All At Once (The Semester was Over)

I made it.

It’s hard to believe that 116 days ago, I was anxious about not having friends, being in a new state and trying to take on an entirely new career trajectory. I asked myself how I could possibly have thought so many changes was a good idea and before I knew it, it was time to set my morning alarms to get up for my very first day of law school.

Sure, it was orientation-so not entirely my first day, but you have to start somewhere and for me, that somewhere began at the North wing of Washburn Law. I was greeted by smiles and for the first time in the three weeks since I moved here, I thought “huh, maybe I didn’t make such a big mistake after all”.

I told myself that I was going to make at least one friend that day. Turns out, I was being strongly pessimistic. I made three friends that day, and four more before the week was out. I began to release some of that doubt that had done its best to burrow inside my head and tell me I wasn’t good enough. We were asked to give an introduction and people were speaking of their legal experience, where they were from and how excited they were to be there. Seriously. Everyone mentioned being excited. I knew I was only going to get one shot at being authentic so my introduction was a little different.

Hi, my name is Michelle B-B, and as if that weren’t pretentious enough, I also went to THE Ohio State University where my focus was rape culture and mental health. I got here because in a caffeine binge watching Supernatural session, I decided I would Legally Blonde it and apply to law school. And speaking of caffeine, if I don’t have a coffee cup in my hand, it’s probably best that you start running-there’s probably an emergency.

This garnered a few laughs and I figured, well, at least I’ll be memorable.

When classes actually began, so did the panic. Why was I so bad at reading? Why were 10 pages of cases taking me an hour to digest? Was I going to finish the work? Had I made a mistake?

It took a month before I found a rhythm and then BAM-midterms. I held my head high, even though my eyelids drooped. And just when I had readjusted to the learning curve, grades were released. Another stepping stone in the path of doubt. You see, I’d never experienced bell curve grades, where a 36% could be an A and a 99% could be a C. The math made no sense and I had no way of knowing it would be that stressful.

The last week of classes came and went and finals stared me down. Suddenly reading cases didn’t seem so bad. Surely we weren’t done yet! And that’s true. Because in many ways, school was only beginning. I relied on that group of friends and began quizzing each other. Sometimes this would go on for 14+ hours (and I wish that were an exaggeration). This was my week last week. The first final down and I felt invincible.

My birthday was last weekend and that’s when everything went a little off kilter. I spent most of the weekend praying I would stop being sick long enough to study. It was my unlucky fortune to suffer from cross contamination and a bad case of shellfish intolerance. I walked into my second final with a fever high enough to make me delirious, made it half an hour without walking out to throw up and then finished it as best I could. The seeds of doubt were replanted. I finished my last final this afternoon, and thankfully have recovered from my little excursion with death (I probably wouldn’t have died, but I remain unconvinced.)

And that, dear friends, brings us back. 116 days ago, I was an undergrad with questions. Today, I’m a law student with answers. I’m exhausted, I’m proud of myself, and I’m completely convinced that I deserve this break. I’d be a liar if I said I did it alone. I met some fantastic 2 and 3 (and 3.5) L students, other 1L’s, some J sectioners and learned a bit about myself all the while.

My next semester starts in 31 days. And you’ll see me walking confidently in those same North doors, coffee still, very much, in hand.

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Feeling A Moment

(The title is a song from 2005 by Feeder. It’s one of the ones I put on repeat when I need perspective. It’s a little different than what I normally listen to.)

This week has been on the harder side of hellacious for me.

There were some good things which occured, and need mentioned before I mope. First, I was approved for a fee waiver through the law school application process and that means I can take the LSAT again for free (which I’m going to take advantage of!) and I managed to make it to at least some classes this week (which is always good).

I had the flu (which I am still recovering from-darn congestion), the midterm-quiz I took this week seemed like a foreign language that I wasn’t familiar with (and I don’t anticipate doing very well por eso), our only vehicle lost some bolts in the exhaust system and had stuffs hanging about while we drove (so we had to get that fixed emergency style), there were two assaults on campus-places I know very well.

Now, to be clear, neither of the assaults happened to me, nor did they happen to people I even know. But what I know is that whenever something gets reported to campus police, we all get an email saying the nature of the crime, the time and the location. So I know that these assaults were in broad daylight, two different places, two different women, same perp.

I’ve been going around and around about my project. About how much it’s needed, what good it will do, how much good, those types of questions.

And it is weeks like this that make me understand that the fear I feel about taking on this project isn’t fear of responsibility, it’s fear of failure. I know that I can help out my campus (and more campuses!) and I know I can do it with dignity and empathy. I just can’t be afraid anymore. Because if I give it my best, there’s no way I can fail. There’s also no way I cannot make a difference.

Happy weekend everyone. Be safe, be well, be hopeful.