Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
- Temple University, Major: Psychology, Minor: Women’s Studies
Program: Part-Time Evening
When I first started law school in 2016, I was a Parole Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I was a parole officer for 20 years. I continued that for the first three years of law school and then took a job as a law clerk. Basically, as a night student, you have two full time jobs. You have your day job and then class and homework take up another 30-40 hours. I wish I could tell you some secret of how I, or any of us, balance that, but you just do it. Night students are the embodiment of the Nike slogan, “Just Do It.” If you want something bad enough, you just figure out how to manage your time, you keep going, you stumble, you pick yourself up again and again, rely on the other night students who have now become your family, and get to the finish line.
Temple Law Lessons
This is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but you can. You have a job, a family, and responsibilities coming into this, but you will figure out how to balance it all. Your life and time will be different but you must learn to find those moments to take a breath and step away. You will make lifelong friendships with people you might never have come across out there in the world. They will be your support, your sounding board, and part of your new extended family. Don’t be intimidated or afraid of your professors! Reach out to them early and often because they are here for you. My biggest piece of advice would be to not worry about what everyone else is doing. There is no “right” way to do law school. Be yourself. You will find your way. Evening students are some of the strongest people I know.
I have a list. When you are a night student, your community can be small, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but, when you find professors who recognize both the strengths and needs of night students, you don’t let that go.
I will start with Professor Margolis. I had her for my year of LRW. She taught me how to research and write, and it suits me well to this day. That first year of law school is very emotional. She was gracious while we all had our breakdowns, but never gave up. If there is ever a Bluebook citation championship, I know that I can win it because of her diligence and care.
Professor Craig Green taught me that professors are humans who put their pants on one leg at a time just like students do, even if they are geniuses (him not me). He taught me Civil Procedure, which is one of the hardest subjects in law school. He would meet with me week after week at his favorite coffee shop in the city to answer any question, and go over all of my assignments. He gave me his personal time and rooted for me. It kept me going to know that my professor saw me as a person and wanted me to make it.
There is no bigger advocate for night students than Professor Finbarr McCarthy. I had him a couple times during my time at Temple because he loves teaching night students. I am eternally grateful for that. I have never felt like a professor wanted night students to make it as much as I did with him. He also taught me how to do law school. I had a lightbulb moment one time when I was literally crying in his office because I just didn’t get it. I had been a very black and white thinker before I came to law school and that was just not working. There was never one answer, there were many answers. He taught me how to get out of my box and see that.
Professor Mary Levy was both a professor and a mentor. She also taught me how to write and think critically, but more importantly, she has guided me through the entire experience that has been law school. I knew that I could count on her from that first summer that I took her writing class until the end of the road.
Temple Law Community
When I was an undergrad at Temple, I didn’t leave a mark. I didn’t get involved or get to know my teachers. I promised myself when I went to law school that I would suck the marrow out of the experience and leave my mark. I saw from the beginning that evening students were not well represented and their voices were not being heard. I decided to run for student government to make change and be their voice. I am very shy (I can hear everyone reading this disagreeing with this statement, but I really am). Being in the spotlight like that and being a fierce advocate for evening students made me grow, and shed some of that shyness, and find my voice. There wasn’t a lot going on for evening students when I first started, but as the Vice President of SBA Board of Governors of Evening Division from 2017-2019 (leading all four Evening Division sections) and as the President of the Night Owls, I helped change that, and get students in the years below me to get involved, so that the night community will stay intact and become a legacy that I am proud of. There are many things that have changed for night students because I found my voice, strength and passion and I can’t even express what that means to me. Being a leader and a law student made my experience in law school everything it could be.