Paralegal Studies, NashvilleCassi
“My parents are the reason why I am making sure I am going to school and that I have a career path. I don’t want to let anyone down, and I want to make sure that I can be that backbone for the family if they need me. My brother and sister have both taken the family route. My brother has a little daughter and my sister has five kids, so I have six nieces and nephews between the two of them. I am 26, so I want to hold out a little longer on having children. I want to finish my career path first and just enjoy the family moments that I get with them.
For two years, I did art education and criminal justice. My mom talked me out of the art thing pretty quickly. She’s like, ‘You’re spending five hours on art in the garage and not writing papers. What are you doing?’
I didn’t want to enroll in a program where I didn’t see myself actually having a career. I do really enjoy research, and I found that paralegal is the best of both worlds.
“I don’t want to let anyone down, and I want to make sure that I can be that backbone for the family if they need me.”
When I went to school at a traditional four-year university, I had stadium seating classes, a lot of students. You didn’t have that personal rapport with the professors. Online courses and online tests. Here, I spend hours upon hours with my instructors, just one-on-one time, and that’s totally priceless to me.
I love this school. Just from all of the instructors, the students that I go to school with, even the lady that works the front desk is really, really sweet. You can count on everyone here. It’s truly a family environment.
I was working a sales job downtown that I absolutely hated, and I realized that I needed to start a career. So I got online and researched some things and my roommate was like, ‘Hey, you’d make a great paralegal. You watch criminal justice shows all day long.’ So I looked into it, and I found out that this college did have a good program.
I was actually outside having lunch one day, and a gentleman approached me and we kind of sparked up a conversation. We got to talking, and he said that he had just graduated from Brightwood College and he was a paralegal in his field and he was loving it.
If you’re a brand new student and you’ve never attended any college before, you probably won’t go to a different type of college after this because this type of environment is so personal. When you come here, you really feel like the staff cares about you. I couldn't imagine going to a large school with stadium seating and online tests ever again.
“When I went to school at a traditional four-year university, I had stadium seating classes, a lot of students. You didn’t have that personal rapport with the professors.”
The program director, Mr. Hanson, instills confidence in you. He makes you feel comfortable. I was nervous about it in the beginning, but after talking to him I felt like I was just talking to an old friend after about 20 minutes. He’s very friendly and he keeps you on path, which I very much appreciated. I definitely appreciate him always checking in on me, and I love having him as an instructor, too.
The career development department here is also amazing. I actually met with a student that graduated five years ago who still visits the campus. He told me, ‘When you graduate, make sure you do whatever career development tells you to do.’
My husband has also been really supportive through the whole thing. It’s been a different change in our lifestyle. I was working a 9-to-5 sales job and he was doing the same type of thing. We’ve had different schedules. I am working later now; he leaves earlier in the morning. But he’s really happy to see that I am doing what I enjoy and that I will have a career when I graduate.
I am thinking about going through and getting a bachelor’s degree so that I can potentially take my LSAT so that I can find out if I can enroll in law school and someday become a lawyer. But right now, I am just really excited about my externship. I would love to be able to pick an externship in a field that I am interested in, but I am totally willing to take anything that career development has for me.
Success here definitely comes from the support. I would say 80 percent from the staff. I’ve got to take a little bit of credit myself, at least 20 percent. But definitely, the staff makes it a cheery environment to be in as soon as I get here every day. My instructors are never missing class or things like that. They’re always here for us.”