After graduating from high school, I went on to the University of South Carolina, proud to be a Gamecock fan. Shortly after my freshman year I was held up at gunpoint and carjacked. It was a frightening ordeal, but in the end I "made lemonade out of lemons" and decided to pursue a career in Criminal Justice. I completed an internship in the SC State House and another internship at the Richland County Drug Court. I was so excited about the prospect of being a lawyer that I graduated in three and a half years from USC with a 3.7 GPA by taking summer school courses (that, combined with my AP credits from high school).
I always had some kind of part time job. I babysat before I was old enough to work. I was incredibly driven and realized quickly the harder I worked, the more I accomplished. I worked in a small ladies clothing store, Hallmark card stores, was an academic tutor in college, helped students with disabilities, had holiday employment at the mall, and even landed a job as a courier at a small law firm (Tompkins and McMaster Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina).
That little law firm had some powerful lawyers that encouraged and inspired me. I ended up getting into law school and I knew I would be happy doing exactly what I enjoyed. And I was right. I was the first lawyer, and first lady lawyer in the history of my family. And I wasn't finished making history.
First year law students are encouraged not to work due to the demanding academic work load. Not working and being a full time student was a laughable, foreign concept for me. I had a part time job as a nanny for Thad Myers, a local attorney in Columbia, SC. As luck would have it, the law firm where Thad worked needed a law clerk and guess who got the job?