Welcome back to another Feature of The Week post! This week I’m switching things up a little by not featuring someone in the Public Health field. I’ve decided that I will feature an array of individuals weekly that I admire and who are doing good work in their community. Today’s feature is a fellow Antiguan and does such great work in her community. Let’s get into it!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Rose-Mary Reynolds and I’m currently a first-year student at the Norman Manley Law School. I enjoy spending my time giving back and exploring nature in Antigua. My love for exploring Antigua allowed me and my friends to create AntiguaBeaches268 IG page, which aims to document and highlight every Antiguan & Barbudan beach. So far, we’ve highlighted 65 beaches on our page.
I love social media and am somewhat hoping to become a content creator and social media manager, as I currently manage all of my family’s business social media pages.
What got you interested in your professional field? How has your upbringing influenced your career aspirations?
I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 10 years old. I’ve always been told that I should be one as I was a very argumentative and opinionated child. My parents nurtured this, encouraged me to be more active in school activities and extracurricular activities. At one point, I was active in five different school clubs.
My parents also encouraged very diverse and intellectual conversations, even to this day. My sister and I were often educated by my father on how things were in the past – politics, music, everything he knew, he felt it important to discuss and educate us about it. I feel like having these regular discussions and sometimes arguments nurtured and developed me into the very opinionated person that I am today.
How did you know being a lawyer was your calling?
I knew this was the path for me during A-Levels at the Antigua State College. In my law class, I realized how basic law is to almost every aspect of our lives and how certain laws were incredibly flawed and needed to be reformed.
That’s when I made the decision to study law, I wanted to be in a position to, if not actually make such changes, but to have the understanding to seriously advocate for reform.
Tell us about your journey to Law.
My journey so far has been an incredibly interesting one and one that is far from being over. Entering undergrad at UWI Cave Hill was a big shock and transition for me. I’ve developed a study routine over my high school and college years and was in for a rude awakening that it was not applicable to undergrad. Once I adjusted my study habits, I was able to easier navigate through undergrad.
I’m currently at the Norman Manley Law School which is a more practical programme in comparison to my undergrad LLB. This has been the hardest educational institution I’ve ever been to. However, I have an incredibly solid support system comprised of my family, classmates, and other friends who have been instrumental in helping me along this journey.
Any Advice for Law students and for those wanting to pursue a career in Law?
My number one advice is to try your best and speak to either a lawyer or a law student. Ask very specific questions to ensure that you’re entering the right field because the entire legal academic journey will make you question whether you’re in the right field.
For those who may not know, are there any specialties in Law? If so, what is your specialty?
What I like about law is that it is integral in so many aspects of our lives, so naturally, there are numerous specialties. Currently, I am still in my academic journey and when I’ve started practicing, I’ll be able to practice and work in more specific fields.
However, I’m interested in Employment, Family, and Criminal Law.
How do you think your schooling/training prepared you for your current position or future positions?
The course load at Norman Manley is a bit intense and I believe that this will help with the sometimes hectic job that is required from being a lawyer.
What has been a rewarding experience during your academic or professional journey?
My most rewarding experience in my academic career is publishing a paper on the lack of protection our laws afforded to the Elderly – The Legal Aspect of the Exploitation of the Elderly within the Caribbean.
Though it is so far my first and only publication, I am extremely happy to have been able to do so. I realized through that experience how much I love being able to research and write on legal issues that the majority of persons may not have known about.
How important is work-life balance to you?
Extremely important. I am an advocate for work or study life balance and it should not take precedence over your personal life. I’ve experienced burnout many times before and I now try my best to incorporate rest and relaxing activities in my daily routine to prevent any unnecessary stress. I definitely recommend others to do so.
What are your career aspirations as far as being a lawyer?
This may change but as of right now, I want to give back to our communities and try my best in assisting persons in understanding basic legal concepts and their basic rights. I think a lot of persons in Antigua, are not aware of our legal systems and fall victim to too many injustices that could be easily avoided.
One of the reasons that attracted me to follow you on social media is the fact that you are the co-founder of a non-profit organization called Youth Today268. Can you tell us a little about that and what made you decide to start this?
Youth Today started mainly because we found that there was a lack of youth representation in Antigua. There wasn’t essentially a platform where young people could go and access various opportunities or there was a lack in the creation of innovative programmes that really could benefit youth. We wanted to also create a platform that encouraged youth engagement and volunteerism and tailored our Youth Summer Programme to expose young people to a number of service activities.
However, Youth Today has blossomed into a bit more with attention on job readiness preparation and the creation of a Job Shadowing Programme that we are hoping to expand in the upcoming years, with the goal of matching young persons to businesses in their desired career field.
I’m working on starting my own nonprofit, any advice for a novice like myself, and other young people who are interested in doing the same?
Ensure that you’re starting a non-profit for the right reasons. The reason I say this is because non-profit work is unpaid and thankless work. You will be met with all forms of opposition, even within your own family and friend circle. It is important to keep remembering the reason why you ventured on this path and try your best to stay on this path. It won’t all make sense in the beginning but soon others will recognize the work you do and will offer you great words of advice and tangible support.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
I do hope to inspire others to think outside of the box and not to shy away from opportunities of helping others.
Now to the most important question. A restaurant has named a dish after you; what is it and why?
It would definitely have to be a Sushi Roll – A spicy dragon sushi roll at that. Simply because it is one of my favourite dishes and I was a bit apprehensive at first because I thought I wouldn’t have liked it.
I think that perfectly describes me, I tend to come off as an introvert and very reserved and to myself. However, once you’ve warmed up to me, you’ll realize how likable and friendly I really am. Also, spicy because of how passionate and tempered I can get.
That’s all for now folks, hope you enjoyed this feature. Don’t don’t forget to like, comment and share this post. Keep up with Rose-Mary on her instagram and check out her Non-profit organization Youth Today 268.
If there’s anyone you want to see me feature on the blog leave a comment or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to feature them.