Dreams, Fears, Hopes, Law School Journey

A Turn of Events

I'm standing in front of a busy intersection on a sunny day, wearing a red tee shirt and smiling. Behind me there's a big, tall glass building. A truck is parked in front of the main entrance. My logo is in the bottom corner in white.

I recently made a post public on social media in response to the disgusting and infuriating Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade. I wasn’t going to say anything for a very long time but after that news, I just had to. It’s incredible what can drive us when it feels like the world and society are being lit on fire and destroyed, am I right?

I wanted to keep this quiet for many reasons, fear of failure and pressure being two, protecting it another. There was something sacred about keeping this to myself and to those closest to me.

The quiet and arduous weeks and months following my SDR surgery gave me plenty of time to think long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life and how I would someday become the person I desired to be. I felt largely unsatisfied with my trajectory and yearned for more. I knew I wanted to be challenged, fulfilled and hopefully make something of myself and leave some kind of positive mark on the world. I wanted a path I’d genuinely enjoy and importantly, one that truly fit my strengths. I didn’t want to leave writing behind –– that’ll never happen. But I did want it to play a big role in whatever happened next. The advocacy work from this blog has brought me so much joy and fulfillment…so how could I continue doing similar work in a bigger way?

There really wasn’t one defining moment where a light turned on and I finally found the answers. Instead the entire process was slow and gradual. It started just by thinking and turned into something bigger and better than I could’ve possibly imagined. Let me explain it piece by piece. Back in February 2021, I began the following series of steps, silently:

One. General research. Lots of Internet-searching and book-reading. I needed as much information as possible before making such a big, life-changing decision. It was all very anxiety provoking, so research made sense. Well, let me rephrase. It made sense to me. And that’s what mattered. What was I researching? Law school, the law school application process and possible careers as an attorney/opportunities available with a J.D. degree. Surprise! I didn’t know how else to reveal it without just saying it. I hope that’s not too anticlimactic for you. I do feel like it’s much more exciting to reveal it face to face. Sorry, whoever’s reading this. But if you do know me personally, I probably already told you the news face to face or via Facebook or Instagram. Let’s keep going.

Two. I sought a lot of guidance and advice. And I mean a lot. From old professors, teachers, mentors, friends…the list continues. I mean, pursuing law school and a legal career was a drastic turn of events and no small endeavor. Like many things in life, it takes commitment and dedication. Law school is also an entirely different beast than other ventures. I can already tell that much. Doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just a lot of work.

Three. Studied for the LSAT. Phew. That alone is worth a paragraph. Beginning February 1, I woke up every single day at six in the morning to start studying. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you wake up early but that’s another rant for another time and it’s not the point. Read the sentence again. Yes, that’s right. I studied for the LSAT on my own. Brave, perhaps. I really didn’t want to spend my energy and money on expensive tutoring and the like. Others might disagree. You can if you want, I don’t care. We all have different ways of getting where we want to be and they’re equally valid.

I researched and asked around for the best LSAT study books, bought them and started the grind. And what a grind it was. One word to sum up the experience: discipline. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to ditch studying and hang out with friends, watch Netflix or even just enjoy the sunshine. But I didn’t. I lived in my little office during those months, really only leaving to eat or take small breaks.

Four. Took the LSAT. Ugh. That test is the absolute worst. It should be abolished. That’s all I’m going to say about it. The most important and perhaps best part is I got through it and it’s over.

Five. Applied to law school. Several drafts of personal statements. Recommendations from old professors. Transcripts, the whole lot. A process indeed. Also glad it’s all over, though it was another necessary step.

Six. Got accepted to law school. Ah, finally, the beautiful moment that made all those grueling and long, lonely days feel worthwhile. I specifically remember being super down, fatigued and overwhelmed about the overall application process, the tension from waiting, the maddening uncertainty and whether my hard work would pay off. Not joking. That day in late March, I was in my bed and under the covers at noon, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Honest to God, I probably looked like a meme or something. My brother came into the room, concerned and wondering what I was doing in bed in the middle of the day. We talked about law school and life for about half an hour. Then I got that unforgettable email. I read the first few lines and it felt like my heart was exploding. In the best way ever, of course. “Oh my God…”

My brother, who was on his way out the door, turned around. “You got in?”

Pretty sure my smile said it all.

Seven. Started law school. That big, important day in late May arrived in no time. I was supposed to start in August, but fortunately my school offered me a spot in a special inaugural program, giving some first-year students a chance to start early with two seminar classes, thus giving us more time to focus on the tough and demanding doctrinal classes in the fall. I accepted the offer right away. I wasn’t planning on doing much this summer anyway and I wanted all the help I could possibly get. Instead of starting school in mid-August, I started at the end of May. A brilliant choice. I’ll enter the fall semester with two classes under my belt and acclimated to school — knowing several classmates and being friendly with them, to boot. Wins all around.

You might be wondering where I am now, on the first day of July. Well, I’ve only been a law student for a little over a month, but coming to terms that I’ll one day be an attorney is surreal at best. I’m just starting. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I do know one thing: I’m going to do what I can, with everything in my power, to help fight for and protect people’s rights. It will be my honor. You can call me cheesy or sappy if you want, but it’s the truth. I have pure intentions. We need a lot more of that, especially these days. Everything is burning down all around us. Somber and bleak but also the truth.

Like I said, I’m new. Very new. But I’m looking forward to discovering how being a law student fits into my identity. Not only that, but also how being a disabled law student of color fits into my narrative. A whole lot to unpack there. Obviously, my experience is not going to be the same as those students who’re white and non-disabled. Doesn’t scare or intimidate me. I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.

Law school and the legal world are unexplored territories. I’m hoping they’ll be fun and exciting to figure out, like finally finding several missing pieces of a complex puzzle. Cliche, but relatable, right? I might’ve found what I’ve been searching for at last…and it’s priceless.