Single Mom Graduates Harvard Law School With Her Baby In Tow

Briana Williams, 24, went into labor during her final exam period in April.

Each graduate takes their own path, often filled with a number of obstacles, to achieve their goal. A number of their stories have gone viral after being shared online, such as the case with 10 WOC Harvard grads who recently posted an empowering photo captioned "Don't touch our crowns."  Another graduate's story went viral after she shared a 21-year-old note from a middle school teacher asking to be invited to her Harvard graduation

Stories of single mothers getting their degrees are also being recognized. Student Ieshia Champs, for example, celebrated becoming a lawyer — a dream she has had since she was 7 year old — with her five kids.


Now, single mom Briana Williams, 24, is making headlines for graduating Harvard Law School with her baby daughter, Evelyn, in her arms.

Williams shared her journey on Instagram and recounted the difficulties she had to overcome to earn her degree. She reveals that the first time she stepped on Harvard's campus with her family, she felt a sense of "imposter syndrome" after meeting with her fellow students who had "name tags that exemplified their ivy league backgrounds." 

She explains that she's a woman of color from small-town Atlanta and the first, and only, one in the family to graduate from college. 

"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," she said. Williams joined organizations, fellowships, and clinics that allowed her to become an advocate of those who had difficulty navigating higher education.

Completing a degree at one of the world's top schools is no small feat, but doing it while navigating the environment as a single mother presents even greater challenges. 

She went into labor during her final exam period in April.

Williams reveals that she immediately requested an epidural so that her contractions wouldn't interfere with her Family Law grade. 

She also gets candid about the difficulty of balancing school and motherhood and how she was sometimes so emotionally and mentally fatigued she couldn't leave her bed. She elaborated to Yahoo, "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." 

She revealed that she persevered regardless of her feelings because she "refused to allow anyone to assume that [her] daughter could hold [her] back in any way when she is such a fundamental piece of [her] success and courage."

On May 25, Williams walked across the stage with Evelyn in tow, and accepted her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

After sharing beaming graduation photos of her and Evelyn, Williams reflected back on her time at Harvard, "At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] 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." 

In closing, she shared a message for her daughter,

"They said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU," she wrote. "Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby."

Williams is now joining the litigation department of a law firm in Los Angeles and will have the opportunity to take on pro bono opportunities. 

(H/T: HuffPost)


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