Saturday, August 17, 2013

Law School!!!

It has been over two months since my last blog post.  SO much has happened and I wanted to post an update...and sadly, probably a "goodbye" for at least a few months.  First, and the most exciting news of all, I started LAW SCHOOL!!!  I had written several posts before regarding this upcoming life change, but it has finally happened.  This past year has been a test of faith and a lesson in trusting the Lord and my family and friends.  I left the police department in May 2012 to pursue a career as a legal assistant, take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and then apply for law school admission for the fall of 2013.  I achieved all of those goals with the strength I sought in God, hard work, and the support of everyone around me, namely my incredible, loving, amazing beyond my wildest dreams, and Godly husband!  I applied for 5 law schools in December 2012, Duke, UNC, Campbell, NC Central, and Elon.  I was accepted to Elon with a scholarship, but it is 1.5 hours from our home, so it was going to be a difficult venture commuting so far each day, so that was a last resort.  I then was accepted into Campbell Law which was my second choice.  I had visited Campbell several times and met with some amazing people in the admissions office to discuss my candidacy.  I felt at home, welcomed, and loved at Campbell Law from the very beginning.  My one and only qualm about getting my legal education at Campbell was the cost...for the first time, I was to be accruing student debt and both Jordan and I were fearful about the staggering cost of any legal education, especially that of a private school.  I did not get into Duke Law (no real surprise there lol), and I also didn't receive admission into NC Central Law (which, honestly, did surprise me, but God has a plan).  Central though, was the smartest financial choice, at half the cost of UNC Law and one third the cost of Campbell Law.  I was waitlisted at UNC which really did surprise me immensely because I was almost certain I would get rejected.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I could perform satisfactorily on the LSAT, let alone, with my less than stellar undergraduate GPA, and only my work experience to show an admissions staff, gain admission to ANY law school.  I can look back and see that while I was as unsure as I had ever been of anything in my life, taking the chance and trusting the urging of the Lord to step out in faith and follow what I felt called to pursue was the best thing I could have done.  Not only was I not guaranteed a good LSAT score or admission to law school, but I had left my career in a shaky time in our economy with no job lined up to help contribute to our household.

I have worked since I was 14 (during the summers off from school, and later in high school and college, some during school).  It was instilled very early in the depths of me to work hard, earn what you have, and keep commitments by my mom and dad.  For that, I am SO grateful.  Work ethic is a fading attribute in our culture and without my parents, I fear I would be lacking in that as well.  With that being said, it was very hard for me personally to be home with nothing to do and earning no income.  I would have liked to say that I got my value from my identity in Christ and not from the fact that I was a police officer or that I was contributing well to society and my household, but the truth is, being unemployed rocked me to my core.  In retrospect, I think I was struggling with some depression during the few months between leaving the police department and finding my job as a legal assistant.  I applied for many positions, but heard nothing.

Finally, in July of 2012, after two and a half months of couch sitting and sorrow, I got an interview with a law office, a stellar one.  I nailed it and got a part-time position 25 hours a week.  I was ecstatic.  I wasn't going to be earning much, mostly because I didn't ask for much.  I told the attorney from the beginning that I planned to go to law school in 2013, and I didn't feel right asking for anything close to what I earned as a police officer with the knowledge that this was a stepping stone and I would be leaving in a year's time.  I loved my job though!  The attorney, the other assistant, and the attorney who shared office space, and would later hire me as his assistant as well and increase my hours, became a family to me.  I miss them already and have only been gone a week.  I gained invaluable experience with the, they nurtured me during unsure times, celebrated with me upon my admissions into schools, and cried with me when I didn't get in off of the wait list to UNC Law.  

All in all, God had a plan for me.  I made thousands of mistakes in my life, but He has worked them all for good.  Strange circumstances led me to become a police officer, and stranger circumstances led me leave that career to pursue law.  I feel totally in the right place at this moment an have only God to thank.  I know for sure, as evidence by so much of my life, that when I try to do it alone, I fail, but when I trust my heavenly Father, things work for good.  I am not always happy, and things are not always going perfectly, but joy pervades in my life when I follow him, and I am so thankful.

I wanted to add one more thing about the UNC Law wait list.  I prayed daily about getting in to UNC.  The school has a reputation for excellence and the cost was ideal for me.  To be honest, I really really wanted to get in.  I was so honest with God about my fears and desires, but I still wanted his way, not mine in the end.  I stayed in contact with an admissions staff member at UNC law bi-weekly, and the last time we emailed was mid-July.  I asked candidly if she thought the wait list would progress in a way that would allow me to attend UNC Law, and she answered candidly as well, (I'm paraphrasing...) "probably not." At that moment, with a single tear, I prepared myself to attend Campbell Law.  I was able to put UNC Law's wait list out of my head and start to get excited for the school that actually accepted me :)  Truly I loved Campbell Law from the start and the only thing holding me back from it being my first choice was the cost.  Through all of this, I have learned that finances are secondary, God will take care of it.  He has led me here, and He won't keep food off of our table when I get out of law school.  He provides for all of his creatures and this is no exception.  I trust him (and my wonderful husband) to lead me financially.  I feel so free and so very happy to be beginning my legal education at Campbell Law.

Orientation was this past week and it was a whirlwind!!  I did everything from hauling a rolling suitcase FULL of 1L books from my car (which was about 3 blocks away) to my locker to having the opportunity to meet the chief justice on the Supreme Court of NC and asking her how her career in law led her to become a judge.  I even got to have a conversation with a superior court judge in Wake County about his journey from Campbell Law to where he is now.  I am a little intimidated by all the talk of "you will have no free time ever again" and "1L year is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life" but I am really excited at the same time.  I know I can do this.  God has equipped me well and will lead me through this.

Today is Saturday, and while I planned to sleep in before beginning mountains (no seriously...) of homework, I woke up WIDE awake at 6:30 AM (an extreme rarity for me) and all I could think about was "oh man, I gotta start NOW."  I made a cup of coffee, and typed my heart out here, and now begins preparation for my first (real) day of classes Monday.  Wish me luck, pray for me and my family, and thanks for reading...I'll see y'all in December!!


1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Melissa! Campbell is a great Law School, always remember that God's plan is far greater than you could have ever imagined.

    Best of Luck!