While most of us who’ve gone to college are familiar with pre-finals procrastination – and the ramen-fueled all-night study sessions that follow – one 24-year-old Harvard Law graduate puts us all to shame.
Atlanta native Briana Williams actually went into labor during finals season last year and not only did the single mom finish an exam while actively in labor, but she also successfully graduated this year. Talk about a real-life superhero.
I went into labor in April- during final exam period. I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it. This “biting the bullet” experience is quite quintessential of my time at Harvard. To say that my last year of law school, with a newborn, and as a single mom was a challenge would be an understatement. Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigued that I did not leave my bed. I struggled with reliable childcare. It was not atypical to see me rushing through Wasserstein to the Dean of Students’ office with Evelyn in her carriage, asking DOS can they keep her for a few until class was over. If not, she’d just have to come with me to class. Evie attended classes often. So I’m going to be honest with you guys.. I didnt think I could do it. I did not think that, at 24 years old, as a single mom, I would be able to get through one of the most intellectually rigorous and challenging positions of my life. It was hard. It hurt. Instagram can make peoples’ lives seem seamless, but this journey has been heartwrenching. However, I am happy to say that I DID do it. Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that- for the sake of my baby, I will be an example. Evelyn- they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.
While in labor, Brianna requested an epidural on the spot so she could finish her Family Law exam. “And with tears in my eyes, I finished it,” she confessed on Instagram. In her own words, this “biting the bullet” moment was typical of her Harvard experience.
“A small-town girl from Atlanta,” Brianna Williams is one of six children and the only one in her family to attend college. In a series of heartfelt posts on Instagram, the fresh Harvard graduate opened up about her struggles coming from a low-income family and getting into one the most exclusive and privileged colleges in the world.
Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigues that I did not leave my bed… It was hard. It hurt.
— Brianna Williams
Although she managed to overcome her “imposter syndrome,” becoming pregnant and then raising a newborn as a single mom during her final year at Harvard brought a new set of huge challenges. “To say that my last year of law school, with a newborn, and as a single mom was a challenge would be an understatement,” Williams confessed.
At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that for the sake of my baby, I will be an example. Brianna Williams
Detailing her struggles with reliable childcare, Williams spoke of how she’d often ask staff at the dean’s office to watch baby Evelyn while she attended classes, and when that wasn’t an option, she’d go to class with baby in tow.
Many told her she would not be able to do it because of her daughter, but Williams credits Evelyn Willow with her accomplishments.
Know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.
— Brianna Williams
Now, after working as a waitress and bartender to support herself and successfully graduating from the most rigorous law school in the world, Williams has joined a top law firm in Los Angeles.
She is part of the firm’s litigation department and will have the opportunity to undertake pro-bono cases as well. We’d say baby Evelyn most certainly has a great example to look up to.