Thursday, May 19, 2011

Graduation day

I graduate today, and it's a surreal feeling. Seems like just a year ago that I was living in Richmond with T, working at my old HR job and fooling around with LSAT books. We lived in a bigger apartment, had a porch, weren't married, had two paychecks, I was bored with my work, we were close to family, T ran a printing press every day and we were four years younger.

I never, even then, would've seen myself as a "law student" much less a "lawyer". Throughout the entire application process, right up until the first day of school, I went through the motions with my tongue planted in my cheek. It all felt silly, almost. Buying a cheap backpack at Target with T the night before my first classes, because the messenger bag I'd used for work wasn't gonna cut it with all those case books I had to lug around. Getting used to all that free time during the day, when I could be at coffee shops or chatting with my new classmates. All those meet-and-greets with professors and other students, like I was back in college. Oh wait. I WAS back in college. It just didn't seem real. And once again, it doesn't seem real.

In between, I got accustomed to the classes, the free time, the other students, the backpack, the test anxiety, the casebooks and the latin. It almost began to feel completely normal. This really hit home a couple weeks ago when I made a dark joke about the death penalty to a group of non-law school friends and was met with concerned looks. I quickly went to explain myself: "Sorry, I'm in a habeas corpus class this semester. Humor is a coping mechanism." My friends looked at me like I had two heads and then proceeded to make fun of me for the rest of the evening for using the phrase "habeas corpus" in casual conversation. I don't blame them.

Anyway, I guess I was gonna get three years old whether or not I went to law school. But now that I'm graduating, it's as good a time as any to reflect on being three years older. I remember thinking, at the beginning of this journey, "Woah... I'm gonna be getting ready to turn 30 the year I graduate," and being horrified at how old that would be. I've gotten used to the concept of turning 30, along with a lot of other things. Unlike three years ago, when I first matriculated, I have no idea what the next three years will bring. I'm back to the normal adult world of choices and job hunting and making a paycheck and charting a path to the future without a map.

But before all that, I have to go celebrate with all the family that's come into town, and then do one last final test of endurance: the bar exam. So for the next 6? 8? weeks I'll be holed up cramming bits of knowledge into my brain on a tightly planned schedule. And come August, I'll be let loose into the world again.

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