Surviving law school while pregnant and raising three small children (two of them twins!) is by no means easy. How do I manage? How do I do it? Well, it’s truly a perfect storm, and it really comes down to a positive attitude, surrounding myself with those who love and believe in me, and wanting deep down inside, above all, to make a difference and a better world.
The curriculum in law school is tough, but what makes law school really challenging is the additional expectations life places on you while you're here.
In law school we have to read, go to class, outline, study, take intense exams, network, be professional, write-on for law review, compete for spots on the moot court board, and participate in clinics, internships and externships. While doing all of that, many of us still have to raise a family, work, plan a wedding, get sick, be there for loved ones who get sick and are hospitalized, mourn loved ones who pass away…etc. And on top of it all, sleep and take care of ourselves.
I’ve experienced all of the above while in law school and there have been many times where all I wanted was a hero to save me from the chaos. But I very quickly realized, more times than not, I had to be my own hero and keep a positive outlook.
So how did I make it this far?
First, it’s “the dream,” “my dream,” in spite of all the obstacles, negative input, and against the odds, that I’m still here. Not because I have attained a certain amount of prestige, pride, luxuries or possessions, but because I am fulfilling my dream. I remind myself every day to remember where I've been and where I’ve come from, but most importantly, remind myself where it is I want to go. And whatever difficulty I have to overcome to get there, makes what I accomplish truly self-rewarding.
I also remind myself, no matter how tough life gets and no matter what obstacles get thrown at me, “forfeiture is not an option.” To keep and attain all your dreams and more, you must be stubborn, and for my stubbornness in this respect, I’m surely grateful!
Second, I sought out a network of people at my 'home away from home' to support me. Reaching out and getting to know the faculty and administration at Seton Hall Law is truly one of the biggest factors in this locomotive of mine. I confide in them, ask for their advice and motivation, and their words keep me moving when I need that extra push to keep going.
And it's not just the personal conversations that motivate me. Being able to attend and engage in some of the best class lectures by Professors Condon, Cornwell, Franzese, Healy and Lewis (to name a few) provided a mental vacation for me. I was able to shut the outside world off and focus. Attending class is truly MY TIME, as crazy as it sounds. For me, the hardest part about law school was not the classes.
Finally, I’m grateful for a supportive husband and friends. I’m not a genius or super human. I’m no better than anyone else. I truly believe 'great men aren’t born great, but grow great' and at the end of the day, to make anything happen, it all starts with attitude.
After all, “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” – Confucius.
Michelle with son, Naushad, age two. The twins are now five months.