Well, it happened. I’m officially a law school graduate! Thursday, May 21st, was the Columbia Law School Commencement and I walked across the stage as my name was called, eager, nervous, and excited all at once to be finished with this chapter of my life and to prepare for the next.
A newly minted Juris Doctor
I’ve been in a bit of a nostalgic mood recently, what with finishing my final law school classes and harkening back to my Oxford exams, setting up my bar exam study materials, and preparing for law school graduation. I’ve been using my blessed two weeks of free time to get in some good long runs, time with friends, and serious ice cream eating. But I’ve also been thinking about how fast time seems to have passed by, mostly because I, ever the Luddite, finally installed the Timehop app on my phone and am now inundated each morning with snapshots of what I was doing on that day the year before…and two years…and four years…and eight years ago!
Eight years. That’s how far back Timehop can track, because that’s how long I’ve been on Facebook. I opened an account in early 2007, during my sophomore year of high school, which feels like another lifetime. I’m a little scared by the fact that fully one-third of my life has been documented on Facebook and other social media, and I’m well aware of the ramifications of that. But seeing photographic evidence right in front of me of who I was eight years ago, and then looking in the mirror at the girl I am today, is a powerful reminder of how I’ve grown and changed into an almost-law-school-graduate.
Last Thursday, I mentioned that the end of law school feels a lot less like an end, and more like a beginning. So goes the circle of life. Now I’m thinking about that even more, because yesterday I took my last final exam of law school. There is the bar exam, but I’m trying NOT to think about that for the next week! Mostly, I’m flashing back to Finals at Oxford. They felt very, well, final. About a fortnight before I left, I experienced the tradition known as ‘trashing’ that takes place when you finish Finals, and it comes at the end of what feels like a lifetime of ‘revision’ (studying – there’s an Oxford term for every word!) The day I actually left felt more like a slow fade into the next phase of life, the beginning; trashing was the end that circled into it.
Brasenose in winter
The way it works at Oxford is that you apply and are admitted to a college to study a specific subject. That’s difficult for a lot of Americans to fathom; our liberal arts college system is built on exploring all sorts of academic areas. Oxford (and Cambridge) focus on depth rather than breadth, so that even within History I specialized in a few areas and really learned a lot about them. For that reason, very few American students study as full-time undergraduates – after all, how many 17-year-olds are ready to commit like that? I knew I loved history, and I do wish I could have dabbled a bit elsewhere. Then again, it was the experience of a lifetime, and I would never trade it for anything else. The tutorial system, where students meet weekly with a tutor (professor) and study and read and write on their own otherwise, really suited me, and I appreciated the chance to learn in a self-directed way, through individual exploration.
Welcome to the first WIAW of May! I’m linking up with Jenn over at Peas & Crayons to share a day’s eats with you all. Yesterday, as I have for the past week, I focused on eating clean, whole foods and keeping processed foods and added sugars to a minimum. I have not cut them out completely – I did so for three days last week, but my focus going forward is on balance. I’m already gluten-free, and I chose to add dairy back in quickly after eliminating it for the first few days of my three-week clean eating challenge. My allergies to tree nuts and avocados make it tough to replace the healthy fats I get from eating my Greek yogurt and peanut butter. And as much as I enjoy spooning that peanut butter straight out of the jar, I like to make it part of a more substantial snack! I am already more aware of how processed foods and added sugars can affect your energy levels, and intend to be mindful whether and when to include them. Today I will be taking my last final exam of law school, and I’ve needed a steady stream of finals fuel without sugar shock! But I have also realized that when I want some ice cream, nothing else will curb the craving. I wanted some on the eve of the exam, and so I indulged. The important thing is to make good choices most of the time, and to do what works for you. Kelly wrote about this timely topic yesterday, and I’ve done so in the past. Even for someone without my food history, it’s crucial to keep in mind!
I’m starting off the weekend with a recap of all the good things that happened in April and what I’m looking forward to now that it’s May. April’s away, May to stay! Running and recipes, friends and family, walks and talks, school and play…there’s a lot to cover this lovely Saturday. Afterwards, I’ll be outside enjoying the sunshine!
In April, I…
Had my last day of class at law school, meaning my last ever last day of school! (My favorite English teacher from high school told me one should never say never, but it feels pretty final to me.)
Got into a springtime running groove, in the wake of the NYC Half Marathon in March. I’ve been hovering around 25 miles per week, maybe a few more, split between three weekday runs of 5-6 miles and a long weekend run of 8-9 miles. My recent 4-miler may not have been a PR, but it was still pretty awesome to get to race in real spring sunshine.
Yesterday was my last day of law school classes, which means it was quite probably my last day of school ever. After three long years of classes and internships, exams and papers, interviews and awkward apartment parties, graduation is almost here. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It doesn’t seem real that less than a month from now, I will be officially out of academia and preparing for the bar exam (that is the real end of all this!) 13 years of primary and secondary school, 3 years of college, 3 years of law school – if you count preschool, it’s actually more than two decades, which is practically my whole life to this point!
It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. And it seems like it’s gone by even faster, because my perspective on time is a little twisted around. When I first went to Oxford, it felt like I was going to college, and going on an adventure in another country, but in the end I grew to have another world entirely. Get on the plane in New York, and leave my ‘real’ life behind. Get off the plane in London and arrive in Oxford soon after, and enter my ‘Oxford’ world, where what was going on in the US seemed very far away, not just physically but mentally. And vice versa. The result of this was that, after my last trip home to the US, Oxford not only felt far away in the aftermath, but began very quickly to seem almost like a dream. We always look back with rose-colored glasses at the past, I think, but in this case, it wasn’t that I didn’t remember the rougher patches – it was that the glorious moments eclipsed them. The tricky part for me is keeping the memories sharp and in focus, when they all seem to take on the hazy quality of a dream.
Welcome to another round of WIAW, linking up with Jenn at Peas & Crayons and featuring my eats from Monday – the first day of my last week of school ever!
Breakfast: I began Monday with a protein-packed plate of Turkey Cheddar Omelet with Food for Life gluten-free corn tortillas to make miniature breakfast wraps and a side of cucumber slices. There’s still dairy because I started my 21-day spring reset challenge a day late (on Tuesday). As of today (Wednesday) I’ve gone 24 hours sans dairy, and I’m pretty sure that’s a first for as far back as I can remember!