AT THE start of the school year, I had already pegged what I was going to write for this column. I’d be saying thank you’s and good bye’s. I’d be recounting the struggles of getting through and surviving law school. I’d be quoting the quintessential “Paper Chase” extensively. And at the risk of sounding vain and self- important, I’d be writing something *hopefully* witty on what would seem like a laboriously rehashed post-grad nostalgia.
But roughly a week before finals, I got in an accident. And then I realized that absolutely anything could happen in an instant. One second, you’re enjoying yourself and the next, you’re desperately clinging to your dislocated knee, while crying and screaming in mind-bending agony. Everything can go downhill in a single moment…but, then again, everything can also go uphill.
Law school has a way of isolating us from the world. Most of us allow ourselves to experience what our little time would let us. We go to school, eat lunch with friends, go home to study, and then to do these over and over again, in no particular order, just to get by. And despite our usual nerve-wracking recitations and law school-induced stress, we eventually acclimatize and settle. Some of us are apprehensive about the future, while others push out the thought entirely. But after all is said and done, we’ll all have to face the real world. And the thought of finally entering it can be daunting and, well, all too real.
Wanting to be a lawyer was a thought fashioned by my pre- teen self. I don’t know what virus seeped into my brain and implanted itself in my subconscious. I can’t even recall for sure if my memory of first making that decision was real, or nothing but a Leo pulling a Dom Cobb in the nth level of my dream state. But the greater part of me thanks that it or he did.
I want to be a lawyer for a good number of reasons, some more sensible and honest than the rest on a given day. And one of those reasons was to be able to yield power—not that power, mind you—but the powers to control my destiny and make a difference. I wanted to be a mover and shaker, for one thing. Perhaps that’s a tad too idealistic of me (not too mention, unrealistic), but I really didn’t want to fit into just one mold and stay in that figurative faction for all eternity. And yes, to poorly reference Shailene Woodley’s endless train and roof-jumping, I didn’t want to just be dauntless. Fear can be good, after all, because it keeps us on our toes. I want to be a lawyer because it can offer me more than a job. It offers me possibilities. The split second before and after the pain was the vague transition; I now can’t wait for life to start.
But before I finally say goodbye, let me still say thanks. Thank you to the random people who opened the doors, held the elevator or an umbrella, and lent their shoulder for me as I struggle to regain my step. Thank you to all footnoted names who willingly shared their reviewers, passed on tips, and helped me survive the daily grinds. Thank you to all the faces behind the offices desks or photocopy counters, who patiently waited for me and my peers. Thank you to all my professors for teaching me not only lessons in the classroom, but also values outside of it. Thank you to all my friends, law school or not, for not only the laughs but also for helping me go through the non-lucid intervals. But most of all, thank you to my parents and God, these are all you.
Perhaps, one last gutsy thing from Paper Chase—“Professor Kingsfield: Mr. Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer. Student Hart: … You … are a son of a b*tch, Kingsfield! Professor: Mr. Hart! That is the most intelligent thing you’ve said today. You may take your seat.” I’ll just hope I pulled something witty.