Joy Applewhite finds the right fit at American University

After being accepted into seven of the country's best law schools, Joy Applewhite, a senior who will earn a bachelor's degree in psychology during Saturday's 2018 Spring Commencement Exercise at Alcorn State University, has chosen the school that will push her to her dream career.

Applewhite will attend American University's Washington College of Law this fall in Washington, D. C. Other schools that accepted Applewhite were Howard University, the University of Memphis, the University of Mississippi, Saint Louis University, Southern University and the University of Tulsa. She's excited about all the new opportunities that the school would offer her.

"I am looking forward to new learning experiences," said Applewhite. "I am eager to have the hands-on experience of preparing to practice law. I am excited to offer help to potential clients who are in need."

In the initial stages of Applewhite's law school pursuit, she overlooked the school. Thanks to a mentor, she was led to the school's website, and from there, she knew that it was the right place for her.

"American University was not on my radar, but at the advice of a mentor, I decided to look at its website to see what the law school had to offer. The presentation of the site was soothing and welcoming. American University has such a diverse clinical program that ranges from criminal justice, immigration justice, and domestic violence to name a few. The school actively prepares students for life after law school, and it offers self-help options such as yoga, meditation and martial arts, which are essential to me."

Pursuing a legal career is a different path from the one that Applewhite followed at Alcorn. She is transitioning from psychology, but she believes her psychology degree will aid her in understanding her clients better and counseling them through the legal process.

"As a lawyer, you provide counsel. You have to know and understand your clients during a time when they have no clue how to proceed. I believe that having a degree in psychology will help me in the legal field because I will have a greater understanding of people."

Applewhite's path to law school wouldn't be possible had it not been for her time in the Sidley Pre-Law Scholars Program in Chicago last summer. She is fortunate for the resources the program provided for her.

"Participating in the program was indeed a blessing. As a minority, I believe the program prepared me not only for the LSAT but also it provided me with the finances to fund my journey to law school."

Trying to balance her many educational and organizational requirements, along with attempting to have a social life, was challenging for Applewhite. Despite the full agenda, she appreciates the grind because she believes that it was just a preview of how law school will be.

"This year prepared me for having a lot to do at once and maintaining a balance that was healthy for myself and others. It was so much going on, but it shows how vital time management is. This year helped me to become gritty enough to remain strong through adversity."

Now that Applewhite is approaching the conclusion of her undergraduate studies, she feels a sense of accomplishment. She's proud of her journey and all the achievements she earned along the way.

"It's a relief. As graduation and the end of the school year approaches, more stress has being lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I can look back and be proud of my accomplishments and soak in the moment of being a graduating senior."