Law student Latisha overcomes the challenges to chase her dreams

Latisha pictured with her role model Senator Eileen Flynn

Latisha pictured with her role model Senator Eileen Flynn

My name is Latisha McCrudden, and I am nineteen years of age. I sat my Leaving Cert this summer and with hard work and determination have been accepted into the University of Galway to study Law where my dream of being a solicitor can be fulfilled, a dream I have had since I was a young girl. For as long as I can remember I have always dreamt and pictured myself taking on high class cases in Ireland and being my own boss in my own office.

I have grown up being extremely driven and wanted to be successful while making a household name for myself. I think one of the reasons this is the case because I went through my own health scare when I was young. It would have been when I was around nine years of age, and I was experiencing migraines that I knew were not normal especially for my age.

I went for scans in the hospital and to ensure they had read them correctly they brought me back for one more with dye through my veins to ensure they got as accurate of a picture as possible. Shortly afterwards my mother received a phone call saying to have me in Beaumont hospital in two days’ time as a tumour was growing on the left side of my skull.

I had open biopsy surgery on my skull bone and a week later I was brought back for my results. I was diagnosed with Fibrous Dysplasia a disease that weakens and erodes the bones in my body. It was the best news possible on the day though. I knew from then that my life could have changed in more ways than one and I must have had a purpose on this earth. Although only ten at the time, I took that as my second chance of life, and I was going to make sure to try my hardest at life and grind and achieve my dreams.

During my years in secondary school, I always took it seriously because I knew from when I started what I wanted as my goal. Good attendance, continuously doing your homework and being an active listener in class are the basic stonework of doing well in school. Throughout my secondary school years, I made sure to grab every opportunity that I could also, as the extra circular opportunities that do come in secondary school are endless.

On the closing of my one-year term I received an outstanding achievement award from the programme, the only Connacht winner of that year. Another extra circular opportunity that I took on was Scifest. I competed in Scifest in May of my first year. I then went on to be accepted into BT Young Scientist in the RDS in Dublin. From there I got to compete in DCU in Dublin and UL in Limerick. I done these three competitions in my second year of school.

I finished off this journey in Transition Year competing in Scifest once more. My project from first year to Transition Year was called the future of sport particularly as the time went on focusing in on females. I gained unbelievable experiences and met people I never would have if I did not take that chance in first year.

School overall has been a positive and good time. I focused on my schoolwork and extra circular activities while making a good friend here and there. I was and am busy most days. That sacrifice and hard work earned me my As and Distinctions in my Junior Cert, a distinction in my Transition Year programme and the points I needed in my Leaving Cert to go on and work hard to fulfil my dream. I am grateful that once I have my degree completed also, I have been already guaranteed a job in a striving and amazing solicitor’s office, who came around with me putting the effort into my future.

Focus on what you want

I would advice people in school to focus on themselves and that school is not the end all and the be all. So many young people focus so much on what others think of them and not what they think and want themselves. If you are happy doing what you are doing it should not be anyone else’s business. Work hard on yourself and live a life you want, nobody else.

Karate is another major part of my life. I have been doing karate since I was the age of four and I could not imagine my life without it now. It is truly my passion and brings me such happiness. I have competed nationally and internationally with karate and have meet such amazing and good-hearted people and friends. I am a first dan black belt in karate, one of my proudest achievements but my eyes are firmly set on achieving my second dan black belt in the very near future.

I teach karate and I help coach at competitions. Karate kept me balanced. Karate kept me going through my hardest and darkest times with my own mental health which enabled me to perform at a high standard in school also.

That takes me to the current time. I am proud of myself for what I have done currently but strive forward each day for the future goals I so badly want to conquer. Currently I am involved in many organisations and groups including the Irish Traveller Movement youth forum, Minceirs Wheidan youth forum, national women’s council of Ireland, national youth assembly of Ireland, Spunout and a CERV project which is looking at the impact of Covid 19 on children across the country and it will be national information that will be used by other European countries for future reference from early next year.

My degree is going to take over the next few years, but I also have my eyes set firmly on the 2028 election where I will run for a seat in the Dail. It is another dream that has come around in the last few years and I will try my hardest to earn a seat. For the area of politics, I spoke in the Oireachtas last October which was a brilliant experience and was a visionary day of what my future could hold.

I have spoken on panels including a Rosa event in April in Dublin on racism especially racism projected upon the traveller community I am from, and I spoke in July in Athlone at one of the traveller pride events. I was working also in a TDs office during the summer to gather as much valuable education and experience that I would acquire for the future.

Celebrating my community

My proudest achievements have come in the last year. Summer 2022 I received the national education award at the traveller pride awards in Smithfield in Dublin. It was a day of recognition and motivation as sometimes it is hard to keep pushing in life without acknowledgement of your hard work, but that day brought that to me.

“It was also a day to celebrate my community and be proud of my family. This year also when I sat down with my grandparents and spoke to them about their life and made an article about it and it got published in the Roscommon herald and western people was overwhelming. I am so delighted I done it, and my nanny and grandad were here to read it.

I have been asked before why I am involved in so much or why I do not ever rest and the truth is my biggest fear in life is failure, so I try ever day to develop into the woman I want to be, I have always wanted to be someone not a somebody.

Every year I go into I have a set number of goals I want to achieve and if I do not achieve them that year, I make sure it is the first thing I do next year. Every day I strive for greatness, and when something successful and good comes I do not linger around for too long because that moment and achievement will pass and be forgotten about, so I want to work for my next thing.

I strive by the quote “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” and I do not want that to happen to me. I have picked my future career because I have seen the wrong in this country and what needs to change, and I want to be a part of that. I’d use my voice as a solicitor where others could not.

If I am fortunate enough to become a TD, I will bring change, and most of all will bring change for those who need it the most. The late Kobe Byrant once said, “enjoy the journey as it’s the best part” and I am learning to realise he was right. There’s nothing better in my opinion that getting up each day with a purpose and seeing your journey and life lay ahead of you and knowing with hard work, dedication and sacrifice what life can lay ahead of you.

I am really looking forward to my future and getting up each day to achieve my goals.

I think to myself every day to never forget where I have come from, a small village called Lisacul, but to be hopeful and work for where life could take me. I have experienced the darkest of days in the past, but I am proud I battled through the hard times because good days have come around in bundles since. I hope in the future to be a role model like the people I have looked to through the years such as Katie Taylor for firstly my younger sister Tulisha but for all younger people of my community and people of Ireland. It’s only the very beginning and I am so excited for all that lays ahead.

 

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