I am starting law school tomorrow. This is the one thing I hope to achieve.
Tomorrow is my first day of law school. The last two years of my life have been consumed with LSAT preparations, applications, sweaty-handed tours and interviews, scholarship negotiations, and long, tearful talks in the mirror as I questioned if the bubble of anxiety in my heart was going to be worth it in the end. In 24 hours, I will finally be able to answer that question.
According to the handful of other law students I have encountered — friends, acquaintances, long-lost high school compatriots reporting via Facebook — the answer to that question is “no.” Rather, law school has been reported to me as a place whose primary function is to suck out your soul through your eyeballs and replace whatever belief you have in humanity with a dark gray cloud of bitterness and alleged “realism.” Even those who are simply going to law school to make stacks of money they can later swan dive into report the fatigue and suffering of 80 hour work weeks, belittling bosses, and rampant addiction among their peers. As for those who hope to break the wheel of our justice system, well…
It is painful for me to imagine spending three years learning and working only to emerge with a fresh pocketful of debt and a hollow heart, and yet this reality seems all too feasible if I, for a fraction of a second, let my gaze slip from my goals.
Materially, my goals include making law review, remaining at the top of my class, securing meaningful internships with organizations whose missions I hold dear, etc. Yet, above and encompassing all of these well-worn notions of success is something else: more than anything, I hope to remain positive.
When I look inside myself and try to see the woman I will be in three years, I see someone golden, someone bright, someone who has let the bitterness slide off of her and emerged victorious over doubt, both self-made and externally-imposed, that so many relish, if only for familiar comfort.
Sharing this vision no doubt makes me sound like a sneer-worthy special snowflake who has no idea what she is about to get herself into. Good luck to me, attempting to remain bright after witnessing another Black man shot by the NYPD. Good luck maintaining faith in change after seeing another family…