By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli
She did it! She graduated from Valparaiso School of Law, Class of 2016. She smiled the entire day, throughout the ceremony, reception, photos, luncheon, cake, and gifts. She deserved all of the happiness and joy. She had earned it every step of the way throughout the past three intensive years and internship summers.
Last night in the quiet of her abode as we talked, I shared with her my admiration of her accomplishments. My stance has long been to be the support, her cheerleader, but not her career path dictator. She has to decide the course of her life, not I. I told my darling daughter how courageous she has always has been, how she has always stood firm, and followed the path she decided would be hers. It has not always been a smooth journey, she has experienced doubts, anxieties, and confusion along the way, but her grit and determination have paid off time and time again.
Her choosing the local public over private high school, selecting IU Bloomington over the smaller private universities, pursuing degrees in Journalism and Classical Studies, and a minor in Art History, and then recruitment in a campus based sorority, were enormous decisions for this once shy child of mine.
And then, in her third year at IU, she announced to me she was going to take the LSAT and go to Law School.
Having taken a battery of career placement test in the spring of her junior year of high school, the renowned, Indianapolis based career counselor met with us to discuss in depth the results. After analyzing and interpreting the data, he announced what she would pursue at the graduate level.
“Graduate level?” asked an incredulous Anjelica. “I haven’t even graduated from high school!”
“No matter,” he replied. “You will get an undergraduate degree, and then,” he paused dramatically, “you will get a Law Degree.”
“What? You’re joking!” She was stunned.
“No joke,” he said. “It will happen. You. Law School.”
I reminded her of this conversation she had forgotten. Last night I brought up what he had said eight years ago. She smiled.
After eight years of stifling traditional elementary school, she breathed more freely in high school. At IU Bloomington, she truly came into her own through journalism, leadership in the sorority, via volunteerism at the campus Museum of Art, the Union Board, serving on the Student Judicial Board, and her decision of Law School.
The Law student organizations opened doors for her through the Women’s Law Student Association; Amnesty International; Phi Alpha Delta; and writing for the Law Blog. Holding offices in several of these organizations further honed her leadership skills. She has always been passionate about victims’ rights, animal rights, and human rights overall. On the Trial Advocacy Team she competed nationally. Her moral courage, compassion, leadership, strength of conviction, intelligence, humor, and heart have flourished, and will, I know, stand her in good stead as she continues to evolve.
Now, as she sets her sites on the Bar Exam at the end of July, and turns her attention to the intensive kick-ass Bar Prep course, her command of what it takes to get her where she wants to be in Law will steer her onwards. She comes from a long line of self-starters and visionaries imbued with ideals.
I cannot help but smile over my daughter, my shining star.
Ciao for now.