By Zachary Horner, The Sanford Herald
SANFORD - Jes Martin's parents were in the Army, so she traveled around "a lot," in her own words. They arrived in Sanford when Martin was 12. She spent three-and-a-half years at Lee Early College and got a degree in psychology from UNC-Greensboro.
Three years later, Martin has just graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and was the featured speaker at LEC's graduation May 23.
She spoke to The Sanford Herald about her experience in law school, what's next for her and what she took away from her time at LEC.
What made you want to pursue a law degree?
My mom's a lawyer. I actually went to law school with her when I was little because I was preschool age and she just took me along with her. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a lawyer. One, it's familiar to me and also, I think justice is very important and I like the idea of being able to defend others and protecting those who can't protect themselves and that's what law provides me.
Is law school as hard as it's made out to be?
It's extremely difficult. Lots of long nights, lots of reading, lots of writing. That's about it. If it's something that you really want, it's not as difficult because it's interesting. Although I'm spending 10-14 hours a day of studying, it's not as bad because I'm enjoying it.
The content is actually not, per se, difficult. It's mostly the time. It's very time-consuming. Sure, I can read all of this and understand it. Just putting in all the time is the challenge, finding all the time.
What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill?
Carolina is the best school in the state, not according to rankings, but that's my point. It's the best bargain education and it's one of the top in the nation for bargain. It's a really good education for the amount you pay.
What is the next step for you?
I have joined the Army and I am hoping to start in October of this year but might start in January. It's the JAG corps, so I will be an attorney in the Army. Both of my parents were in the Army. So for one, it's familiar, it's all I know. But it also goes right in hand with the reasons I want to be an attorney. I'm getting all, two-in-one, and it's really awesome.
What made your time at Lee Early College helpful?
I had very challenging teachers who pushed me further than what I thought I was able to do and encouragement to continue all my efforts and studies. Undergrad for me, undergrad was easier than LEC classes. I ended up having the same English teacher for all of my classes at LEC. She was definitely way more difficult than any of my later English classes in undergrad, so she definitely prepared me well for all the writing. Because I went to LEC and I had to take college classes extremely young, that pushed me to continue to push myself. It was really overwhelming, but it actually prepared me for my future educational endeavors for law school.
When you spoke at the most recent graduation, what was your message to the graduates?
I told them a lot of what I just said, that they are well-prepared for any path they choose to follow. They don't have to do any of these high degrees. I told them they should follow their passion. It doesn't have to be something as common to society as a high profession. Whatever their passion is, don't let anyone stop them in pursuing that.