“Birmingham School of Law offered me the opportunity to pursue a legal education without the time demands a full-time law school requires. It paved a way for me to become an attorney all while being a wife and mom.”
These are the words of one of our graduates from August 2016, Amanda Hardy. Amanda served as the Vice Chancellor of the Honor Society, graduated with honors and passed the bar exam in February of 2017. She is a shining example that it is possible to go to law school “on the side” without losing your mind.
As a mother of four, it was not easy. She started at Birmingham School of Law in the fall of 2013 when her youngest child was just six months old. Becoming a lawyer was her dream since the time when she wasn’t much older than that, and she says that when other kids were watching cartoons, she was watching Matlock.
“In early 2013, I knew the time had come to make a choice: either become an attorney or get over that dream. I was afraid that I was not capable of juggling law school while being a stay at home mom to four young children (which I often refer to as a domestic engineer),” Amanda says.
But her husband encouraged her to try one semester. One turned into two and two into four, and before she knew it she was taking the bar.
“Time will pass. That is inevitable,” she says. “We may as well take action, enter into a journey, work hard, assert ourselves, use our minds and imaginations, and embrace an opportunity to live out our dreams. Going to law school “on the side” simply meant that I was able to be a wife, a mom, and an example. An example to my children and all those who find themselves in a similar situation to show what is possible when you have the courage to take a step out of your comfort zone, apply the gifts you have been given, and make the most of every moment.”
However, Amanda is honest about the fact that it wasn’t easy. She says it was absolutely hard, but worth it. She says she learned a lot about who she was and what she could do, which made her a better person.
“I learned that every moment matters. I became a stronger woman. I am more determined, more courageous, and more intentional. I learned to persevere through the hard times and found strength I never knew existed. I learned that domestic perfection is overrated and that I have the most amazing husband, family and friends who supported me tremendously throughout my journey.”
Amanda’s other job is being a mom, but many of the lessons she has learned apply to those who are working a part-time job and going to law school or even working full-time while attending law classes at night or on the weekends.
For anyone who is going through something similar or considering going to law school on the side, here are a few tips from Amanda:
- If you don’t have a support system, find one. Spouses, children, other family members and friends will be crucial.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your situation may be totally different than the person sitting next to you in class, but you are both on an admirable journey.
- Remember that school on the side is not something you “have to do” but something you “get to do.” It is a privilege, and a healthy dose of perspective goes a long way.
- Take it one day at a time, and embrace the journey.
- Look at the hard times as an opportunity to find strength that can help refine you. When you look back, you will be most proud of what you accomplished despite your challenges and difficult circumstances.
Amanda is currently in private practice in Birmingham, of which she says she loves every minute.
Birmingham School of Law is a law school that provides an affordable quality legal education. BSL has a diverse student body of approximately 350 students from across the State of Alabama and the Southeast. Many different undergraduate majors are represented as there is no “correct” pre-law major. Contact us today to learn more about enrollment options.