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Corporate law is in Jessica Ford’s future

Jessica Ford '13What if? And then what if? But if…

That used to be Jessica Ford. Now she knows that when she has done her best, it’s also best to forget endless second-guessing and move on.

That’s one life lesson the political science major of Ft. Myers, Fla., says she learned at Stetson and one she believes will serve her well this fall when she starts studies at Stetson College of Law.

“Being a perfectionist, I would push myself to do my absolute best, but then drive myself nuts sometimes thinking about all the “what-ifs,” says the Magna Cum Laude graduate.

“Yet the majority of the time everything worked out fine anyway. So I learned to step back and realize that no matter what happens, I tried my best. Then I can focus on other important things.”

Solid legal experience is already on her resume. Ford, 21, minored in business law and Spanish and plans a career in corporate law. She worked in state attorney offices intermittently as a volunteer and intern since 2007. She enlisted in the Summer Pre-Law Program in 2011 and now works at a personal injury law firm in Ft. Myers.

In addition to her law experience, she says the summer program gave her a good idea of what it takes to succeed in law: “It opened my eyes to the kind of dedication and hard work my career goal requires.”

“Jessica is a talented and highly disciplined student who has had law school in her sights for years,” said Political Science Professor Eugene Huskey, noting her excellent performance in legal studies.

Her sorority helped shape her in many ways, said Ford. She made her best friends in Delta Delta Delta, took advantage of opportunities in its activities, held leadership positions every year and became president in 2011.

As sorority officer, she twice captained a Relay for Life team raising money for cancer research. It was personal, she said. Cancer has touched her family, even caused deaths. She takes pride in working for that cause and is moved by the bravery and positive attitudes of victims she met.

Another life lesson nurtured by her sorority is the value of connections.

“I don’t think I ever realized the true importance of networking until I went to college,” she said. “Everybody knows somebody and you never know when you’re going to need to call on someone for a recommendation or for advice one day.”

Many have influenced her growth, said Ford, but none more than her parents.

“My parents taught me the values of self-discipline, determination and integrity, and they inspired me to never give up. I have watched them make sacrifices so I could have educational opportunities they did not have. I am very grateful,” she said.

While maintaining a GPA that qualified her for two national honor societies, Ford was a student ambassador leader and Student Alumni Association secretary. She completed her graduation requirements in December, but returned for Commencement.

“I enjoyed every bit of my time at Stetson, but I can’t wait to begin the next chapter of my life.”

By Ronald Williamson