The single mother whose touching Instagram message and photographs went viral after she graduated from Harvard Law School last month, her daughter in her arms, hopes that her experience will serve as a reminder to others that they, too, can achieve their goals — no matter the odds.
Briana Williams, 24, said she didn’t expect her recent social media post to ricochet around the Internet like it has (it has been liked more than 22,000 times and she’s amassed thousands of new followers), but she has been moved by the outpouring of support and encouragement she’s received since sharing images from the commencement ceremony at the prestigious law school in May.
“I never share my personal thoughts on Instagram — I’m not open with my audience,’’ she said in a telephone interview with the Globe. “I didn’t know I could have this kind of effect on other people.’’
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. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it. This “biting the bullet” experience is quite quintessential of my time at Harvard. 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. Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. 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.