This past Friday, I graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law! I have dreamt of graduating from law school and becoming a lawyer since I was a little girl obsessing over TV shows and movies like Law & Order: SVU, How to Get Away with Murder, and Legally Blonde. I have always been fascinated with a lawyers' ability to solve problems with a keen mind set, style and grace. Now, I have the tools to represent, defend, advocate, and solve problems in my community with that same sense of style, grace, and poise. Words cannot describe how happy I am to achieve this accomplishment. Achieving this goal was not easy. In fact, the past three years have been the hardest three years of my life but by far the most rewarding!
Before I began law school, I spoke with multiple attorneys to gain their perspectives on my upcoming journey. Ninety-nine percent of them either encouraged me not to go or questioned if I really wanted to be a lawyer. At first, I was turned off by their discouragement. I would always ask myself, "why are they discouraging me from chasing my dreams?" Nevertheless, I ignored their warnings and enrolled in law school. Three years later, I understand why they were trying to deter me from applying. Law school is HARD! Not only is it hard academically, but it also challenges you mentally and emotionally. There were many times when I thought I was not smart enough or good enough to become an attorney. I allowed self-doubt, implicit biases, and my unique differences question if the legal profession was right for me. It wasn't until my second year of law school when everything started to click, and I began to trust and appreciate the process. I realized there is no one like me. There is no one with my personality, my experiences, my gifts that can contribute to the legal profession in the way only I can. I am unique to my process as you are unique to your process or current set of circumstances. There is no right or wrong way to obtain your dream, the road is specific to what you put into it.
Once I embraced my uniqueness and my God-given purpose, I began to enjoy law school. I discovered my passion for the law and the types of practices I wanted to pursue. I allowed God to use me for his will and stopped being the Type A control freak most law students are. Accepting the process and allowing God to use me changed my law school experience tremendously. Through Him, I served as President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and became a member of one of Maryland's five scholarly journals and the National Trial Team. Through Him, I am the recipient of the William P. Cunningham Award, an award recognizing graduating students for their academic achievement, leadership, and service to the school, and was inducted into the Order of Barristers, a national honorary organization for law students who have excelled in trial and appellate advocacy. I NEVER imagined any of that was possible entering law school as a first-year student. God is amazing! Today, I have graduated with the tools and skills that have prepared me to represent my clients zealously and take the legal profession by storm, and I'm super excited about it!
As this chapter comes to a close I want to use this platform to offer others one piece of advice. While it is nice to listen to others advice, ultimately the only voices you should follow is that of God and your own inner voice. To anyone reading this blog, remember always to chase your dreams and to trust the process. Every success and each failure is preparing you for the next level. Accept your uniqueness and embrace your purpose! God is purposeful, God is trusting, and God is faithful. Through Him, anything is possible!
Taylor A. Faulkner, J.D.
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