Adrienne is one of the first friends I made at Loyola. We met prior to starting our 1L year at a reception for students. As a woman of color, I was automatically drawn to her – we chatted about our assigned sections, exchanged phone numbers and (voila!) she has been part of my support system ever since. Adrienne agreed to sit down for an interview to talk about her background, law school experience, as well as some advice for incoming students. – Liz Rodriguez
Where are you from? I grew up in the Beverly neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.
Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
I received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois in Champaign- Urbana with a double major in Communication and African American Studies.
Why and when did you decide to attend law school?
I learned that I wanted to represent children when I was in 8th grade. I was sitting on the couch with my stepmom watching a news story about a mother who had set her children on fire. I become extremely affected when I hear stories like this, or a situation where a child is being abused by someone who is supposed to love and care for them. My need to advocate for children is something I cannot ignore.
Why Loyola University Chicago School of Law?
I applied to Loyola once I realized Loyola’s Child and Family Law Program is one of the best.
Is there anything that surprised you once you got to Loyola?
I was pleasantly surprised by how open and non-intimidating my professors were. I did not have prior experience with law school and did not know what to expect once I arrived. The faculty has an open-door policy and really appreciate when students come talk with them. For example, last semester, when I began freaking out about my Civil Procedure final, a few 2Ls recommended I go speak to Professor Josie Gough. I had never met her before my finals freak out, but Professor Gough took me in with open arms and gave me invaluable advice. I was a lot less anxious when I left her office.
Is there anything you wish you would have known coming into law school?
The importance of time management. There’s not enough time in the day for everything I want to get done. I need to balance my social life, boyfriend, school, and family. Honestly, I’m still working on it.
Do you have any advice for other women of color (WOC) in law school?
It’s okay to branch out. Women of color shouldn’t feel obligated to just interact with other women and people of color. But, it is important to know that our experience is not going to be like most students’ experiences here. It’s a blessing and a curse to be a woman of color in today’s society so it’s important to connect with students/faculty who share your similar life experiences. And always, always remember that you are just as capable and deserving of being in that classroom as everyone around you.
Do you have any advice for incoming students? First, find a good group of friends as early as you can. Your law school friends will be your sanity. Second, form relationships with your professors (especially those who have practiced in your legal field of interest). Third, NETWORK(!!!) – get to know as many people as possible in the profession. Finally, remember that your mental and physical health is important. While law school tends to be intense, you must make yourself a priority. It’s easy to get buried in all the work and forget you are a human being outside of law school. Remember things you did before law school that made you happy and make time for them.
Liz Rodriguez is a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She is blogging about the journey of her first year of law school. To search all posts written by her search the Liz R. category on the right hand side. Questions for Liz? Email email@example.com with the subject “Ask Liz” and she will make sure to answer them.