Student Blends Passions for Media and the Law in Pursuit of Dual Degrees
Many law students get overwhelmed when just trying to balance their law school classload during the semester, and not many students can handle the pressure of pursuing a master’s degree on top of their JD curriculum, but second-year law student Adrienne Biddings is doing just that.
North Carolina native Biddings, 23, is simultaneously pursuing her master’s degree in mass communications and JD, planning to graduate in May 2009. Her passion for pursuing two graduate degrees in such a short period of time came from her interest of the media and her future goal of working within media law.
Biddings’ passion for media began when she was an undergraduate student at the University of Miami, where she received her bachelor’s degree in broadcasting. Biddings contemplated pursuing a law degree throughout her undergraduate education, but then the priority of money took over.
With the pressure to make money, Biddings spent her year off before starting law school working as a producer at WPLG, an ABC affiliate television station in Miami. Even though Biddings really enjoyed the people she worked with at the station, she still had a desire to attend law school to pursue her passion of media law.
Her interest in media law came about through her broadcasting classes at college and job experience at the television station. It was through these opportunities that Biddings had the chance to see firsthand the business aspect of the media. While most broadcast students are artistic and want to be seen on air, Biddings differs in that her passion within the media is more of the business side of the media.
Through trying to balance her pre-existing interest of law and her excitement of media, she wanted to mesh both together. It didn’t take long for Biddings to realize that to be able to work in the business aspect of media, it is necessary to understand the law. “To do the business side, you have to know the law,” she said.
It was at this time and with an with an extra push from her parents who thought she needed to take the risk and continue her education, Biddings decided to attend law school. “They thought I had the opportunity to do more,” she said. Her parents were constantly reminding her, “If you don’t go back to school, you never will,” she said. “Don’t lose momentum while you still have it.”
However, it was difficult for Biddings to make the switch from full-time employee back to the student lifestyle. “I didn’t want to be poor again as a college student,” she said. And worst of all, this adamant Miami Hurricane fan would have to leave her large city and become Gator bound.
While in Gainesville continuing her education, Biddings has a lot on her plate but many would be surprised to learn how calm she is about the whole experience. She insists that she has tons of free time despite earning two graduate degrees in three years.
Biddings handles the pressures of her graduate education with excellent time management and scheduling. “Take it as a job, try to do the same thing everyday – stay on course,” she said.
Even though Biddings keeps a rigorous daily schedule, she relies on her usual nine hours of sleep each night and staying away from her textbooks during the evenings and weekends to keep her positive mindset. She tries to focus only on school Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and makes it a priority to fit in one of her favorite hobbies – TV. Biddings relies on her TiVo to record the two to three hours of television that she watches each night.
Aside from spending her days in the classroom, Biddings still has enough time to be actively involved in various student organizations, including Law College Council, Student Advocacy Coalition, Law Association of Women, and Faculty Development Diversity Committee at the College of Journalism and Communications.
Although Biddings’ lifestyle is busy, she is persistent that she loves her life right now because it seems uncomplicated and she doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. “I am not unaccountable to anyone but myself,” she said. “If I fail, I am only failing myself.”
After receiving her graduate degrees, Biddings hopes to leave Gainesville and move to a bigger city to work towards her dream job of becoming the general counsel for a large media conglomerate.
She believes that her experience and education in both the law and media put her ahead of the competition when working within media law because she understands the internal structure of both sides of the organization.
While most students don’t even contemplate attempting the coursework for two degree programs, Biddings thinks that is the best bang for her buck. Pursuing dual degrees mixes it up and you save money because you only have one tuition, she said.
Biddings is viewed as a very relaxed individual who does not give into the overwhelming anxiety and pressure of law school. “Law school is only intense if you make it that way,” she said. “You don’t know how much you can push yourself until you do it.”
However, Biddings is still hesitant if graduating law school is going to be worth her initial sacrifice of leaving her well-paid job. “I’ll let you know when it’s over,” she said.