On New Years Eve 2008, I decided to opt out of the French Quarter fireworks ritual that I’d maintained over these past few years and instead, stay home and reflect on my goals for 2009. In an effort to visualize and truly remind myself of where I’d like to focus my thoughts this year, I made a vision board.
Vision Board 101
A “vision board” is basically a collection of images and/or phrases posted onto a board that you place in a visible area in your home so that each day your are reminded of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. It can also serve as a positive affirmation to get you through those tough times. The process of making the board itself is very mindful and purposeful. The best images and phrases can be found in magazines, especially those that cater to women. I’ve got a pretty healthy collection of Oprah, Essence, Newsweek, Time, and Entertainment Weekly so there are no shortages of pictures and images that relate to almost every area of my life – career, health, love – it’s all there.
The beauty of making a vision board is that it’s your vision, so wherever you want to see yourself or whatever quote provides the best inspiration – you get to decide where it will go and what relevance it will have on your board. Now, of course I can’t take credit for this concept. Big shout out to Oprah! (And this blog also has more information.)
So what are some of the things on my board?
At the center, there is a picture of a tree with lemons falling around it. The phrase says, “Are you ready for change?” And indeed, I am. Just below that picture is the statement, “I will pass the February 2009 Bar Exam.” It’s written in fairly large letters so that each day when I wake up, I consciously and on purpose shift my thinking in this direction.
2008 was a pretty stressful year for me. So I’ve got a lot of positive affirmations that I found to help me get through the trials that may come in 2009. They are:
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For the past four years I have worked the Night Shift – better known as law school evening classes, while working a full-time job during the day. Next month, it finally comes to an end. I will receive my Juris Doctor degree and will officially enter the legal profession.
Sure there are some “minor” details to attend to such as the bar exam in February and completing my final exams over the next two weeks. But for now, I am celebrating the “No mores.” No more evening classes. No more dashing off to school at 5:15p.m. at the end of a long workday. No more guilt trips about not visiting family on the holidays because of study obligations. No more!!!!!!
I applied to law school five years ago because I wanted to join the ranks of legal giants that have used the law as a weapon of social justice. Charles Hamilton Houston, a great civil rights attorney and former Dean of Howard Law School once said, “A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society.” Each day, I strive to work towards a career that builds upon this principle. My heroes are Constance Baker Motley and Thurgood Marshall and all of the countless advocates that have come before our nation’s justice system for relief against inequality and oppression.
Constance Baker Motley
Like them, I can understand how the road to success is often lined with unexpected obstacles. In the fall of my second year, a force known as Hurricane Katrina, displaced me from New Orleans and threatened to disrupt the flow of my law school career. But I pressed on. I relocated to Georgia and began working full time while continuing my studies at night.
That semester was a blur for me. I was dealing with the shock and uncertainty of being displaced from my new home and the government’s unconscionable treatment of people pleading for help on their rooftops. During the day, I worked at a non-profit law office helping Katrina victims to secure disaster benefits and assistance. But most importantly, I met with and counseled men and women traumatized by the flood waters and their experiences during those dreadful days after the storm. Their stories inspired me to return to New Orleans months later to continue my legal studies and help the city in its recovery. And when Hurricane Gustav threatened the city again this past year, I was a much wiser evacuee.
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