Single Mum Graduates From Harvard With Daughter In Matching Cap And Gown
A 24-year-old single mother has gone viral after uploading photos of her graduation from Harvard Law School.
Briana Williams took to Instagram to tell her followers how she had only just finished a final exam before she went to give birth at the hospital.
The recent graduate has since described being so ‘mentally and emotionally fatigued’ on certain days that she could not leave her bed.
In the post, she writes:
I went into labor in April- during final exam period. I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it. This “biting the bullet” experience is quite quintessential of my time at Harvard.
To say that my last year of law school, with a newborn, and as a single mom was a challenge would be an understatement. Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigued that I did not leave my bed. I struggled with reliable childcare. It was not atypical to see me rushing through Wasserstein to the Dean of Students’ office with Evelyn in her carriage, asking DOS can they keep her for a few until class was over. If not, she’d just have to come with me to class. Evie attended classes often.
In the picture, Briana can be seen lifting her arm in the air while holding her child in the other, beaming with pride and dressed in a standard cap and gown.
So I’m going to be honest with you guys, I didn’t think I could do it. I did not think that, at 24 years old, as a single mom, I would be able to get through one of the most intellectually rigorous and challenging positions of my life. It was hard. It hurt.
Instagram can make peoples’ lives seem seamless, but this journey has been heart-wrenching. However, I am happy to say that I DID do it. Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalised] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that- for the sake of my baby, I will be an example.
Evelyn- they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.
Amazing story. Briana now plans to move back to California to practise at a Los Angeles law firm.
Briana told Yahoo Lifestyle:
There were many days that I’d go into a depression because I felt overwhelmed and let the pressure of what I was trying to do get to me. I suppose I just did what I had to do, regardless of how I felt on the inside, because I did not want people to be able to say that I had to choose between motherhood and success.
I refused to allow anyone to assume that my daughter could hold me back in any way when she is such a fundamental piece of my success and courage. I knew that if I persisted, I could help other similarly situated women.
She will be balancing pro bono cases and litigation.
She writes in a separate post:
I went to college with one suitcase and one pair of shoes, holding on to a bible that my older sister had tucked away in my bag. I’d worked full-time as a waitress and bartender in New York to get by. I found ways that I could appreciate coming from a disenfranchised background. I could look at the law through the lens of a black woman and (eventually), a financially independent single mother. I used this to my advantage.
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