The Best and The Worst
Over the last 3 years, I have spent a lot of time and effort explaining over and over how much I hated law school and how it was worthless. I’m bitter. I’m angry. I hate the market. I hate the deception. I hate the pettiness. I’m angry that my school has plummeted 30 spots down the rankings. It’s a giant sinkhole in negativity that barely begins where the Marianas’ Trench ends.
I follow websites like Above the Law and Bitter Lawyer to supplement the negativity that is created by personal experience, my friends’ experiences, and the constant bombardment articles in the mainstream press about how the legal market is awful. In the mess of blogs and Twitter accounts, I unearthed a gem of Twitter user and Bitter Lawyer writer dubbed @NotanElle
She recently had to deal with typical law school drama that did not initially affect her directly, so she did her best to fairly explain what happened and how she felt about it. As per usual, someone took exception to it, called her a coward without calling her a coward, and failed to explain why he took exception to it (Rule 12(b)(6), douche).
What he and people like him fail to realize is that you’re not in a vacuum. You will never be judged for exactly who you are. Your existence is contingent on all your interactions with other people. The very grades you “earned” come from words others have written, actions others have done, lessons taught by teachers, the environment created by the people in the classroom, cases decided by other people, involving other people, affecting other people… You are not an island. You will never be an island.
During my time in law school, I remember people going through divorce, losing parents, losing siblings, losing grandparents, losing pets… I remember people having organ removal surgery (multiple people at that), emergency room visits, run ins with the police… I remember people going through the depression, panic attacks, sleepless nights… I remember people suffering heart break, causing heart break, destroying friendships… I remember the drug abuse, alcohol addiction, the cheating… I remember people losing jobs, being lied to, failing classes… I remember the very night that I was told that the very best one of us was murdered in a domestic violence situation when she was in school to deal with that very problem.
Like anyone who has escaped a traumatic situation, you remember many things you don’t want to remember and you forget many things you would want to remember because you try so hard to block the negative things out. Quite frankly, I’m tired of letting the negative memories win. I refuse to let the awful people win. If it means that I have to remember a lot of the bad times to remember the good times, I will.
We partied together and played Rock Band together. We traveled across Europe, oceans, and across the country together. We went to concerts, shows, and movies together. We went to art fairs and fashion shows. We took pictures in front of monuments and made monuments of pictures. We had family dinners and game nights. We got together to watch Mad Men. We tailgated, pre-gamed, and post-gamed. We had breakfast, pre-lunch, lunch, snacks, dinners, coffee, and late night cereal together. We made feasts of fast food. We made fast food out of free feasts. We got sunburns from the patio at Cielito Lindo
We bailed each other out with notes and outlines. We held each other up when we saw each other falling. We picked each other up when we saw that another had fallen. We saw a BCS bowl win and saw a NATIONAL F***ING CHAMPIONSHIP. We watched each other kids and pets. We helped each other move. We had theme parties and fundraisers. We went to county fairs, state fairs, and ended up on farms. We played sports together, worked out together, and laughed at each other. We windsurfed Clinton Lake and walked our dogs around Mutt Run. We bonded during power outages over candlelight.
We played pranks on another. We may or may not have taken barricades and traffic cones. We may or may not have ran away from cops together. We spent holidays together. We went on float trips and ski trips. We gambled together and danced together. We had worlds of fun at Worlds of Fun. We had cocktail parties and balls. We may have spent nights in the dorms. We let each other borrow books, cars, and even apartments. We answered questions when our fellow classmates were faltering. We shared the best of ourselves and the most vulnerable of ourselves. We became roommates, friends, lovers, and even spouses.
We may have done a lot of this while intoxicated, but it doesn’t change the fact that we did it. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything.
I may have lost touch with many of my classmates. I may have not known some of my classmates. Even if all you ever did was say hello, smile, shake my hand, sit next to me in class, or show up to an event I helped put on… thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thousands of miles away, a hundred times over, thank you. My experience was not in a vacuum. You were in it with me.
Green Hall, career services, professors, administrators, etc. may have abandoned you, but you were not alone at the beginning, you were not alone during, you were not alone at graduation, and you are not alone now (especially if loan debt is keeping you cold at night… and even if you’re in Switzerland or Saudi Arabia).
Chin up, my friends. Rock Chalk