Name: Keleigh Williams
Hometown: Sierra Vista, AZ
Alma Mater(s): Mississippi College School of Law
Major/ Field of Study: JD!
Jen: Tell us a little about yourself?
Graduate: Growing up, I always thought I would be a musician. Seriously, I wanted to be in a symphony. But, one day I looked up and I was a first generation law student! If someone had told me growing up that I would be here, preparing to become an attorney, I would have laughed it off. Now, I feel like I am really stepping into my purpose.
Jen: What degree did you obtain?
Graduate: A Juris Doctorate
Jen: What inspired you to get this degree?
Graduate: Probably becoming a mama. That really gave me the push I needed to block out negativity and cross the finish line.
Jen: What do you plan to do with your degree? What are your next steps?
Graduate: Right now, I am working as a judicial law clerk, and I love it. Research and writing skills are so critical for a new attorney, and many people don’t get the chance to work closely with the judiciary. My next step is to be a thorn in society’s side, some way, somehow.
Jen: What was the most challenging aspect of obtaining your degree?
Graduate: Probably seeing people breeze through school and the profession with way less effort and studying than I was putting out. Our elders are NOT lying when they say, “you gotta work twice as hard to get half as much!”
Jen: What does this degree mean for you?
Graduate: Nina Simone once said in an interview “you can’t explain what freedom is, it’s a feeling . . . I’ll tell you what it is, it’s living with no fear!” To me, this degree means freedom. Having a doctoral level education doesn’t make you better than others, but it puts you in a position to lead your community, reach back and pull your people forward. That’s freedom to me. The more of us that attain higher levels of education and experience, the more we will have the freedom to determine our own outcomes and live on our own terms.
Jen: What advice can you give others who wish to pursue this degree?
Graduate: If you want a JD, pursue it wholeheartedly! You will often feel discouraged or weary, but keep your end goals in mind.
Jen: What advice can you give to the family and friends of those who wish to take this path?
Graduate: You have to give people space to be great, and be understanding when they can’t be as available as they once were. Giving your loved ones room to grow now will benefit everyone in the tribe later on down the road.
Jen: We all know we don’t do it by ourselves. Who was instrumental in helping you achieve your goals and dream?
Graduate: My parents more than anyone else. They’ve come to my rescue more times than I can count.
Jen: How has Covid-19 affected you?
Graduate: I initially experienced a ton of anxiety and fear about the future. But now, I can say that I honestly needed life to slow down a bit. I was getting to a point where I felt very overwhelmed and unsure about the future, and I was able to use the time spent social distancing to relax, study, and plan my next steps after graduation.
Jen: Any last remarks?
Graduate: Don’t resist the path you feel yourself being led towards. There are people who need you, and they are waiting on the other side of your obedience and discipline.