Law in Contemporary Society
The Lucky Sperm Club My father has always told me that I am a part of the "lucky sperm club" as he jokingly refers to it. When I look at my life compared to the lives of my second and third cousins, I recognize the immense amount of luck that comes from being born into my family and having the parents and grandparents that I have. I am a third-generation college graduate, and this is not something that I take lightly as an African American woman. I know how hard this country has worked to prevent people like me from being educated which is why there is no one I look up to more than Chester and Mary Smith or as I affectionately call them, papa, and grandma. The things my grandparents did for themselves changed my life forever and God-willing, generations to come.

My grandma is the oldest of five siblings from a small, poor town in West Texas. She was the first and only one of her siblings to graduate from college in 1957 with a degree in nursing from Prairie View A&M University (PV), a historically black college in Texas during the segregated Jim Crow Era. My grandmother is a trailblazer. Not only did she have a successful career as a nurse, but she was also the first African American tenured professor at Texas Women's University, and she established her own that still successfully operates today.

On the other hand, my papa was the second oldest of five siblings and also the only one of his siblings to graduate from college. He worked full-time as an orderly at a segregated hospital to pay for his tuition at the historically black university, Texas Southern University. It's funny how life works because during my papa's time at the hospital is where he met and fell in love with my grandmother which led to my creation. I had always known my papa to be retired, but before that, he was a well-known educator and principal in the Houston Independent School District.

Last semester, he passed away. Before this, I had been fortunate enough not to have dealt with very much loss. There is certainly never a right time to lose a loved one, but I definitely never expected it to happen during my first semester of law school, let alone, my first month. I was never able to put a pause on my life which certainly took a toll on me. During the time I was deeply grieving his loss, I always remind myself of who I am and where I come from. I am the granddaughter of Chester and Mary Smith and without them, I would not be here or the person I am today. That in my mind motivates me to work as hard as I do. I am an extremely privileged person, and my life could look completely different if I had been the grandchild of any of my grandparents' siblings. My grandparents stressed to me at a very early age that a strong, well-rounded education can bring an abundance of rewards both personally and professionally, and that hard work brings success. Although I mostly agree with those sentiments, I also recognize the sheer luck that comes from being a part of the "lucky sperm club."

After his funeral, I went into a sort of self-discovery journey because my grandfather’s life showed me the importance of pursuing your passions and walking in your purpose. It made me think about my own life and how I do not feel that’s what I am doing. In that I have realized that being a part of the lucky sperm club and understanding what my ancestors went through for me to be here is has really been my only source of motivation. I can’t say I have passion, just ambition. As it currently stands, I am the only grandchild to graduate college and it will likely remain this way. Because of this, I put an immense amount of pressure on myself to live up to the life that my grandparents created for me, out of fear that their efforts were done in vain. I get frustrated that I have an older sibling that lacks motivation to do anything with his life because the life he has was simply handed to him. It was difficult for me to fathom that knowing the history of our family would do anything less than motivate someone to want to succeed, but as I reflect on my own life, I see the emptiness that comes from that being the ONLY source of motivation. I chose to go to law school because it seemed like a safe choice that allowed me to get a degree that I could use in so many different ways. My reality is that it has forced me into a bubble where someone can get stabbed on campus during the middle of exams and my classmates first questions are about grades. Sometimes I look around at my classmates and wonder what this says about me since I am here too. Am I exactly like them? So cutthroat and concerned about grades to the point that I never first think to ask about anyone’s wellbeing. The reality is I do not want to be like them, I want to be like Chester. I want my passions to guide me through life.

My papa was an amazing man. He was always only a phone call away and supported me in every way he could. Honestly, he is the only reason I have been able to push through law school because he is the person that helped me edit my personal statement to get into school. Thus, I have decided to dedicate my three years at this institution to continuing his legacy by discovering what my passions are (as best as I can in law school) and letting my purpose guide me instead of just ambition.


Webs Webs

r6 - 27 May 2023 - 13:41:05 - EricaSmith
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM