UIS has been an incredible steppingstone in building my future. UIS encouraged me to be open minded, adventurous, independent, and confident. These qualities led me to become the successful Attorney I am now.
Open minded: before coming to UIS I thought I was shy and timid. UIS’s diverse student body group consisted of many backgrounds and cultures, including some I never encountered before. The activities and lifestyles that my classmates took part in, contributed to my understanding of their unique cultures. I also learned ways to improve my lifestyle and make healthier choices.
Adventurous: university is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. For me, it took a while to get used to college and finding my way on the new terrain. However, after two years of attending UIS I was more adventurous than when I started. The seasonal campus activities and events UIS held helped me meet new people and exposed me to an environment that encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone.
Independent: During my time at UIS, I learned to stand on my own two feet and make decisions for myself. College kept me busy with projects, essays, organizations, hangout sessions, meetings, and work. It was easy to forget “me time.” Nonetheless, the small campus environment gave me space to be myself. In the evenings, I would enjoy walking around the Quad and taking some time to clear my thoughts. Being at a small campus, I was able to have quiet moments to myself without distractions. It allowed me to focus on prioritizing myself and my needs.
Confident: At UIS I was easily able to talk to my peers and professors when I needed. If there was something I didn't feel comfortable with, I wasn't afraid to say something about it. The professors did what they could to provide that comfortable avenue for me because of their open-door policy. UIS’s small campus environment helped me connect with my professors at any time. The advice and personal recommendations from professors have exposed me to opportunities that I otherwise would not have known existed. Having had this one-on-one experience, I felt more confident about myself and my future. When it came down to my future, I was not afraid to take risks.
I am grateful for all the experiences at UIS and the lessons I learned from UIS. I still use these experiences today as an Attorney. Attorneys are open-minded because we have to see all the facts (including the bad ones) and make a logical argument. Attorneys are adventurous because we need to meet with clients, see the scenes of the crime or accident, even travel to other states to resolve matters. Attorneys are independent because we get the job done, either by doing it ourselves or delegating tasks to ensure the work is complete before the deadlines. Finally, attorneys are confident, when talking to clients, to co-workers, to other lawyers, and to the courts.
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Janki Patel, J.D., is a 2017 UIS Political Science graduate and a 2020 graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law.