The Determined Parent

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Nicole Rode

Nicole Rode

Year in Law School: 4LE

Hometown: Bedford, Ohio

Undergraduate School: Cleveland State University, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

In Nicole’s Words:

About Nicole:

  • Mother of a six-year-old child and expecting a second child
  • Part-time server at Cracker Barrel
  • Research Assistant for the Center of Health Law and Policy
  • Vice president of the Women's Law Students Association
How did you decide that law school – and Cleveland-Marshall – was right for you?

I always had an interest in law, but never thought about it as a career because I was a working, single mom. One of my old professors recommended law school for me, and although I did not believe at the time I could actually do it, I still decided to give it a try. The reason I wanted to go to Cleveland-Marshall, and Cleveland-Marshall only, is because after earning my undergrad degree from CSU, I knew how reputable the law school was, and how knowledgeable and caring the professors are.

What are the biggest challenges of raising a family while going to law school?

The biggest challenge is spending time with my son, and balancing it with the workload from school and my jobs. My first year especially, I was worried that my son would feel neglected because I was always gone or studying. I explain to my son why I am in school and why mommy stays busy. I let him know how much he means to me, and I let him know the only reason I am doing this is so we can have a better life. He is proud that his mommy is going to be a lawyer.

How does your family shape your path through law school and your ultimate career goals?

My family is the reason I am in law school. Whenever I get stressed and want to give up, I think about all the things we have been through to get to this point. Giving up now, after all the time and effort we all put in to this, would negatively affect everyone. I know how much everyone is depending on me and cheering me on.

What is the importance of having an outlet to take your focus off of the rigors of law school?

Having no outlet for the stresses of law school is like running a marathon without breaking for water. Even if you make it, it’s not worth the wear and tear it puts on your body (and your family). I set goals, and when I accomplish them I treat myself to an expensive coffee, sweet treat, movie night, extra nap, bake night, or whatever fits the occasion. Not only do my “treats” motivate me to accomplish my goals, they take the stress away because I know there will be some short-term payoff or little break right around the corner.

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