Four years ago I was working as a Medicaid Appeals Specialist, which was a fairly satisfying but stressful job, and I was a mother to 1-year-old twins. I had been hemming and hawing for several years about my dream of attending law school but that is where it stopped. I believe I had resolved myself to “it just wasn’t meant to happen for me.” The irony was I hadn’t done anything to allow it to happen.
Inspiration can come from the strangest places. One morning I was watching a Steve Harvey interview where he was recalling a lesson his grandmother had taught him as a teenager. He explained that he had a car in the driveway on blocks that couldn’t run and he kept telling his grandmother that he wanted a new car. Each time he asked his grandmother would tell him he had a car sitting on blocks in the driveway. Finally, he broke down and asked his grandmother why she kept telling him about his broken down car in the driveway. She explained to him that he must ready himself for God’s grace. It is not enough to simply say what you want; you must prepare for it. Steve Harvey finished the story by saying as soon as he had gotten rid of the broken down car, a new one had appeared in the driveway. Wow, that story hit me like a ton of bricks. What had I done to ready myself for law school?
The same week at work I was speaking to a co-worker who was on a different kind of spiritual journey, she calls it “woo-woo,” although I am sure it has a more official name. She explained to me that this week she had a major breakthrough with her spiritual journey. She attributed the breakthrough to sending her goal in words and actions out into the universe; no longer keeping these desires internalized. Ok, now I felt like someone was trying to send me a message. This was my time to ready myself.
My process took some time but over the course of a couple years I found a more flexible job, I allowed my twins to grow a little, and I took the leap to apply to law school. Here I am now, a part-time law student readying myself for the next chapter in my career.
I wanted to share this personal journey to emphasize the need for goal setting and follow through. The next three years will be intense and stressful. Sometimes visualizing the big picture is almost too daunting so set short term and long term goals. My husband often reminded me “How does a lion eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Send your goals into the universe by saying them out loud and then prepare yourself to achieve success. Not everything in IL year is academic; set goals for networking and extracurricular activity involvement as well. You may also want to set some fitness goals to be mindful of the need for stress relief and health.
Take time to reflect on whether you are adequately preparing yourself to achieve these goals. Self-reflection can help correct course before success is out of reach. Brutal honesty is required in self-reflection. It is too easy to make excuses. Believe me, as a working mother and part-time student I could formulate a thousand excuses but none of those excuses would comfort me for falling short of my goal.
In the beginning of my first year, I set a short term goal to always being prepared for class and a long term goal of “booking” a class, which at my school means having the top grade. The first semester I spent hours reading and more reading, and more reading. I achieved my goal of preparing for each class but I fell short of booking a class. During Christmas break, I spent some time reflecting on how I could improve and better prepare myself to achieve that goal. I settled on the fact I did not dedicate enough time to practice problems and did not actively engage enough in class. The spring semester, determined to meet my goal, I continuously reflected and changed course as needed. If a study method or note taking format is not working don’t be scared to change it up. The semester ended with me booking not one but two classes. The long hours of work and the stress faded away in the glory of achieving my goal. One goal achieved, many more to go!
Mysty Blagg, RDH, BSDH, J.D. Candidate