Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Orientation Day

I had my first day of orientation which was really interesting. It was in a large auditorium and I was one of 3 LLM students. The other 120 or so were 1Ls. Most of the orientation was geared towards them and rightfully so as their trek will more difficult than mine right now. I kept thinking to myself, "They have no idea what is ahead of them." I know it is a very paternalistic thing to think but I am about to be a father and I am several years ahead of them.

I remembered my first day of oreintation for Loyola. It was hard to believe that I had made it into law school and that I had just moved myself to New Orleans, LA. I looked around my class that evening and I was filled with a sense of elation. Things were going to work out great, I thought. Little did I know that 10 days later, i would be in a stranger's home 3 hours north of NOLA, watching Hurricane Katrina rip the city apart. Nor did I know that I would attend three different law schools and end up practicing law in Chicago, Illinois over the next 4 years.

The students this morning, similarly, had no idea what was ahead of them. It may not be a natural disaster which will be taught to their children in history class but they will not be the same. And under Willamette's strict grading policy, at least 12 of them will be out trying to figure out another career because they failed out. I felt sad and oddly happy for them. It will bond them to their classmates in a way that I never got to experience. It may also be more than some can handle. Law school is rough, probably rougher than most practices of law. Maybe it is meant to be that way, a sort of initiation rite to join the fraternity. It does create an instant connection to other attorneys once you start practicing.

In the end, I envied them a bit since they have three more years before the bite of reality will first sting them. As tough as law school was, it is a sort of fairyland place where growing up can be put off another couple of years. Not that law school creates perpetual Peter and Patricia Pan's but that you can just be a student for a little while longer before you have to figure out careers and lives that will carry you to retirement.

I know this sounds sad and depressing but I am excited to get another crack at school and try to improve my family's situation.

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