I have something slightly embarrassing to admit to you. After I got married, I decided that I needed to go for an advanced degree — and failed to consider just how much time it would take.
Professional pressures began to mount, babies started arriving and my studies started to slow. One year stretched into two, and two eventually became five.
In that roughly half-decade of night classes and seemingly endless case studies, I started to feel as though I’d never get my degree. But when graduation day finally arrived, it felt both triumphant and surreal, a seemingly impossible goal finally achieved.
I bet that Arielle Williams of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood felt much the same after taking the bar exam. According to CBS Chicago, Williams had always yearned to become a lawyer.
“I’ve only wanted to be an attorney,” she stated. “It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do.”
However, a number of barriers stood between Williams and her dream. For one thing, no one on her mother’s side had ever graduated from college.
Williams did, though, drawing down a pair of degrees from the University of Illinois while working two jobs. Then she faced the problem of getting into law school.
While living in Atlanta, she applied to nearly a score of law schools, only to have them all reject her. So she took the Law School Admission Test again, applied to multiple institutions, got accepted by all of them and attended DePaul University.
“I’m here right now because of my passion, because of my drive,” she said. Williams had one more hurdle to clear: passing the bar exam.
Deidra Collins, her coworker at Stone & Associates in Waukegan, Illinois, filmed Williams reaction as she received the results of her exam. The video begins with Collins’ voice saying “She got her bar results.”
A seemingly calm Williams stares at the computer on her desk for a moment before beginning to shift her chain back and forth, shock slowly slipping over her face. Then she leaps up, covers her face with her coat, and begins to shriek.
“You passed?!” Collins exclaims. “Oh my goodness, she passed!”
But Williams doesn’t reply. She’s too busy falling to her knees and sobbing.
Collins herself must’ve understood how her colleague felt. She recalled how adults had told her that she “wouldn’t become anything” after getting pregnant at 14.
Plenty of people have had similarly nasty sentiments aimed at then down the years. Debra A. Whitlock commented on the video of Williams, saying, “I rejoice with you.
“When I was in high school, my counselor said I was too dumb to go to college. To see your celebration just warms my heart, sis.
“Praise God, praise God, praise God!” Praise God, indeed.
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