Dean's Fellow Norelle Miranda: People Need to Share Hard Work
Norelle Miranda knew she wanted to help people, even as a five-year-old when she and her family immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. Growing up, her parents instilled in her a very strong call to service and a passion to share hard work.
“It was always clear to me that everyone will need help at some point in their life,” stated Miranda. “My family’s success story is really a testament to the willingness of others to help us, and, equally, our commitment to help others. I somehow knew that a legal route was going to be the best way to make my contribution to society."
But with her dad’s side of the family in the San Francisco Bay area, and her mother’s side living in Houston, Texas, moving to Michigan from California for law school was initially daunting for Miranda. She had never been on her own, much less so far away from loved ones.
“I had a good friend back home who went to Cooley Law School, and she spoke so highly of Cooley, and she loved the professors,” shared Miranda on why she chose Cooley.
She also liked that Cooley had smaller class sizes, and understood from her friend that it would be the kind of school where she would excel and feel comfortable. Despite her fears, Miranda made the decision to attend Cooley's campus in Lansing, Michigan.
“It was a scary decision for me to make,” acknowledged Miranda, “but I packed my bags one day, and I never looked back.”
LAW SCHOOL FAST TRACK
Miranda started in January of 2022, setting her sights on finishing in two years by following Cooley's Accelerated Program, attending law school year-round. It was ambitious and hard at first.
“When I started law school, I was a little confused,” explained Miranda. “Everything was very brand new, and I learned a lot through trial and error; what works for me, what doesn’t work. But I figured it out with the help of some fellow 2L and 3L students. They were vital to my success.”
Never one to shy away from hard work or helping others, Miranda was accepted in Cooley's Dean’s Fellow program.
“I know how difficult it can be to suddenly get dropped into this mysterious new chapter in life,” said Miranda. “I thought the best way to help new students was going to be as a Dean’s Fellow.”
As much as Miranda loves law school and the Cooley's tight knit community, graduation day for her is just around the corner, and she is ready to head West to start her career in California spring of 2024.
“I love Michigan; it’s been awesome, and I’ve met amazing people here, but I want to get back home to my family, who are so proud of me and what I have been able to accomplish. I will be the first one in my family to get a law degree.”
As a law student attending year-round, Miranda has learned some excellent study habits for the best exam results for her. As a Dean’s Fellow, she continuously uses and shares how active studying skills can help with understanding classroom concepts and comprehending the material.
“Many 1Ls have been coming to my office before midterms asking me for the best methods for studying," said Miranda. “I get it. There’s so much to understand and remember, and it’s very new to them. I always try to reinstill study methods we have learned together, where they are actively recalling the material using active studying skills.”
According to Miranda, active studying skills are things like getting up and presenting the information you have learned in class to yourself. Or better yet, standing and teaching it to someone who doesn’t go to law school. She says you should go over it, and over it again, until you are comfortable with the material.
“There are other ways, but for me, speaking it out loud and then going back to my notes and seeing what I missed and seeing what I don’t totally understand is how I’ve been able to figure out how to evaluate what I’m doing really well and what I need to work on.”
Miranda’s favorite part about being a Dean’s Fellow has been the connections and relationships she’s been able to make.
“I like being there for other students,” shared Miranda. “Sometimes helping someone is just a matter of being there to support them and letting them know everything is going to be okay.”
FIELD OF DREAMS
As much as Miranda loves almost every area of the law, there are a few areas that are calling her to service.
“I don’t want to box myself into any one area, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Family Law or Civil Litigation,” said Miranda. “Those are my two top choices right now.”
In terms of why Family Law, Miranda feels that she has the kind of sympathetic personality that is needed to guide clients who are going through some very personal matters. Civil Litigation is an area where Miranda would have the opportunity to use the litigation skills she has learned in the classroom.
“I’m taking trial skills right now at Cooley, and I have competed, and am now on the mock trial board,” shared Miranda. “I’m really interested in doing trial work in the future.”
With no extra time on her hands in law school, Miranda is looking forward to getting home so she can squeeze in some personal time. But for now, she has found that cooking has been therapeutic for her. “I love trying out different recipes that I see online. It’s been something that I find fun and look forward to doing. I also like going to the gym and working out, playing basketball, or simply hanging out with my friends.”
If she were to give any piece of advice to new students, she would suggest that they take full advantage of all the resources available to them. That and hard work is the recipe for law school success.
“I would also want to tell a new student to just be yourself,” said Miranda. “I struggled a little bit in the beginning, even now sometimes, but you should feel confident in yourself and your abilities. As much as law school can be hard, I have found that if I stay true to myself, that is enough; and that self-confidence will come through for you.”