Featured Lawtina: Cindy Hernandez
Meet Cindy Hernandez, a true example that you must keep rising above your circumstances. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!
"I come from Honduran immigrant parents, who worked hard to give their children the best life possible. The idea of the American dream became a blur for my parents after my father was injured at work and was unable to get much compensation for his injuries, since his attorney didn't advocate for him. This is what fired me up to want to be an attorney and to be the best advocate possible for my future clients.
Coming from a low income household, it always seemed like law school was an unattainable dream. I feared getting into debt and not making it. I took 2.5 years after undergrad to decide if law school was the right choice. I got my paralegal certificate and interned at a bankruptcy law firm, which eventually turned into an immigration law firm. It was then when I made up my mind and re discovered how passionate I was about fighting for the rights of the people, for advocating for our clients.
I went to law school with that passion burning inside, and committed to doing my best in law school. But law school has a funny way of testing your passion, of testing who you are. I was tested after my first year. My law school had this point system, called foundation points, which is based on the subjects that are tested on the bar. You have to get a certain point average on 8 of those classes and if you do not then you get put on probation and eventually dismissal.
My 1L year, I had no choice but to work and go to school. I wasn't sleeping much and I had no social life. I was always feeling so tired and felt like I was the dumbest person in school. After my first 1L semester, I felt so defeated. I had been put on foundation point probation. Even though my GPA was not terrible, I had not achieved the point average for the bar tested courses. Come 2L year, I was still on probation and facing dismissal for only having 1 foundation point. At this point, my confidence was shut down, I felt so little, so lost. I questioned myself so much, I doubted myself so much. After the 2nd semester of my 2L year, every law students nightmare became a reality, I received my dismissal letter. Although, I had gotten 3 of the foundation points, I had to have 4 or more at that point. I had no idea what I was going to do, how I was going to tell my parents that I couldn't do it. I was extremely defeated and ready to give up. I didn't want to keep fighting, I didn't feel like I was good enough to be an attorney, specially not after having a conversation with my dean who told me "students that are on probation never pass the bar and don't have much of a future as an attorney."
Although, I wanted to give up, I decided to give it my last push, I appealed my dismissal. I was thankfully granted my appeal and was given one semester to reach 2 of the foundation points. I was in shock since I thought I was done with my dream. I went from being on probation, to getting dismissed, to being granted my appeal, to then killing it my last year in law school. I made honor roll, got 4.0's in 2 of my classes. But the best part was that I proved my dean wrong--I went through all of that, and I passed the bar on my first try and I truly believe I have a great career in front of me.
Law school made me feel like I wasn't smart, like I wasn't good enough for this career. It is easy to compare yourself to the top students and think you aren't good enough, but never compare yourself, because your circumstances and there's are not the same. For me, it was time, I wasn't investing the time required to studying. I was going from school to work (or vice versa) and then trying to study at nights/weekends, and there were days where my tiredness won and there was no studying getting done. But through it all, I beat all the odds, I learned how strong I am, how smart and full of passion for this career I am.“