‘Society refuses to celebrate people like me’: 41-yr-old graduates law school after many failed attempts

Ama Nunoo June 02, 2021
Amber Goodwin is set to graduate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo Courtesy of @amberkgoodwin/Twitter

Many people get discouraged when things get tough and their best option is to quit but that is not Amber Goodwin. She applied to many law schools but got rejected by all her top choices. She still kept her dream of being a lawyer alive. This week, she graduates from law school at the age of 41. 

The Texas native will walk across the stage on June 6 to receive her Juris Doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, in St. Paul, Minn., almost two decades after graduating from college. 

While looking for ways to fulfill her dreams of being a lawyer, Goodwin pursued a master’s degree which led her to work on Capitol Hill. Her love for justice for all led her to found the Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF). The program aims to curb gun violence, with its target group being communities of color

After giving much attention to her action fund and Capitol Hill job, Goodwin decided to try law school again in her late 30s, and all things being equal, she made it. “My mentality was: I’m going to keep applying places and they have to tell me no,” Goodwin told Good Morning America. “I’m not going to call the question on myself. If people tell me no, then that’s on them, and I’ll just keep trying.”

Now the soon-to-be graduate is celebrating her wins and she is encouraging other women to pursue their dreams too no matter their age. “Sorry not sorry in advance for all the law graduation photos y’all are about to get,” Goodwin wrote, sharing a photo of herself in her cap and gown.

“I’m 41, never been married, have no kids, and most days society refuses to celebrate people like me. It’s been a very rough year but this is a bright spot for many of us. It was all worth it,” she wrote on Twitter.

Little did she know that many would jump at her words and share their experiences with her via the comments section and directly in her inbox. Others too were in awe of her and felt encouraged by her story to also pursue their dreams. 

“I feel this so strongly. I just turned 46, never married/any kids, and often feel invisible in my own life. Congrats on your amazing achievement!!,” one Twitter user wrote.

“As a 40+ single never married woman, I’ve learned to flip the narrative about women like us. YOU are the apex of womanhood. Fully liberated with w/choices and life that our female ancestors couldn’t even fathom. You represent the fullest potential of womankind. Congratulations!!,” another Twitter user wrote.

The 41-year-old was overwhelmed by the responses her Tweet garnered as the days went by. According to her, she thought her family and friends would be the only people to respond to it. “I didn’t expect that anyone outside of my family and friends would actually like it or tweet it. I consider myself brave for going back to law school at 38 and not really going back with a plan of what I would do once I got out of law school,” she said. 

“A lot of times people, especially women and Black women, are not celebrated while we’re doing things. We’re celebrated maybe when we’ve made it and are winning big cases as an attorney or doing other things like getting married or having kids.

“And a lot of times things like [graduating law school] aren’t just seen as a win for someone who is 41 years old,'” Goodwin said. “This gave me a sense that people were standing right next to me as I was getting really great news and times when I was maybe not feeling as sure of myself.”

When it is all said and done, Goodwin would love to have a family. According to her, every single day deserves to be celebrated

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 2, 2021


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