Thank you to Express and ShopStyle for sponsoring today’s post.
When Jordan started preschool this year and I shared how emotional it was for me, many of you sent me the sweetest messages saying you’ve been following me since I was pregnant with her and can’t believe how time has flown! I’m with you- it goes so very fast! But did you know that I’ve been blogging since my son James was just 4 months old? He’s nine now! My 10 year blogging anniversary was this summer!
So many of you have been with me (and James!) from the very beginning and I’m so very grateful for you! Your support and encouragement through the years is why I still love blogging today!
I’ve mentioned it over the years, but never written a full post about how I went from full-time lawyer to blogger. As I started writing about this journey, the post got longer and longer to the point where I felt like I needed to cut big chunks out of it. On Stories, y’all said you wanted the whole story, and recommended that I split the post into two or a series, so here we go!
This is Part 1, how I became a lawyer. Part 2 will be how I went from lawyer to blogger. I hope you enjoy hearing about my background. It felt incredibly vulnerable to share it so publicly. Also, I hope you get something more from it that just my story. I hope you realize how much you are capable of and how much of an impact you can have in someone else’s life.
HOW I BECAME A LAWYER
I grew up with very loving parents, who happened to be kids themselves. My parents had me when they were 17 and so in a way, we grew up together. As a baby I stayed home with my Grandma Nola while my mom was getting her GED and working and my Dad was working.
I’m not sure I ever mentioned this before, but my Grandma Nola isn’t actually a blood relative. She’s a close family friend that took us under her wing to help raise me while my parents tried to earn a living and support our family. She was close with my Mom’s father, and that’s how we knew her.
Grandma Nola basically adopted me and my parents into her family and I’ve been blessed to have an entire set of aunts, uncles and cousins who are my family, but not by birth.
To this day, Grandma Nola is the wisest woman I’ve known and, though she has now gone to be with the Lord, her influence lives on inside me. She’s the one who always encouraged me to Take Care of You.
Since my Dad went straight to work and my mom stuck with her high school education, we struggled a lot financially. My parents worked hard, but there was so much stress and lots of fighting over money.
Looking back, that shaped me in that I knew I didn’t want to have that same experience in my adult life. I was determined to be financially secure and independent. Not because I wanted expensive things, just so that I felt safe and so that money wouldn’t be the source of so much heartache.
HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
As soon as I could work, I got a job and started saving my money. Shout out to Dandy’s Car Wash, where I worked washing cars after school when I was a freshman in high school! Then, TJ Maxx, a flower shop, a dental office, and Famous Footwear – all while I was in high school.
We moved from Ohio to Texas before my senior year of high school. My parents financial life improved, but there were high highs and low lows. My Dad was an entrepreneur, so sometimes business was doing well, and sometimes not so much.
I felt certain that higher education was the way for me to have a brighter future and financial freedom. Plus, I had always gotten good grades in school and I enjoyed it.
After high school, I went and got a job as a waitress at Hooters because my cousin was working there and I heard you could make over $100 in tips a day. $100! That was so much money to me then and I think for most people right out of high school. Fun fact: My cousin went on to become Miss USA in 1998!
I knew I had to send myself to college since there was no money for that, so I started working, taking one semester off so I could save up. I saved most of my tips so I could use them for tuition.
And, guess what?! I actually loved working there! The other girls that worked there were like a sorority to me and the regular customers were awesome. I especially remember the couples and families that used to eat there and we became good friends. And I still like their wings! 😉
WORKING THROUGH COLLEGE
The next semester, I enrolled at University of Houston, met a girl in my math class, and we moved in together so that I wouldn’t have to drive so far to school. I had been commuting from my parents house to class- a good 45 minute drive, then driving 30 minutes to work. It was too much, especially when I had class at 8am.
So, now I had bills to pay, and college. I needed to earn more money, so I started bartending on the weekends and there you could make $250 on a good night!
I didn’t have much direction while I was going to school. Originally, I majored in broadcast journalism, but with working and going to school, and the occasional partying, it was taking forever to earn all my credits.
MEETING MY MENTOR
I was still working at the restaurant while trying to get through school and on a particularly busy evening, an older gentlemen came in and sat at the counter where I was working behind the bar. He was short and stocky, wearing a grey suit and tie. I was always friendly with my customers and knew all of them very well, but I’d never seen him before.
As I waited on each customer, I started making conversation with this particular customer named Dennis. He casually asked me what I really wanted to do when I ‘grew up’ and I immediately said that I wanted to be a lawyer. It was the first time I ever voiced that out loud. Up until then, it had kind of been brewing quietly inside.
I’m not sure what gave me the confidence to say it or even acknowledge it. Up until then, I always told myself that that could never happen for me. Going to law school was for people way smarter than me and with a family to support them through it. I never felt like I had the brains for law school or that I even belonged there.
There was no one in my family other than my Grandma Nola who had even gone to college, let alone law school.
Turns out, Dennis was a lawyer.
He started coming in regularly, planting seeds about how I really should pursue that goal of becoming a lawyer. He’d say, “look how you run this bar, how good you are with people, how you know what to say to whom. Those are the skills of a good lawyer.”
