“What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts? “
I was 12 when I watched A Time To Kill and as I watched Jake Tyler Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) fight for justice by separating people from their prejudices and making them see with their hearts, I decided that day I wanted to be in a court room one day, fighting for justice myself. My career choice wasn’t put on me by my parents…it was my own passion that led me down that path. Once I reached high school, it was clear that I would do everything I could to pursue my education in law, even if I hit a few bumps along the way.
I entered the debate team of my high school in 9th grade. My sophomore year, I tried out and became a lawyer on our Mock Trial team. My first three years in high school were spent researching and writing up arguments. I spent many nights after school debating, practicing and going over evidence. The first time that I entered the courtroom for our trial and made my opening statement was one of the most exhilarating nights of my life. I knew that’s where I belonged…even with my shaking hands and fast-beating heart.
One of the reasons that GWU became my first choice for college was their debate and mock trial teams. Once I was accepted into their undergrad program in their International Affairs School, I began researching information for tryouts for debate & mock trial. This was it. I was moving forward with my dream.
Unfortunately, I never made it to the try outs. Since I was living at home and any extracurricular activities naturally met in the evening, my parents weren’t comfortable with me hanging around campus late…even though this is what I’d been working towards for four years. In one moment, all of my dreams were crushed. I spent my nights working part-time instead. I never forgave my mom nor myself for letting her get away with everything she’s gotten away with…I wonder how different my life would be now if I had pursued debate and mock trial in college.
The strange thing is…as much as I want to move onto law school, I think that the next step in my life after getting my B.A. in International Affairs will be a Master’s in journalism. Or Criminal Justice. I know that I want to be involved in justice and making a difference one way or another. Will I ever stand in a court room and speak to a judge & jury again? I don’t know…but I do know that even though one dream was crushed, the little girl who was moved by justice, perseverance and passion won’t ever let me give up on my dreams again.