I’m at a strange moment in my life. I’m on the brink of being a real ass-kicking human being. That’s not to say that I’m not already and that you are not either for being who you are right now. I’m assuming everyone has this epiphany when they finally decide what they want to be when they grow up.
But the reason I’m about to be a real ass-kicker is because I’ve decided to get my juris doctor. That’s fancy talk for become a lawyer! Within the next five years or maybe even less, I’m going to have a smidgen more authority than I do as a regular lady who frequently posts politically-charged articles on Facebook.
Part of this long, tedious process is choosing a school. While making a decision, I’ve had to confront my interests as a future lawyer. And, boy do I have many. I have three huge motivators pushing me in the direction of law school: women’s rights (um, hello, do you know me?!), pharmaceutical legislation, and international relations/human rights. Within each of those niches, I have even more specific interests including ending violence against women all over the world and challenging pharmaceutical companies to release cures. Whew. Lord have mercy. Seriously. I can keep adding to the list too.
In this quest to find a school, I have had to become very serious about the end goal. Is this school going to give me the opportunities and network that I need to be able to work against these evils impacting our world? I have found a few schools to focus on. Between now and next year, I’m going to do everything in my power to make them happen. Some of the opportunities these schools present are mind-blowing, and I can’t believe they’re right around the corner if I choose to go in that direction. This is not a self-brag, K? Because I’ve got a lot of work to do! Plus, anyone can do this if they really try!
This is all connected because my travels this year have challenged the way I view myself as a citizen of the world. I call myself a global citizen, or at least that’s my goal mindset. I’ve had the opportunity to see many cultures and many types of people this year, and it’s confirmed. We’re all the same. We’re all in this together! High School Musical quotes aside, my year away from home has reignited my passion for global justice, world peace, whatevs. When I was 11, I attended the Model United Nations representing a small African Island (shout out to Mauritius!). I guess that’s where it all started. 😉 After visiting the real United Nations in Switzerland in June, the dream was definitely confirmed. International law, here I come!
Quick sidenote: If you want to donate to my fundraising efforts supporting various projects in impoverished African nations, please click on the link below and read! From the foundation fundraising page, “LED BY ELITE RUNNERS RYAN AND SARA HALL, STEPS ENGAGES THE RUNNING COMMUNITY IN FUNDING GRANTS TO BRING BETTER HEALTH TO THOSE IN NEED, WORLD-WIDE, INCLUDING CLEAN WATER, HEALTH CLINICS, AND MICROLENDING IN EAST AFRICA.” Please consider donating. Every little bit helps! 100% of the proceeds go to the foundation. https://www.crowdrise.com/hallstepsfoundationtower/fundraiser/jamiebailey4 I’m participating in the Giving Tower Holiday Challenge, so let’s do this by Christmas, people!
I believe I also promised a life update! I’ve been here in Malaga since January. From January-July I worked as an au pair, living with a Spanish family and teaching their children English. I came home to the US for five weeks in mid-July, and visited France with my boyfriend in late August. [You can read all about those adventures here on this site!] Now I’m living here independently and freelancing while studying for law school entrance exams. Everything is happening so quickly, and I know deadlines will be approaching before I know it. I’ve accepted that I may not have everything ready to go by deadlines this winter, and if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll just continue my efforts into next year. Unless Trump is elected and the world ends. Then we’re all screwed.
Speaking of the election, this isn’t a life update but rather a personal musing. I received my absentee ballot last week, and seeing Hillary Clinton’s name on it brought me to tears. Almost 100 years after women won the right to vote, we finally have a woman running for the presidency. Politics aside, all women should be able to look at this historic moment with pride. I think of my two great grandmothers, my Nanny and Eulah, who were strong women, active in their communities, who didn’t get the same opportunities in their lives because they were born in a different time, who didn’t live to see a woman in the oval office. I wonder what they would think of this historic election if they were around today. Okay I know what Eulah would say, and it would be along the lines of f*** off, Trump. And Nanny would probably sit in stunned silence at the hullaballoo of it all. In addition to making fun of the politicians because she also loved doing that. Goodness I miss them both. I wonder if they know of my future endeavors in law and that I think of them every step of the way. I seize the opportunities that I am lucky enough to have as a woman in 2016, and I fight for the rights I should have as a woman in 2016.
I spend my time here in Spain taking in the sub-tropical climate, exploring surrounding mountains and running by the sea almost every day. I write a lot while juggling LSAT studies. I also formally study Spanish, and I’m finally enrolled in class again. I will admit I was getting quite good before I left in the summer, and now I’m spending a little extra time reviewing before I move onto the next level. My boyfriend, who is French, has inspired me to possibly learn French as a third language sometime in the near future. His English is basically fluent although he argues with me about that. Since I’ve been studying Spanish, reading French is actually not so bad. If you know Spanish and English, it looks a lot like the two mixed together. With a lot of apostrophes and hyphens. 😉 Most European friends that I’ve made speak at least 2 languages, and sometimes even 3 or 4. I guess I feel the need to rise to the occasion haha! Learning a new language at 25 has been a nice refresher for that portion of my brain. In class I actually feel like Hermione, raising my hand and answering every question the teacher asks baha. I’ve always been good at English grammar and phonetics, so it’s actually fun to learn a new set of rules in Spanish! In the past when I’ve studied Spanish in the US, the classes are administered in English. Here, the class is completely in Spanish. At first I was so lost, but after 3-4 weeks, I adjusted. Especially after I took an intensive course in March. Every day for four weeks I attended a 5-hour class in Spanish. I made great friends and great strides in my Spanish education. I recommend everyone try something like that at least one time in their lives whether it’s with an instrument or it’s a sport, or even a cooking class! One last thing about Europeans– Many of the people in my intensive class were actually on vacation! European labor laws allow workers of all ages to have extensive vacation periods (5-7 weeks!). So Euros actually attempt to learn when they travel because their brains and bodies are not totally fried by their jobs. Americans get limited vacation time and just wanna relax, and who could blame them? In this aspect, the cultural difference is enormous.
I’m simply taking life day by day, learning and living as much as I can; also learning to accept what is beyond my control. Like the fact that flights to the US are super costly and I am likely to take the LSAT in a major European city versus taking it at home in Ohio, also meaning I probably won’t be home for the holidays. It will be my first ever holiday season away from home, and that breaks my heart a little bit. But I’m trying not to let it take away from the fact that I will get to experience Christmas in a different country and culture. I miss my family desperately, but the thought of Christmas in Paris makes up for that just a little bit.
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Peace and blessings to you!