191: Why Your Life Does Not Have to Follow a Traditional Timeline

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The average age of a first-year law school student is about 24. And so when someone spends years in another profession and decides to try their hand at law later in life, it becomes a little complicated. For one, deciding to go to law school is a big decision, no matter the age. It demands huge financial commitments and significant time sacrifices. Add the age bias present in many industries and it can be challenging for older candidates to gain admission to law schools, secure internships, or find employment after graduation. 

But there’s no doubt that it’s always worth the sacrifice if a person has always wanted to practice law. While it’s natural for people starting their professional life over to feel frustrated, don’t let fears about being “too old” be a deterrent in deciding whether to go to law school. After all, as first-gens, we don’t follow traditional timelines. We write our own stories.

Kimberly’s Reasons for Studying Law – 06:05

Many dream of going to law school, but few ever achieve that dream, and even fewer manage to graduate from law school successfully. Law is one of the few fields that offers students a wide range of career options. But the question is, why do you want to go to law school? Or, let’s be more specific, what do you want to do with your law degree? For some people, the power, prestige, and money that comes with a law degree is too enticing to resist. Others want to change the world, while others have no idea what they want to do and find themselves going to law school by default. 

For Kimberly, she believes practicing law is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding career. Plus, her history in the child welfare system pushed her to want to help in changing the world. We all know that to have an impact in our communities, we have to start with children. That’s why Kimberly is on the path towards family law. 

How to Stay Grounded During Stressfull Situations – 12:43

If you often have flashbacks to painful memories or struggle with anxiety, you’re not alone. Most people unknowingly go through periods of extreme stress and struggle to make sense of what might be eating them up. So, if you find your body reacting some type way during specific periods of time, remember, your body is never wrong. The first step to dealing with this would be practicing mindfulness. Given its name, most people assume mindfulness is something to do with the mind when infact, our bodies are often an easy way into mindfulness and help us reduce stress. 

Kimberly explains that everybody should have coping strategies that help put them back in touch with the present moment. It could be a prayer, it could be taking a nap, or it could be talking to someone. Nonetheless, practicing these exercises when distressed or anxious brings us back to the present and breaks the anxiety cycle. 

Why is Law School Hard? – 19:45

Law school is hard. And some students even believe law school is made intentionally hard. But for the most part, law school is hard because law students have to consume large volumes of complex legal information and pass challenging and competitive law school exams. Further, whatever students do in class sometimes has little relationship to what they’ll be tested on. This is an intentional strategy meant to stimulate students intellectually and push them to a new understanding of legal theories and concepts.  

All in all, Kimberly believes that nothing in life comes easy. And the people who are willing to fight for what they want never complain when life gives them lemons. So, whatever you’re fighting for in life, it’s always best to ensure that the struggle is meaningful. 

How Do You Define Success and Luxury? – 26:15

For the most part, being successful in one way, shape, or form is something everybody wants in life. However, what differs is our definition of success. Is it an external recognition from our peers and colleagues or internal peace, joy, and love? Unfortunately, we all too often adopt other people’s versions of success without really questioning why. Kimberly believes that achieving things that look like success to others but don’t bring lasting satisfaction or fulfillment in our personal lives is the ultimate betrayal. And just like success, luxury ultimately comes down to what you believe is luxurious. For example, someone might see luxury as spending a week in the Maldives, while your local plumber might see luxury as the ability to charge whatever he or she wants for a plumbing job. So, however you choose to define luxury or success, always make sure it’s your definition.  

Kimberly J. Martin is currently a student attorney for the Child Welfare Clinic of Howard University School of Law where she is pursuing her juris doctor degree. As an aspiring attorney, Kimberly is driven by a fierce and fiery passion to impact youth and families, ultimately impacting the future for generations to come. Amidst hundreds of candidates, Kimberly was chosen to intern with the American Bar Association’s Youth at Risk division where she is gaining firsthand experience at addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth and young adults. With hopes of eventually becoming a judge within the family court system, she has already proven herself to be a powerful advocate. Connect with Kimberly J. Martin through LinkedIn.