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“Never separate the life you live from the words you speak” - a saying that has carried third-year College of Law student Jacquelynn Jordan along the eastern seaboard to pursue her educational aspirations. Through her many accomplishments, Jordan makes a note to practice what she has preached.
Jordan’s journey to FAMU to pursue a law degree was met with stops at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte to earn her B.A. degree, and Clemson University in South Carolina for her M.A. degree, before continuing to the famed HBCU in Florida.
A Brooklyn native, Jordan attended a law school expo in New York and was convinced by the FAMU College of Law admissions representative to visit the campus. “When I came to the school she remembered my name,” recalled Jordan. “I thought if everyone is like her this must be an awesome place.”
Fueled by encouragement from her family, and resonant words of her maternal grandmother, Jordan followed a childhood dream to become a lawyer. “She always emphasized education,” Jordan said of her grandmother. “She literally taught me to dot my “i”s and cross my “t”s, and encouraged me to do my best - and while it’s important to have book smarts, it’s even more important to have common sense.”
The common sense side of Jordan kept her grounded to her community. Prior to attending FAMU College of Law, she volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club as an after school tutor, and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Hospital. Her volunteer efforts continued as a law student with the Black Law Students Association and Student Bar Association for the Clean-Up Parramore initiative and the MLK March. Personal volunteer efforts included service with the Children’s Home Society, New Beginnings Church of God, and the Greatest Investment Girls’ Summer Camp. “Community service is important because it gives students balance, provides perspective and encourages students to see beyond themselves,” Jordan said.
Still, the book smarts of this achiever would not be outdone. Jordan is a recipient of the 2011 Central Florida Chapter of the National Black MBA Association Graduate Scholarship. Part of the National Black MBA Association, the non-profit organization represents more than 150-plus members across the I-4 corridor, and is dedicated to creating partnerships that result in intellectual and economic wealth in the black community. She has also been a recurring recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship for her academic achievement.
“Balance is tough,” Jordan admitted. “It’s hard to maintain a high level of intensity for three years. You get tired - I focus on my health and run to de-stress from school.” The de-stressing method led to a side-hobby for Jordan. An avid runner since her undergraduate years, the former financial industry professional started running road races in order to stay healthy while enduring the rigors of law school. Having completed several, she is currently training for a marathon.
Her training can pay off not only in her health, but the accomplishment can equip her with the perseverance it may take for her career in law, and what it could do for others. “I am looking forward to the doors this degree will open,” Jordan said. “I don’t want to follow a traditional path, but I want to know that I am able to help others through my work.”
Jordan is a student member of the First Central Florida Inn of Court, the American Bar Association, National Bar Association, and serves as Attorney General for the Student Bar Association. She would like to concentrate in Public Interest Law, or work in legislation and politics. “There aren’t enough lawyers writing policy. I think we could have better laws and make meaningful change,” Jordan said. “Our system of law is not perfect, but I don’t know of any one better in the world or one that allows for individuals to get involved on all levels. We all have a duty to get informed and get involved.”
Jordan’s sentiment is one that she hopes can continue with prospective students who decide to study law, or 1Ls and 2Ls already in the trenches. “This is a unique time and opportunity so make the most of it,” Jordan said. “Whether it is electives you will take, internships you’ll do, people you will meet or places you will go, enjoy the process. Don’t place limits on yourself or allow others to do that; and don’t wait until after the bar to appreciate the journey.”
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