Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life contains lessons for us all

By Lauren Grimaldi, Editor-in-Chief

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Photo Courtesy of Roosevelt University

Under the dimmed lights in Roosevelt’s historic Auditorium Theatre, loud and electrified applause rang out as the guest of honor, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the stage. It almost felt as if she were a rock star and the crowd was waiting for her to begin the opening riffs to a hit song. After all, she is the ‘Notorious R.B.G.’

Though Ginsburg did not belt out a tune, her presence and demeanor commanded the stage with an engrossing conversation focusing on her life, career and more.

Throughout the night, Ginsburg spoke with tremendous poise. As a woman in the law field, she faced tremendous discrimination and setbacks simply because of her gender and religion. The Supreme Court Justice could be bitter about her struggles to make it, but her responses prove she’s anything but. Instead of being angry about those who tried to take her down, Ginsburg worked harder. When told she’d never make it, she refused to listen. Despite being the mother of a young child, she never let her motherhood affect her studies. Consequently, when the family nanny left from her duties and 4 p.m. came around, Ginsburg put down the law books in favor of caring for her daughter. But when bedtime came around, she picked the books right back up again and prepared for her next day of rigorous courses.

This particular story comes at a time in my life when I’m busier than I ever thought I could be. As I look towards my graduation in May, I’m working as hard as is humanly possible to build my resume, work to fund my education, and also learn as much as possible in my last two semesters. College students across the country can assuredly relate to the pressure to pursue both career and academic goals while also holding down a job to pay for books and tuition. While we can sit and complain about how busy we are, Justice Ginsburg’s approach to both her life and career can teach us a crucial lesson.

There will always be roadblocks to get to the finish line. Though everyone starts at various locations due to certain privileges, the majority of people do not have the connections to hop directly from the graduation stage to their ideal career. Ruth Bader Ginsburg came from a family where only her mother graduated from high school. Education was a key factor in her upbringing as her mother sought to give her daughter a better life than she had. This, along with support from other family members, inspired Ginsburg to keep going even when things were tough.

This may be an oversimplification of life itself, but Justice Ginsburg is living proof that hard work can get you to where you want to be. She succeeded during an era in which many were dead set on knocking ambitious women down. Her career is remarkable in of itself, but the way in which she spoke about her struggles without anger or hostility of any kind shows how truly humble of a person she is. It won’t always be easy, but doing something worth doing never is. If we’re trying to get to where we want to be, struggle is inevitable but vital to true success. With this message in our minds, we will triumph in our respective paths as long as we never give up, regardless of how difficult it may get.

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