Girl proved she could be the lawyer
Janis Alexander Cross
Where did you receive your education?
Texas Tech University; Texas Tech University School of Law.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
It has allowed me to have a successful career and to help, along with my husband, raise two children who are now law students.
What was your greatest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?
I was the first member of my family to attend college. Because my family income was below the poverty line, I qualified for every type of government financial aid. I was amazed and went home to ask my grandmother, “Did you know we are poor?” She assured me that she was well aware of that fact. I was able to graduate in three years and continue to law school.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
I once advised an undergraduate at West Texas A&M University to stay in school rather than dropping out to go on the rodeo circuit. The young man was Trevor Brazile, and he went on to win more than a million dollars and has been the Pro Rodeo Cowboy of the Year many times. I’m glad he didn’t listen to my advice! If you have some great gift, you may do OK without your education. However, most people will struggle and live in poverty if they do not obtain an education. Every parent should try to assure that their children are well educated and they receive the training they need to succeed in their chosen career.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
I was in a civics class in sixth grade and we had a mock trial. I was told that I couldn’t be the judge or one of the lawyers, because I was a girl. I knew that I wanted more, and thought that if I got my education, I could be the lawyer. Also, my family encouraged me to get an education and did everything they could to support me.
Did you ever think about quitting? What made you keep going?
Holy cow! I probably thought about quitting every single day, especially when my friends were out having fun or late at night when they were already in bed sleeping. Getting an education is hard work. It takes dedication. It takes initiative.