By Mardeen Ahmad
Paisley Williams originally started her college journey at Grossmont College where she aspired to join the nursing program. During her first semester, Williams enrolled in a sociology class on race and ethnicity at Cuyamaca College, the course also had a political element. The course inspired her to change her major to political science.
Making a Change
Williams so loved the Cuyamaca political science program so much that she began exclusively taking her political science classes at Cuyamaca.
“I think it’s just the attentiveness and the care that comes from Cuyamaca’s political science department,” said Williams when asked what sets Cuyamaca apart.
Even though it was a sociology class that originally steered Williams toward political science, Williams credits Professor Josh Franco as being a catalyst. It was Franco’s ability to tie political science to multiple different aspects of life and immerse his students in the subject that inspired Williams to pursue political science.
“Professor Franco really spoke to my way of learning,” said Williams.
Change for the Future
Williams has now transferred to UCLA and has plans of studying for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), the placement exam required to apply to law school. Her goal is to become a criminal defense attorney for disenfranchised communities. Williams says that she would also love to represent clients pro-bono whenever possible.
Driving her towards this goal is witnessing relatives and hearing stories from others in her community who rely on a public defender because they could not afford their own attorney.
“I just really would like to normalize having a good defense with no budget. I don’t think it should be a privilege to have a good lawyer,” said Williams.
Had Williams gone to a traditional four-year university out of high school, she is not sure she would have been pointed towards the political science/law school path. When Williams was first starting her academic journey, she was also working as a certified nursing assistant. Enrolling in a community college allowed Williams to realize nursing was not for her and attending Grossmont and Cuyamaca allowed her the flexibility to figure out what she really wanted.
“Having the ability to try a different class and have that not hurt my education was just great. I don’t think I would have been able to do that at a university,” said Williams.
Williams recalls feeling the stigma around community college during college acceptance season in high school.
“It’s not a reflection of your worth and capabilities as a student. There’s always another option and community college is a great one,” said Williams.