The practice of law requires many skills, and abilities of an individual. Honor and integrity are a couple of the most obvious, however there are three that I believe get overlooked by some. I have those three in addition to honor and integrity, they are voice, knowledge, and determination.
In May 1998 I graduated high school from Topeka High, in Topeka, Kansas. As a newly minted high school graduate, I had no idea where to go from that day in May. Raised in a strict conservative home under the shelter provided by repressive religious beliefs, I was taught, with other young people in similar age, that the main things to accomplish in life was graduate from high school, get a job, get married, and have lots of babies. I had a job lined up, a girl my age that would marry me of like faith, and I thought my aspirations in life were nearly complete.
In June 1998 I decided to live my life without the repressive religious environment. I was instantaneously in conflict with myself. I had never lived my life outside of the restrictive confines of the church. I floundered with nobody telling me what to do and when to do it. I made a sudden and life changing move that deeply impacted me, and the way I lived my life. In May 2001 I enlisted in the United States Army. I took a simple job, as an Administrative Specialist because that is what the recruiter told me to do.
Once I reached my permanent duty station at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas at the command and General Staff College, I was tossed in with the other soldiers whom all out ranked me. I was extremely intimidated my both my surroundings, and those who surrounded me. As the lowest ranked member of the Army on the post literally everyone was my boss, but coming from my religious background that was fine with me because doing what I was told was what I was raised to do. I was quickly taught however that at Fort Leavenworth, a training center, we cycled through around a thousand Captains each year, and almost 300 Majors each year. At Fort Leavenworth the enlisted soldiers were in more authority than officers that far outranked us. Respect was expected obviously, but correction, and instruction was part of my job at the Command and General Staff College.
This could not have been more obvious than when on security patrol after September 11, 2001 I could not allow the College Commandant, General Huntoon, to enter the College because he did not have his military ID card with him. He graciously stood and waited outside the entrance while his assistant ran to his quarters to retrieve the ID. After I allowed him into the building he told me how grateful he was that I was in charge of the security detail and presented me with his General’s coin, which had no monetary value, but was a token of his personal appreciation. It became clear to me, and to those around me such as family and friends, that I had somehow changed, it was then that I realized that my will, my voice was important, and when spoken in accordance with rules and regulations I could take control of a situation, this was a giant step in my development and continues to be an inspiration to me.
In May 2005 I finally got the courage to enroll at my local university for a couple classes, at first I hated it, and decided college was not for me. Echoes of my past ripped through my mind, and religious rhetoric replayed in my imagination over and over again, I was convinced that I was not capable of doing anything that required a college education. Finally, after over a year of not going to school I decided to give it a try again, and had a bit more success. In 2010 I again enrolled in college because it is truly important, and deserving of my full attention, now in the last three semesters I have earned between a 3.00-3.75 each semester.
Law is what I have always wanted to do and now that I have started to be successful in my undergraduate filed of study, I am determined not to return to the time when I existed in ignorance because I was so depended on those around me to tell me what to do with my life. Today I use my voice, which I learned in the Army had power, to lead and guide others. I use my knowledge, which I try to continually refine through reading, and learning, and I use my determination, which I gained from my desire not to return to the dogmatic religious past, to propel me forward into the future I want for myself, and my family. My future is in helping others by learning the law, and how it guides us in all our activities, whether it is in the area of civil rights protections, corporate mergers, international relations, or environmental law. As an attorney there will always be someone who will need my help. My voice is loud enough, my knowledge base is always expanding, and I am determined to make it successfully through law school. I bring a determination unmatched