I think I stumbled into it truly by accident. Staring across the other side of the middle school library, the only thing I can see in my tunnel vision is him. We are only supposed to be talking about our middle school experiences and how we can better the experience of others.
The teacher announced prompts and divided the room into two sides: agree and disagree. Whatever side you were on, you argued your thoughts as to why you believe what you believe.
Before this, I don’t think I was conscious of my own beliefs. I floated through most of my intermediary education like a moldable cog, believing and saying what everyone else was telling me to believe and say.
Except for when it came to that boy. That stupid eighth-grade boy argued that middle school popularity would ultimately leave to a satisfactory career and happiness over time. I immediately shot my hand and the air and counted on my fingertips every reason why he was wrong. I felt my face grow hot and my words grow strong, as my classmates stared at me all thinking a conjoined thought: “Where did that come from?”
Later, while waiting for my bus, I was joined by my principal. He approached me and smiled saying, “Annie, you did phenomenal at the debate. You should consider being a lawyer someday.” He walked away as if he simply were a messenger spreading the word of the Lord. What he didn’t know was he instilled in me a great purpose, a longing for something that I so badly wanted to achieve. I was going to be a lawyer.
This journey of self-discovery continued in my high school career, as I joined the mock trial team as a witness as soon as I could. I was a terrible witness in the lawsuit. I stumbled over my words and forgot the facts of the case as faux attorneys grilled me for what seemed like hours on end.
My small group of all female attorneys quietly hung our heads in the loss that year, as teams from other schools crowded the stage in victory. In my junior year, I rose to the role of attorney. My co-council and I balanced each other well. I was loud, stubborn and obnoxious while she was quiet, to the point and persuasive. My brass and bossy words must have clicked with the judges, as I won the Best Attorney award.
I was on a high that would last me through the whole weekend, framing my award and telling everyone I could about the trial. In my senior year, the all-girl team made it to regionals. We were the first all-female mock trial team to ever make it there, and the victory was glorious. I remember feeling so invincible and so comforted by my career choice. I knew deep down that this was the path for me. I knew that helping move underrepresented groups to the forefront was what my purpose truly was. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Going into college, I carried this feeling with me almost every day. I studied hard and longed to make the best grades and put extra care and time into projects I knew would make an impression on potential law schools. As a journalism major, I enjoyed writing and reading the news and tackling stories I knew would mean something to people.
I went to law seminars and joined the pre-law club. Last summer, I was accepted into the Rob Brown Pre-Law Prep Program at St. John’s University School of Law, where I took introductory law courses and connected with other law students all across the country.
This summer, I hope to join the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor College Internship Program in New York, where I can further my introduction to legal education and familiarize myself with law schools and other law students my age.
Comparison is hard not to do, especially when it comes to other law students and factors such as LSAT scores, law school acceptances and program connections. I struggle to remain grounded to my roots and to remind myself that law school is a major undertaking especially at only 20 years old. My purpose stays instilled in my brain, like a white-hot brand on my frontal lobe. Do this so you can help others on a mass scale. Do this so that you can make a difference in everyday lives.
I still have a long way to go in my law school journey, but as I near application season, I hope that my purpose and my love of the law can still ring true. Elle Woods, the trailblazer for us legally blondes, said it best, “You must always have faith in people, and most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”
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Hi, I’m Holly Liptak, a senior journalism student from Akron and the editor-in-chief of The Burr this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you interesting, humorous and hard-hitting stories that tap into current events, trends and the lives of those who have made a home in Kent, Ohio. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.
Annie Zwisler is a junior journalism major at Kent State and senior editor for The Burr. Annie also minors in pre-law as she hopes to become a practicing attorney. Along with The Burr, Annie is the president of Flash Harmony, a Kent acapella group. She also is a graduate of the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, apple pie and the TBS hit sitcom “New Girl.”