Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ode to Spring, Break, and the Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's late February and Virginia still clings to winter like a pop radio station clings to Gloria Estefan: it hasn't done much for this place, no one cares for it, and yet it just won't go away. Lately the wind's intensity here has rivaled that of the Great Plains at times, though it will never have a Midwestern wind's endurance. The snow here has finally melted but flurries taunt us in this week's forecast. The rhythm is going to get you. Come on, sunshine and green.

(Before I go further, I should say that the title of this post is a tribute to my Cornell friend Aaron in Los Angeles, who writes a blog called Odeable Edibles, "A slapdash flight into a world of poems that should not exist." Check it out.)

The end of law school is now clearly in sight. On the other side of Spring Break, which starts next weekend, is the last half of the last semester of the last year. New editorial boards have taken the helm of William & Mary's four law journals, a new executive board has been elected to the Student Bar Association, and the administration has released the class ranks that determine who will join the Order of the Coif, that fraternal order of law students not unlike Phi Beta Kappa for undergrads. My own involvement in the law school has dwindled in its breadth, if not its depth. For the first time this year I will not be joining the Student Hurricane Network's now annual Spring Break trip to New Orleans. Fourteen others will, however, and of that I am glad. The ACLU leadership has finally changed to optimistic, energetic 1Ls. I was once one of those (now I'm just optimistic and energetic). I am lucky to be a student representative on a law school committee examining Legal Skills, one of our school's signature programs. It seems that now, every law school must look inward to make its students more prepared for a difficult legal job market. These days I also find pleasure in giving tours to prospective students, finally able to explain this place to strangers with some confidence. They ask fun questions like, "How do the students treat each other? Do they really tear pages out of each other's textbooks?" and "What's it like to live in Williamsburg?" I tell them the truth: we're good people, a decent community. No, we don't tear out pages; we share outlines. The competitive moments do come, but they're primarily reserved for exam days and Moot Court tryouts. And living in the Burg is a pleasant experience, thanks to the historical charm and the other people who live here.

It's difficult to say whether anxiety or relief pervades my classmates, so close to the end. I fluctuate between the two moods myself, depending on how much sleep I get. When I squeak by with four or five hours, I stress the future, wondering when I'll finally know where I will take the Bar exam, whether I'll have a job before graduation, and when I'll be able to tell my parents that their investment in me was a good one. When I'm fortunate enough to get seven or eight hours, I cast worries like those aside, and push through my day with a sort of debonair delight, realizing that I may never again enjoy a time like this. All the uncertainty aside, here I am, on the cusp of graduating from a laudable institution, amongst friends and future leaders of society, enjoying good health and good company on a daily basis. There is much I am thankful for.