WMU-Cooley graduate Kara Hope, State Representative for Michigan’s 67th House District, spoke recently to WMU-Cooley Law School students about career paths that can lead to success, even a career in politics. If you missed the presentation, take a moment to read her five key pieces of advice to students – from her life experience and perspective.
1. Make the most of opportunities
My law school experience illustrates this point. I made sure I was involved with different groups, like the Women’s Law Alliance, Law Review, and the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project. It gave me confidence to look outside my comfort zone, and enter into a career I didn't think I would be good at: politics. I didn’t even think I would like it, because I tend to be more of an introvert. Yet I got myself involved doing outreach as a volunteer, and I liked it so much that I ended up running for local office.
2. Find out what motivates you
For me, it’s not money, material things, or prestige. The two things that motivate me are a passion to help others and keeping solid relationships with my husband and the niece and nephew we’ve raised.
3. Be honest with yourself
I really didn’t enjoy a certain type of work, and I knew that I would never feel satisfied continuing in that type of practice. If you hate doing something, you cannot truly succeed. There are no failures in life if you learn from your experience and are honest with yourself.
4. be ready to adapt
Plans are great, but you better be ready to adapt. My husband and I learned that early on. We didn’t plan to add children to our family - just four months after getting married. I was at a crossroads in my career, and we were still enjoying the early days of being married. But life happened, and my 8-year-old niece and 3-year-old nephew needed a new home. We gladly moved them in with us, and we have no regrets.
5. Maintain relationships
I’m not great at networking, but I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. Networking is not part of the working class experience that I had growing up. I had never even heard of the word “networking” used in the relationship sense until I was in college. It is important, though, to keep friendships and business relationships alive.