Full Academic Scholarship for Law School · The University of Pennsylvania Law School

Friday, July 3, 1987: Let the memory live again by Tracy Diane Miller

I founded Arlene Miller Creative Writing in memory of my mother Arlene Miller (August 24, 1924-May 10, 2005) to recognize & support all forms of creative expression.

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Photo dated Monday, May 14, 1990: I graduated from The University of Pennsylvania Law School. Here I am receiving my Juris Doctorate degree from former University of Pennsylvania Law School dean Colin Diver.

Friday, July 3, 1987: Let the memory live again by Tracy Diane Miller

There are some moments in time that will always be beautifully preserved in your memory. Even when you are aged by the years and sorrow, these moments remain vibrant, youthful and optimistic. We recall them to help us deal with the burdens that we currently face. We are dependent on the good memories to help us survive the lowest points in our lives.

Friday, July 3, 1987: I was 21 years old and the next day was my 22nd birthday. For as long as I can remember, I was always pleased to be a twin (to be born and travel through life with my former “womb mate” & BEST FRIEND is BEYOND INCREDIBLE) & that I was born on July 4th. But this particular July 3rd, a long time ago, remains my most memorable day before my birthday. I will always remember Friday, July 3, 1987 at 2:06 p.m. because that was the moment that I opened a letter from The University of Pennsylvania Law School informing me that I had been awarded a full academic scholarship to law school! I had already attended Temple University on academic scholarships. I never imagined that I would be fortunate to receive a professional degree for free. I would never have to take out student loans. I was overwhelmingly grateful for this incredible scholarship. 30 years later, my gratitude remains.

Fate had indeed smiled upon me on that July day so long ago.

I spent decades working in the legal profession. When I made the decision to abandon law and pursue my first love and passion of writing, I didn’t make this decision lightly. Living with depression for decades, with the self-doubt and guilt as my constant companion, a part of me felt that I was being ungrateful by not continuing my legal career. After all, I had graduated from an Ivy League school. I never knew what many of peers had known: drowning in a sea of law school loan doubt. That little girl from inner city Philadelphia who was constantly bullied for being different had felt validation that her love for learning and her refusal to succumb to peer pressure, that little girl who stayed true to herself rather than sacrifice her individuality for group approval, had been marvelously rewarded with a full academic scholarship to law school.

I gave the legal profession the best decades of my life. I savored my successes and (hopefully) learned from my failures working in the often ridiculed field of law.

I have walked away from law. I rediscovered my first love of writing poetry. I’ve published 27 books of poetry. At 51 (I turn 52 on July 4th), I’m finally living my dream.

But Friday, July 3, 1987 will always exist in my heart as a moment of perfection, a beautiful memory. Today, I let the memory live again.

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