What’s passion got to do with it?

By Laura Halm , Chicago Dancer-Client, Law School Student

I have spent the last 25 years of my life focused on a very singular goal, that of becoming a professional dancer.  Unaware of what it would ultimately require of me, I started dancing as a very young child. Even then, I was certain that if I dedicated all of my energies toward this dream, I would attain it; and, in truth, my path has managed to closely follow that plan.

Laura Helm performing Alejandro Cerrudo’s “Lickety Split”

I attended numerous dance schools of recognition and have had many opportunities that most aspiring dancers can only imagine. I attended The Juilliard School and have been a member of the Hubbard Street Dance organization in Chicago organization for over seven years. Nonetheless, a dancer’s career is short-lived by its very nature. The stresses of dance on the human body are great and eventually, it simply stops working as healthfully and efficiently as it once did. I found myself at that point last year. Refusing to believe that I had nothing more to offer the world, I looked both inward and outward to discover the next stage of my personal evolution.

I started reading various periodicals including National Geographic, Audubon, and the Atlantic in order to recalibrate my concept of the world at large. In reading numerous articles outlining current events, I became furious, disgusted by environmental destruction borne of ignorance, misguidance, and greed. Believing that I am capable of so much more than what I have achieved thus far, it is paramount that I continue to do something that allows me to make a difference in the world. I have already found (and wielded) the strength within myself to move audiences; it is now time to use that power towards a different end. Too realistic to believe that people will simply want to behave better of their own volition, I want to direct and influence others so that they may become better stewards of the planet.

I came to the conclusion, through much thorough deliberation, that above anything else, I want to study environmental law. Law school will give me the detailed and focused education that will arm me to take on my challenge of becoming a participant in policy creation and regulation.

I have survived a career in professional dance and despite my lack of practical experience in law, believe that I can apply that which is currently required of me towards this new endeavor. As a dancer, I already possess many important skills in a field where tradition and precedent is established, individual strength is respected, ability to think and react quickly is necessary, and intelligently directed creativity as a means of development is admired. I am, above anything else, disciplined.

I am honored that in August of this year, I will be joining the Class of 2014 at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. If my past successes are any indication of the future, I am going to be just fine.

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