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April 01, 2013

April 2013: Sara Gibson

Recent Law School Graduate Credits Achievements to ADHD

Sara Gibson thrives on challenges.  “They generate this type of energy and enthusiasm that drives me —classic ADHD!” 

And, driven she is.  Gibson graduated in the top 2-3% of her undergraduate class.  She went on to earn a Javits Scholarship, which allowed her to pursue a Ph.D in Francophone African Literature at Yale.  She eventually left that program to pursue a new path:  becoming a lawyer to advocate for human rights and dignity of the people she had learned about in her literature studies.  So, off to Michigan School of Law Gibson went on a Dean’s Scholarship.

However, once in law school, she felt the mounting pressure of earning, for the first time in her academic career, average grades.  Despite this, she participated fully in campus activities.  Gibson served as a board member for both the Organization for Public Interest Students and the International Law Society, and was selected as an Executive Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law.  And, she earned Michigan Law’s Cambodian Law and Development Scholarship, and took the voluntary pro bono pledge.  Throughout law school, she also took the maximum number of credits allowed.

In her last year of law school, Gibson was diagnosed with ADHD.  It made her aware that her brain just works a little differently than most peoples’ brains.”  So, she developed strategies for working with her ADHD brain.  “For instance, I learned how to better manage my time and to prioritize my many commitments.”  She credits all of her achievements to date to her disability.  “We ADHDers have a reputation for creative thinking, boundless enthusiasm for the things that capture our interest, and a talent for building positive relationships with others due to our empathic or intuitive natures.”

Now graduated, Gibson is preparing to join the New York Bar.  Committed to developing the rule of law internationally, she was nominated to serve with the Washington & Lee/Carter Center Liberia Fellowship program, and is being considered for two positions with the Liberian Ministry of Justice in Monrovia.