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6 Personal Lessons That Led To Paralegal School

Posted by Gail Armatys

Feb 18, 2013 10:34:00 AM

Here are 6 lessons you can learn from someone else who recognized she needed to do something more to expand her career opportunities, engage her interest in the law, and experience online interactive instruction that mirrors the traditional classroom.

Paralegal Program Student Sharon Labba

1. Now What?

Sharon Labba's childhood wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Her mother died early, her father checked out, her brothers went their own way and she had only a grandmother to step in and provide guidance. And college was never part of the plan. No one in her family had ever gone to college and a degree had never been suggested or encouraged.  After she finished high school, Sharon thought: what now? A hasty marriage conveniently filled the bill. Life progressed, a fine son came along, but ultimately the easy decision by two children to marry became a hard consequence for two grown adults to live with.


2. Continue to Learn

Sharon had been working in the oil and gas business and had been successful. It meant that she was already well set up to provide for her son. She has worked in training and development, billing, safety and other departments. She has held her current position for over ten years. And, the oil and gas business has been kind to Sharon, too. Her company values continuous learning as a way to progress and has urged Sharon to pursue secondary education of some kind.  But in what? Sharon was unsure.


3. Develop Your Interest in the Law

Then she thought back to her divorce and the beginnings of her interest in the law. When it looked certain that the marriage was over, Sharon drove over to Barnes and Noble and purchased the book: "How to File for your own Divorce in the State of Texas." Using it as a guide, Sharon filed for and attained her own divorce. "We were not fighting over anything at that time. I kept my car; he kept his truck. He did what he said he was going to do. We got along very well." She also found that she was hooked. As she successfully maneuvered through the various legal processes and hoops, she thought: "Wow, this is interesting!"  But it took a number of years to decide to undertake education in the legal field and to change her career.


4. Take the Plunge

 "Thinking about going back to school made me fearful; it took me out of my comfort zone." But as a spiritual person, Sharon turned to God and the verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Six months ago, she took the plunge, signed up at the Center for Advanced Legal Studies and the timing couldn't be better. Her son moves out  and up to college next year, her job has slowed allowing her to do homework at work on occasion and her manager is extremely supportive.


5. Impressed with this Online Instruction

Has it been difficult? "Sure," says Sharon. "Nouns? Pronouns? What? I don't remember any of that!" But it's starting to come back. And more information is pouring in. "I feel comfortable with the offerings at CALS.  I had been out of school for years and wanted the one-on-one classroom experience, so I was nervous about online instruction. But I'm very impressed with Wimba, how the work is presented, how we can see each other and interact with one another on line and the professionalism of the staff and faculty at the center."


6. I Should Have Done This Years Ago

Just in case, Sharon keeps her inspirational Bible verse in a prominent place to guide her when she's stressed and the work is coming at her.  But she's managing and more. "I'm 40 years old and here I am in school. I should have done this years ago."

Center for Advanced Legal Studies' provides focused paralegal education to adults.  CALS is passionate about the success of its students.  Please contact us at 800-446-6931 or info@paralegal.edu for more information.

Paralegal Program Faculty, Joy Oden


  Blogger, Joy Oden teaches English Comprehension at CALS to AAS Degree students in both the traditional and online classroom. She writes about her students because she is continually amazed at their desire and ability to overcome difficult circumstances, change their lives, and interest in helping others. Today's student hero is Sharon Labba.

Topics: online classes, career, technology, education and training

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