Over time, we came to be friends and, like my Grandma Nola, he gave me so much wise advice and encouraged me to go for it. He would say, “you have a tremendous talent, you’re smart, you’re ambitious. You have what it takes.”
Eventually, seeing that I was kind of floundering around, not making much progress, he was quite frank with me saying, ‘Megan, you’ve got to get out of these bars, finish college, and apply to law school.”
Up until then, I had just been taking classes with no graduation date in sight. I finally decided he was right. His words of encouragement took route in my heart and I thought, “Why can’t I become a lawyer? Maybe I can do it. Maybe I should at least try.”
I went to my school counselor and found out I had almost all the credits I needed to graduate with a degree in corporate communication with a minor in psychology. I put my nose to the grindstone and took the final classes I needed to graduate.
Right before I graduated, I got a call from one of my friends who waitressed with me. “Did you hear about Dennis?”, she asked.
“No.” I replied.
“He died.” I started bawling my eyes out. It was such a shock, I didn’t even know he was sick or maybe he wasn’t and I just couldn’t believe he was gone so suddenly. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. Had I ever really thanked him for everything he’d done in my life so far?
How could I do this without him? How could I get through law school without his encouragement? I felt super alone and scared at that time in my life.
But I kept going.
APPLYING TO LAW SCHOOL
Applying to law school is kind of an ordeal. There’s tons of paperwork you have to gather and fill out and you have to write a statement about why you want to go to law school.
As I sat alone writing my paper over many days, I thought about Dennis and how proud he would have been that I was finally taking that leap. I wanted to thank him. I wrote my paper about his influence on my life.
Here was a man that took a 100% platonic interest in a young girl that really didn’t have the best direction in her life. He helped lead her down a path that would make her life better. Without asking of anything in return.
He spent Saturday afternoons taking me to the law library where I saw other young people studying and told me, “that should be you.”
He allowed me to go to court with him several times and always said, “you’re gonna be great at this.”
Isn’t it amazing how a single person can impact your life so greatly? Maybe you have a Dennis or Grandma Nola in your life or you ARE them for someone else. Those encouraging words can mean so much. Maybe that’s why I love having a college intern working with me during the summer.
I applied to three schools and got two rejection letters. When the letter came saying I had been accepted to law school, I wanted to share that letter with Dennis so bad.
I wanted him to know that we had made it that far. I started law school in 2001 and graduated in 2004. I was 29.
It took three years, many student loans and tons of perseverance to finish, but I always told myself, the time was going to pass anyway. I still think of that today whenever I have a goal that’s months or years away.
The time is going to pass anyway, wouldn’t it be better to have accomplished something hard along the way?
As a young lawyer, fresh out of law school without any professional clothes (we didn’t wear suits at Hooters or the bar where I worked;), I bought so many of my work wear outfits from Express.
I loved wearing their tailored blouses because they were femininely cut and didn’t look so boyish. Also, they always had fun colors and patterns so my wardrobe didn’t look boring.
This outfit is an example of something I could definitely wear to the office and feel professional in, yet still express my style.
The herringbone blazer is always a classic work piece, but I love how this one has a pop of color with the blue. It has a notched collar and one button, with welt pockets. The shoulders are slightly padded, but just enough to give it some structure, not overdone.
The blazer is also fully lined and machine washable!
Blazer Fit : I’m wearing size 0
Express slacks were another go to because they were professional, great quality and stylish cut. I also always appreciated that they come in short sizes because I am petite and didn’t want to have to take my pants to get altered. With these, they fit right off the rack.
This particular pair is so, so good! It’s the Mid Rise Barely Boot Columnist Pant. The ‘barely boot’ is a flattering cut because they elongate your leg line, as opposed to a skinny cut. The quality is also there with 450 positive reviews.
Pants Fit : I’m wearing 0Short and they also come in, regular, long and petite. You’ll have the most selection online.
The black is a wardrobe staple, but they also come in navy, wine and brown- all lovely colors for Fall.
♥ SHOP THIS OUTFIT BY CLICKING THE PICTURES BELOW ♥
I had fun switching up this look to represent blog life! Obviously, as a blogger you are working at home almost all day and if you wanted to, you could stay in pajamas! I did that for a long time but I always feel better when I get dressed and take time to do my hair and make up.
I’ve gotten really good at a five minute face and that makes me feel better and more productive the whole day.
I’m wearing the same camisole as above, but when you take the jacket off, it becomes a fun date night or casual look.
And three cheers for these jeans! They are a mid rise with raw hem and I love that they are ankle length. Even so, you can still get them in short, regular, long or petite.
Jeans Fit : I’m wearing size 2 Short (I sized up one)
How fun are these earrings?! The colors are nice and bold and they’re really lightweight.
♥ SHOP THIS OUTFIT BY CLICKING THE PICTURES BELOW ♥
I hope you enjoyed this more personal post and got to learn more about my background. Are you still interested in hearing Part 2- how I went from lawyer to blogger? Let me know in the comments, along with any specific questions you have about blogging.
And thank you so very much for being here with me throughout the years. It truly means so much!
Have a great day!