Today is the day I would have graduated law school.
Emphasis on the would have- as anyone who read my very first, dust-collecting post knows, I left law school on the second day of classes in January, 2012. I sold my books, ditched my apartment, and burned many, many bridges of those mentioned in previous blog entries. And despite my career changes and my many self-doubts, I haven’t regretted a thing. For the most part, anyway. I’ve been able to travel. I contracted for my favorite company on the planet. I had a crappy job in an industry I love. I now have an amazing job in an industry that is wacky and stupid and crazy, but I oddly love. I’ve lived away from home. I now live at home. And today, while I spent my time running from meeting to meeting in Midtown Manhattan, a couple hundred kids I knew donned a cap and gown and lined up to Pomp and Circumstance.
Don’t get me wrong- it’s hard to see some of my friends, non-friends, and really non-friends hold that degree. But they earned it. Every person who walked in that stadium in Boston deserved what they now have. And you know what? I deserve what I have, too. I entered law school looking for salvation- for confirmation that I could get into a great, competitive school; for the direction I severely lacked in my life; for the competition I thrive on and still cherish. Law school gave me all of those things. With those things came others: the admission that I am extremely impulsive and stubborn; the fact that I rely on my friends and family more than I’ll ever admit; and the quiet realization that I wanted to do almost anything- anything- but be an attorney.
The law school grads deserve every accolade and commendation they’ve received, tenfold. I’ll never wear a funky cap with a Harry Potter-ish cloak. I’ll never get a massive piece of fancy paper you can see from space. I’ll never be in the Order of the Coif. And somehow I’ll have to get by without those things. I’ll have to live with my choices, the way I have for the past two and a half years.
My college advisor told me that I should always stand by the courage of my convictions. As my former colleagues and classmates walked today, I stood to the side. They walked with earned pride- I stood with conviction. And a beer. Happy MDW.