Saturday, May 14, 2011

J. to the D.

I did it!  I am now newly a law school graduate!  A real life J.D., Juris Doctorate, if you will.  (Brian already has title envy.)
I'm happy to report that my nightmare of tripping during the walk and spraining my ankle and/or splitting my chin open (childhood traumatic memories) did not come true.  But I did get a perfectly formed sunburn on the back of my neck.  It looks awesome.

Besides a slightly redder neck, what I will take away from yesterday was how it felt to graduate for the last time (the last time?!!!!).  It was sweaty.  Maybe the sweatiest day of my life.  But there was more than just that.  My professor, David Sklansky, gave a fabulous address, which he claimed no one would remember  (clearly I took this as a personal challenge to my brainpower).  He gave us only one piece of advice: he told us to look around, to take in this feeling of being on the cusp of our graduations and of our careers, and to hold on to that feeling forever.  He told us to store it away and come back to it in the dark times, when we forget why we became lawyers or question every decision we've made.  And for me, besides the sweatiness, the feeling was butterflies.
Yesterday morning, I woke up with that overly adrenalized, kind of nauseated, but can't stop smiling butterfly-y feeling.  My initial reaction, naturally, was to try to fix it - the "maybe if I eat something...?" reaction.  So I ate something.  But the butterflies still flitted about.  And then I realized that I should be grabbing this feeling, squeezing it with everything I've got and committing it to memory, not banishing it!  If you think about it, how many times have you had butterflies?  I can count the number of times on one hand: my first day of college, my first job interview, my first day of work last summer, my wedding day.  And now, law school graduation.  That's quite a list, no?  Maybe my favorite list of memories ever, and the butterflies were with me through all of those milestones.  They are like special occasion butterflies, and from now on, they will be welcomed with open arms and big smiles.

So whenever I think about Professor Sklansky's advice (which I will remember just because he said I wouldn't), I will remember how it felt to have sweaty palms, too much adrenaline pumping in my veins, a queasy feeling in my belly, and cheeks that ache from smiling.  And I will remember not only my law school graduation, but all of those other life moments that were important enough to entice the butterflies.
Cheers to the Class of 2011!


Kirsty {a safe mooring} said...


And very timely - I have been having those why-am-I-a-lawyer feelings recently, and it's so easy to forget how amazing it felt to accept my degree and know I worked my ass off to earn it.

Also, clearly lawyers in Scotland have an inferiority complex that we make up for with excessively long titles - I'm an LLB(Hons) Dip.L.P. N.P! My maiden name was actually shorter than the letters after it...

Ashley said...

Thanks, Kirsty! I know I will face those moments in the future too, and I just hope I can hold on to this feeling for long enough to get me through the tough times.

And that's hilarious about all the Scottish lawyer titles! Sounds quite fancy!