Meet Graduate Aundreya Sanders

Meet Graduate Aundreya Sanders

Name: Aundreya Sanders

Hometown: Wilmot, AR

Alma Mater(s): UALR

Major/ Field of Study: Political Science; Law

Jen: Tell us a little about yourself?
Graduate: I hate this question because I never know what to say.  I was born and raised in Arkansas along with my brother by a single mother.  I attended UALR for undergrad where I obtained my bachelors in Political Science.  The semester following graduation, I began law school at Bowen as a part-time student.

Jen: What degree did you obtain?
Graduate: JD

Jen: What inspired you to get this degree?
Graduate: I have always been the person that makes sure everyone’s problems are solved and they are taken care of.  Growing up, I thought the way that I could help others was through teaching. As I got older, I began to learn of the injustices that minority communities face in the criminal justice system.  I met my first lawyer in 7th grade and was immediately intrigued by the profession, and after that meeting, I knew that the legal field was my calling.

Jen: What do you plan to do with your degree? What are your next steps?
Graduate: My ultimate career goal is to practice criminal defense.  At the moment, I am just seeking adequate employment after being a broke law student for the last four years (LOL).  I am open to exploring different fields of the law, however the motivation behind me attending law school was to serve my community and fight against injustices, so I hope to enter the criminal field sooner rather than later.

Jen: What was the most challenging aspect of obtaining your degree?
Graduate: I struggled the most with all of the unknown that comes with law school, especially during my first year.  I didn’t have a family member or mentor to reach out to to ask about a case brief or outlining, and that was really difficult.  Besides that, law school takes a toll mentally and physically.  I had to develop a routine that consisted of self-care as well as healthy eating and exercising in order to stay strong throughout the semesters.  Of course I dealt with self-doubt many times, but when that happens, I would always take a step back and look at past writing assignments or realize that I actually did understand a case that seemed really complicated the first time I read it.

Jen: What does this degree mean for you?
Graduate: This degree is what I’ve been working for my whole life.  Actually being done with school still doesn’t feel real and it’s a very bittersweet occasion.  Obtaining this degree means that I’ve accomplished one of the biggest goals that I’ve set myself.  In addition to that, I feel like it’s another step in reaching my purpose.

Jen: What advice can you give others who wish to pursue this degree?
Graduate: First, I would have to say lose the “I’m smart” mindset because every one of your classmates is smart as well; being smart in undergrad and law school is not the same.  Another piece of advice is to find what works for you in order to retain the information.  My GPA from my first year to my second year definitely reflected that I had no idea what I was doing my first year, but after reaching out to other students, I found out how I studied and took notes and my grades improved because of that.  Finally, you’ll feel like giving up more than you can imagine, but don’t.

Jen: What advice can you give to the family and friends of those who wish to take this path?
Graduate: I think it’s really important for family and friends to understand the time constraints that are placed on students between reading cases, working, and also trying to maintain some type of normal life.  Being understanding of the workload and stress is the best thing loved ones can do.

Jen: We all know we don’t do it by ourselves. Who was instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and dream?
Graduate: Definitely my family.  Also the employers who took a chance on me and encouraged me to keep going.

Jen: How has Covid-19 affected you?
Graduate: The biggest affect has been trying to secure a job.  Besides that, the pandemic prematurely ended my last semester and the memories that would have came with that.  Another big affect was the cancelling of the graduation ceremony to celebrate the past years of hardwork, however, the pandemic didn’t stop the credentials and degree and that’s what’s most important.

Jen: Thank you Graduate!


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