Baby in One Hand, Degree in Another

Journey to a Degree

When Briana Williams arrived at Saint John’s University, she only had a suitcase, a pair of shoes and a bible. A first-generation college student, Williams graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Legal Studies before she made her way to Boston to attend Harvard Law School.


A woman with a passion for helping others, Briana was determined to uplift the rights of black people and women. Soon, Briana became the Communications Director for the Harvard Law Black Students Association and around that same time, went into labor with her daughter, Evelyn, during her final exam. “I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade.” Briana wrote in an Instagram post. “And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it.”


Now, with an infant in tow, Briana was more determined than ever to complete her degree at Harvard. However, the next year would prove to be challenging as she struggled to keep up with her rigorous academic schedule and a newborn baby, all while juggling two jobs as a waitress and bartender. With no financial help or childcare, Briana was forced to get creative with how she would manage her time. Most days, Evelyn would go to classes and meetings with her mom. In the cases where she was not able to, Evelyn would hang out in the Dean of Students’ office in her stroller while her mother would rush to class. Despite the moments of utter exhaustion, Briana continued on, pushing herself to achieve her dreams not just for her, but for her daughter.


In May 2018, Briana Williams reached her goal of graduating from Harvard Law School while holding Evelyn in her arms. The moment was filled with love, as she cried tears of joy and beamed with pride. Though not an easy feat, all of her hard work paid off, as she moved on to a position at one of the top law firms in Los Angeles. When speaking about her journey both past, present and future, Briana echoes the same determination she always has:


“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.”


It’s safe to say Briana has already achieved that goal.


Click here to learn more about Briana’s story.


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