Name: Symone Joi Crawford Hometown: Greenwood, Mississippi  Alma Mater(s): Greenwood High School , The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff  Major/ Field of Study: English Liberal Arts 

Jen: Tell us a little about yourself?
Graduate: Salutations! I’m just a little ole gal from a small town called Greenwood,Mississippi. Although our state is known for cotton, casinos, and country cuisines, I’m known for being just simply me-Symone Joi Crawford! I try to live by prayer and motivate myself through music. “I stand up next to a mountain, and chop it down with the edge of my hand”. Those lyrics by Jimi Hendrix sum up my life. I’ve been through numerous trials and tribulations while trying to find my identity and purpose in this lifetime, and my determination has brought me so far.

I was raised by my father and older brother after I lost my mother to breast cancer.  My parents were both college grads and instilled in me the magnitude of education and the importance of giving back to those who have helped along the way. It truly does take a village to raise a child. Although I lost my mother at the age of 6, I remember her gregarious spirit and I am constantly reminded how much she has helped people through her work as a District Attorney. She is one of my biggest role models because she continued to help people while struggling through her own problems. She was what I pictured a “super hero” or “Wonder Woman”.  I am now a 22 year old graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff , fiancé to my best friend, and aspiring Attorney. 

Jen: What degree did you obtain?
Graduate:   On May 11, 2019 I received my Bachelors of Arts in English Liberal Arts. 

Jen: What inspired you to get this degree? 
Graduate: From an early age, I knew I wanted to go into law. Throughout elementary I was teased and bullied for “talking proper” and having interest in various music genres. I took it and ran with it!  I starting speaking for my church, school programs, and graduation. When I got to college, I thought English would be a good foundation for law. The long nights of researching, reading, and critical analysis  were a bit tedious sometimes. English non teaching allowed me to learn more about the grammatical punctuations and history of the language.

Jen: What do you plan to do with your degree? What are your next steps?
Graduate:  I’m currently job searching for legal assistant positions in the Pine Bluff and Little Rock areas. I am also in the process of deciding to enter the MPA program this fall then applying for law school next Fall as they offer a dual program , or taking a year off and apply strictly to law school. 

Jen: What was the most challenging aspect of obtaining your degree?
Graduate:  The most challenging aspect would be the amount of discipline it took to read and properly research numerous plays, novels, and poems while being active in so many organizations. It was hard to balance work, school, and activities. I spent many nights and early morning doing homework. Sometimes I’d have to sacrifice when I would eat to make sure I submitted my work and be on time for band practice or work. 

Jen: What does this degree mean for you?
Graduate: This degree means that regardless of what I go through , I will be successful. It does not determine where I can go. Although I had straight A’s throughout middle school and high school, I lacked so much confidence in myself. I didn’t think I would make it to college because I was so depressed and battled so much anxiety. Now that I’ve obtained my BA I can truly say that I can pursue anything I put my mind and effort to. I hear so many people say “everyone can’t be a lawyer” , “law isn’t for everyone”. As true as those words may be to some people , I see it as a challenge to push myself and go after what I truly want and have dreamt of for so long. 

Jen: What advice can you give others who wish to pursue this degree?
Graduate: English is not an easy subject to study!  It takes a lot of time management and focus. It is a fun subject because you learn different words that we have borrowed from other languages, when we borrowed them , and when they became a word. My best advice is to use dry erase boards to organize the amount of assignments you will you. Using highlighters in text, being familiar with your libraries research database, and having study sessions are all helpful. 

Jen: What advice can you give to the family and friends of those who wish to take this path?
Graduate: Be supportive! College can be a really hard transition for some people. Sometimes it is a cultural shock or even a little overwhelming for others. A text or call every other day with a sweet message can go a long way.  Be involved! Check to see if there are any events or activities that may be approaching for the students. A test, a performance, a probate can all cause a little anxiety. Even if you can’t make it show some form of motivation , and /or concern. 

Jen: We all know we don’t do it by ourselves. Who was instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and dream?

Graduate: Literally everyone! Parents, Older Brother, Family, Fiancée  Teachers, Band directors, Sorority Sisters, Friends. And of course my play sister and role model Ms.JenTheJD!

Jen: Any last remarks?
Graduate: I am beyond blessed to have met you and share some of my life milestones with you. You were there for me when I reached out for help with the LSAT and you never stopped pushing me even when I lost a little hope after my first attempt. You were there for my probate after I decided to follow my mothers legacy in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. You have been more than a great role model and mentor for me during my internship at City Hall. You were there even when I just wanted to talk and get advice as a young woman in our world today.   Thank you for everything! 

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