADD. I felt relieved! My shortcomings in law school were not because I wasn’t smart enough, my brain just processes information differently. This was the missing link that patched a way for a stronger me that would take on law school once again.
I was accepted to both schools I had applied to. One of them was an admittance and the other was a conditional acceptance. I chose the school with a conditional acceptance because it was closer to home. In order to enroll in the fall I had to pass a four -week summer class. Every week we would take exams and I was improving each week. A few days after the class I opened up my email and this time I was met with the words “Congratulations you have been accepted.” I’m happy to say that I started my 1L year for the second time con mas ganas que nunca por luchar por mis suenos!
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