Graduating from Harvard Law School is an incredible achievement. But doing it as a single mom with a one year old? That's next-level.
But that's just what Briana Williams, 24, did. Her story, which she posted to Instagram last week, has gone viral and inspired thousands of comments from well-wishers cheering her on for her success.
Williams gave birth to daughter Evelyn in April 2017, one year before she was set to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer.
"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," she shared on Instagram. "And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it."
"This 'biting the bullet' experience is quite quintessential of my time at Harvard," she continued. "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."
Indeed, Briana beat the odds and graduated with her adorable daughter right alongside her.
"Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School," Williams says. "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."
Now that she has graduated, Briana and Evelyn will be heading back to Briana's home state of California to practice law. She knows that her story has inspired countless other women in similar situations, and she hopes that she'll be able to do an equal amount of good with her new law degree.
“I went to college with one suitcase and one pair of shoes, holding on to a bible that my older sister had tucked away in my bag," she told Yahoo after her story went viral. "I’d worked full-time as a waitress and bartender in New York to get by. I found ways that I could appreciate coming from a disenfranchised background. I could look at the law through the lens of a black woman and (eventually), a financially independent single mother. I used this to my advantage.”
Good luck, mama! We can't wait to watch you and your daughter change the world.