With a few more grades that raised my eyebrows, I shrugged it all off and went full steam ahead to the finish line – graduation day (sort of). While I would walk with my friends at graduation, I had to make up the one semester that I missed to recover (It’s still pretty remarkable to me that it was “only” one semester). The old adage is that 1L they scare you to death (hmm, maybe this all makes sense now?), 2L they work you to death and 3L they bore you to death. As the end of the third-year neared, all of my friends were in full-blown frenzy with the wretched bar exam quickly approaching. For me, it was one of the happier times of my life.
It was a bittersweet day. Law school represented, and still represents, the most tumultuous period of my life. Those three years brought out the best and worst of me, but graduation day meant it was time to say goodbye to so many good friends and the state that I had called home for three years. I was on the verge of the sweetest victory I could have scripted – earning my juris doctor degree. If you were to ask pretty much anyone on July 2, 2008 if I would ever finish my degree, you would find that the majority would say “no”. But not me.
All that stood in the way of me and that moment was one semester at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Why didn’t I continue at Roger Williams, you ask? Simply put, I realized that all of my peers that I had entered this chapter of my life with would be leaving after we walk across the stage and would be returning to their respective homes to begin their careers. Back to Massachusetts…back to Arizona…back to New York….back to Connecticut. Everyone was scattering and what was I to do there without my support group? I needed someone to be there for me, who knew my struggles in the classroom as well as my medical history to guide me through the last semester and so I opted to complete my final semester as a visiting student at Quinnipiac University.
Quinnipiac is set out over acres of beautiful land with Sleeping Giant State Park in the backdrop. On the flip side though, how was I to cope with not watching the morning fog roll through the Mt. Hope Bridge or hearing the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks? I’d manage – at least I had my mom’s home cooked meals again to get me through. In retrospect, my final semester at Quinnipiac was everything that I could have hoped for. The professors were wonderful and understanding to my personal situation and the time went quickly – very quickly. Before I could even blink, it was November 1st and talk about final exams began or presenting our final paper, which in essence, we short novels full of legal jargon. To top it all off, the bar exam began to play on my mind and I asked myself “how” I was going to get through the remainder of the semester and through all of the adversity that awaited me. But on that same day, I received this email…
Now talk about support. This email is just a sample of the support that I provided by my family and friends throughout law school and during my illness. This was all the motivation that I would need to carry me through to the end. Once again, my parents were right there to pick me up and provide me the encouragement that I needed to dig deep within and find the will to get through the semester. I know I sound like a broken record, but without the support of my family, especially my parents, none of this would be possible and I would be unable to write this blog.
As I typed the final “ . ” of my last final exam, I was overcome with joy.
Sweet victory, I had accomplished the unimaginable. After all of the trauma my brain had overcome and the adversity I faced, I was finished. There were no words to express the sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt at that moment.
What came next was trying to figure how to pass the bar exam – but how? There was no holding me back now though. I had worked so hard and had come so far. But being human, I think and wonder what I would have done with my life had I been diagnosed prior to enrolling in law school. But what’s in the past is in the past. I dismissed the fact that exams were now even more difficult for me than they had been previously. After forking over nearly a thousand dollars just take the bar exam, in addition to thousands to take a prep course, I was on my way once again. Or wasn’t I? I’ll save the topic of the bar exam for another day.
For now, I celebrated my accomplishments. Graduating law school…I was on cloud nine. I was having the “time of my life.”