Bridgewater was the only place that made me feel I could do it, that getting my degree was an attainable goal and I had the tools and resources available to do it.
It took her 11 years and five colleges before she graduated, but it was at Bridgewater State University where Steffani Langston, ’14, was able to accomplish the goal of earning her degree.
Today, Langston is a successful senior attorney for Wasserman Family Law LLC, in Townson, Maryland, and recently found herself reflecting on her educational journey.
“It dawned on me that I am prouder of my undergraduate degree than I am of my law degree,” she said. “Bridgewater was accommodating to a non-traditional, commuter student who had a full-time job. I failed more times than I care to count, and Bridgewater always let me come back.”
As a first-generation student with very little support from her family, Langston admits that upon graduating high school, she floundered trying to find her footing.
Watching her peers earn degrees in a timely manner and move on to thriving careers while she bounced from school to school, unsure of what major to settle on, caused her shame.
“I was ashamed because it took me so long to finish,” she said. “I was ashamed because I had mountains of student debt. I was ashamed because all of my friends completed their studies ‘on time.’”
Yet, something inside of her refused to quit and eventually she decided she wanted to be a teacher and knew Bridgewater had an excellent reputation for its teaching program.
“I ended up changing my major three or four times,” she said, “But even Bridgewater was going through a lot of change at that time.”
When Langston came to Bridgewater in 2006, it was then Bridgewater State College. When she graduated it had evolved into Bridgewater State University.
With the support of her professors, Langston eventually earned a degree in English, and in 2014 graduated cum laude.
“Bridgewater never made me feel like I took a step back,” she said. “I think that’s why I’ve been reflecting on it now. I mentor law students and always tell them, it’s okay, you can change your mind and it will all be fine.”
During her final semester at Bridgewater State everything finally clicked, and Langston could clearly see the path she was supposed to be on: law school.
She took the LSAT (a standardized test for prospective law school students) and went off to the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Upon earning her law degree, Langston opted to work in family law and strives to help parents in high conflict cases to mitigate harm that divorce can often cause children.
“I try to tell my clients to not get so wrapped up in the now, but to keep the children’s best interest in mind,” she said. “I really do like educating parents on the impact their decisions will have on their children because that’s what drew me in to have a career in this field.”
Now immersed in a successful and meaningful career, Langston recently purchased a frame for her BSU diploma to display in her office. The document serves as a reminder of the hard work and perseverance it took to earn it.
“I loved my time as an undergraduate because it gave me hope,” she said. “Hope that there was something more and better for me out in the world. Bridgewater was the only place that made me feel I could do it, that getting my degree was an attainable goal and I had the tools and resources available to do it.”
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