Law School,  Legal Practice

Summer Series: Facing Fears

Our Summer Series continues! This series highlights different Latina students and law grads as they embark in their summer jobs and/or bar prep all across the country. We hope to provide a variety of work experiences, options for a healthy work-life balance, and general motivation through different guest contributors to help you to take charge of your summer and professional goals!  Today we hear from Wilmary. She has attended law school while working full-time as a teacher. And as she enters her third year of a four year program, she takes the plunge of leaving one career with faith that she will excel in another. 

As a first-generation Latina, I never believed that I could go to law school. However, one day I placed all my hesitations and doubts aside, and decided to take the plunge. Consequently, I had to accept that my teaching career would have to come to an end. Therefore, I am using this summer to embrace being a law student, and to find my place within the law community.

When I told my high school students that I was in law school and I was no longer going to be a teacher, my students all smiled and clapped. My students’ applause gave me a sense of relief because they understood why I was leaving teaching to become a lawyer. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make because I taught high school science for five years and loved every part of it.

However, despite my love for teaching, ever since my first day I always felt like I wanted to do more for my students beyond the classroom. By working with my students, I realized that I could make a bigger impact on their life as a protector of their rights as an attorney.

I am in my third year of a four-year law program in Los Angeles, CA. It still feels strange to call myself a law student, and even stranger that teaching will be a thing of the past. The choice to make the career change was scary for me, because it was risky and plus I never really saw myself as a lawyer.

Fortunately, the situation has allowed me to face my fears and overcome my insecurities. One of the reasons I didn’t think I would be able to survive law school was my writing. As an English Language Learner in grade school, I did not do well on written exams. Thus, I was fearful of the intense law school exams which required a lot of writing. But after facing my fears by taking the plunge into my first year of law school, I proved myself wrong. I wasn’t only surviving law school, but I was excelling. One of my essays on the First-year law students’ examination (Baby Bar) was published on the State Bar of California site. (editor’s note: we will be discussing the Cali Baby Bar in a few weeks!)  Also, my law school honored me with an award because I received the highest grade in my Civil Procedure class. I am proud of my law school accomplishments because they affirm my decision in making the career change.

As I put a close to my teaching career, and I begin to seek law opportunities, I realize that I have a long journey ahead of me and a lot to learn. Even though I had many successes my first two years of law school, I know that I must keep pushing to work hard if I want to one day become a successful attorney.

One Comment

  • Nicole L.

    Thanks for sharing this! I am Brazilian and English is my second language. This has been terrifying me because I feel like I will always be behind other regular students in law school. I will not let this be in the way of my dream of becoming an attorney in the U.S. 🙂

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