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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Nothing was going to stop Briana Williams from achieving her dream, not even going into labor during a final exam.
All the hard work finally paid off for the single mother, originally from Atlanta, as she walked across the stage recently to receive her degree from Harvard Law.
Williams finished her final exam while in labor last year. This year, she carried her baby girl, who wore a cap and gown that matched her mother’s, USAToday reported.
She posted to Instagram about how difficult the past year had been, trying to finish law school while raising a newborn.
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. So I’m going to be honest with you guys.. I didnt 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 heartwrenching. 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 [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. 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.
Williams said she had dreams of becoming a lawyer and her first choice for the degree was Harvard Law. But the hard work of getting a degree at the prestigious school was made more difficult trying to balance school, work and her baby.
“I didn’t tell anyone that I had a baby,” Williams told USAToday. “I never missed any activity because I didn’t want anyone to think that me having a baby was holding me back.”
Three and a half weeks after she had Evelyn, Williams started a summer job. She would use what time she could, like lunch breaks, for Evelyn’s checkups.
Williams is moving to the West Coast to follow her career. She was offered a job in the litigation department in a Los Angeles law firm, USAToday reported.
And to those who find themselves in a similar situation of caring for a child while still trying to achieve their dreams, Williams says: “Try as hard as you can to do what you have to do ... Eventually you’re going to receive the glory from that. And not only that, your child is going to be even more appreciative of you and the sacrifices you made.”