Juris Doctored

Hey everyone. It’s been a busy week over here.

For starters, this happened:

Hooded and ready to go.

Last Friday my law school career officially ended with my law school graduation. I’m not sure I really have the words to describe the experience yet. Hands down, it was the greatest day of my life. Nerd alert: I’ve wanted to go to graduate school for as long as I can remember. Even when I was experimenting with other career tracks (including but not limited to psychiatrist, industrial organizational psychologist, social psychologist- sensing a theme there?) I knew I wanted a graduate degree. I’ve been working towards that moment for years, at least since the beginning of undergrad even though at the time I didn’t know I would be earning a juris doctor.

The day started with Clementine (scramble with American cheese, bacon, roasted tomato and avocado) and spent time beautifying and getting ready for the ceremony.

Ironically my graduations have become less formal as I’ve moved up the educational ladder. Blame it on my public high school that required us to wear white dresses and be escorted by boys while carrying a single red rose. The burgeoning feminist in me was slightly outraged at the time, and still kinda is. This graduation was awesome because it was super laid back. We leisurely walked in, got to sit with our friends and there was lots of cheering and yelling. The ceremony was long and we were sitting in the sun and I got a head ache half way through which was in no way related to the activities the night before so it kind of felt like a minor struggle, much like my whole law school experience.

What made the ceremony awesome was sitting with my favorite law school people.

See how sunny it was?

Before I knew it I was hooded and they presented us as Doctors of Law! It was a great moment I will never forget.

After photos and parents meeting parents my gang headed to an epic 2 hour dinner at Tavern. I was too busy being carried around on a metaphorical lily pad to take photos. I had two glasses of prosecco to ease the headache, artichoke with burrata and prosciutto, and duck confeit for dinner. For dessert I had a snickers bar because it’s what Barack would order.

Overall it was, like I said, the best day of my life. Thank you to everyone who sent me well wishes etc in the past week. I might not have replied to everyone but I read them all and they made my special day even more special.

My family was in town until Wednesday and we spent the rest of the time brunching, getting awkward tan lines at a Dodgers game, seeing Avengers, hiking in Runyon, shopping, and sipping Blue Bottle coffee in LA.

I have the rest of the week off and Monday I start my Bar Exam Prep Class. The bar exam is the end of July. I’m not sure what this means for LCC. Obviously, my focus needs to be on the exam. LCC has always been part of my life and I feel like blogging balances out my life and I need it for sanity sake. So that’s what I’m up to.

Also, I have made a decision regarding my fitness and running. I was diligently training for the Pasadena Half this weekend. I was doing well on my long runs and was feeling well. However, over the past few weeks I’ve been having some it band issues. Over spring break my left it band did something really funky which I never got into on the blog. I rebounded but with finals and then end of law school I fell off completing long runs and this further aggravated my right hip. I did a surprisingly speedy 8 miler a week ago. About 7 miles in my hip was really sore and the feeling stuck around for about a week. That said, I don’t want to hurt myself more and I will not be running this weekend. I really do want to best my half marathon PR but now just isn’t the right time. I’m going to keep running short distances throughout the bar (maybe a 10k or 5k thrown in there) and I’m going to dig into yoga more and give my body a little rest. I’ve been to yoga twice this week and I am really pushing my practice. It just feels good and I think it’s what my wants right now.

OK! So! With that, thank you AGAIN for all the love you all sent in the past week. Law school graduation is something I will never forget. If you want to read more about my law school career check out what I wrote about my law school experience.

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The ends not near, it’s here.

On top of the mountain. Get it?

So last Wednesday I took my final law school exam and as we speak I am editing the final paragraphs of my Clinical Project. I will be completely and totally finished with everything associated with law school this evening. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my law school experience over the past few weeks and going through the normal graduation associated emotions: happiness at ending, pride in my accomplishment, apprehension about the future, and sadness to see several of my closest buddies moving away.

To be completely honest, law school was really tough for me. My 1L year was by far the most challenging for me in my personal life and it was equally challenging in my academic life. With my chaotic personal life it took me longer to adjust to law school than I wanted to. I’d always been a fantastic, near-perfect student and it was really hard for me not to do well immediately. I was very hard on myself for not being the perfect law student and I felt like I was failing at everything in my life.

Half way though first year I began running and started this blog. I am so thankful that I did. Left Coast Contessa gave me an outlet during 1L and something to focus on outside of school. I got healthier and more confident. I stayed in touch with my amazing support network of friends from undergrad. I was fortunate to have two fantastic summers at fulfilling jobs that I loved with excellent mentors to remind me why I went to law school. I eventually got a handle on classes and discovered that it’s totally acceptable to not be 100% perfect at school.

I think the biggest lesson that law school taught me was not to be so hard on myself. Law school also forced me to explore my identity outside being an overachiever. I’m probably the only person you know to have gone to law school and become more calm and less stressed out. Law school taught me that it’s ok to be an average student. In fact, after law school my ability to do great on an issue spotting examination really won’t matter. Law school confirmed for me that I get the most out of my work when it surrounds social justice. I discovered just how much I love that moment when I’m really able to connect and help someone improve their life.

Law school also taught me how special my undergraduate experience was. Simmons College really is one of a kind. Probably because I went straight from undergrad to law school I was acutely aware of the differences between the two schools. Simmons prepared me for law school because it made me the woman I am today. Simmons gave me self-assurance, confidence and transformed me from a girl into a woman. The friends I made at Simmons carried me though graduate school and were supportive sounding boards. Simmons nurtured me and I cannot imagine going to law school without the experience of Simmons. Frequently while at law school I would think about Simmons and the community there. It will always be special to me and there really is nowhere on earth like it.

Law school has also given me some fantastic friendships that I am very thankful for. I feel like I’ve been through a war with these people and no matter what we will always have that bond. I’ve also had the privilege to sit in classrooms filled with some of the most intelligent people I will ever meet. I am still blown away by my classmates on a routine basis. I feel lucky to be included in the same class as them.

There hasn’t been a day where I drive to school down Sunset Blvd and I don’t pinch myself. Graduating from UCLA Law is very honestly something that I could not have imagined in my wildest fantasy for my life. I remember looking at the prospectus on a bench in the Prudential Center in Boston on a warm June day in 2008 thinking “this is a pipe dream”. I remember driving by entrance to UCLA on Sunset when I was on my first trip to LA in August of 2006 thinking “I want to go to graduate school there”. The privilege of going to UCLA Law has not been lost on me and I would not be here without the teachers and advocates throughout school who made sure I got the help I needed to perform to my full potential. I would not be here without the mentor I had in undergrad who helped me network into internships, assistantships and fellowships. I would not be here without my fantastically supportive parents who literally would have done anything to help me succeed to my full potential. I would likely not be here without the absurd amount of economic and racial privilege that helped me go to superior public school and allowed me to not worry about financials during school (yeah I worked hard but I’m graduating with a specialization in critical race theory- I need to acknowledge that privilege has lead to many of the opportunities I’ve had).

These are the thoughts that I’ve been turning over in my mind over the past few weeks. My family arrives on Thursday. Graduation is on Friday and I cannot wait to walk across the stage, get my hood and become a Juris Doctor. Thank you so much, reader, for following me for the past 2.5 years on this blog. Like I said above, this blog really helped me navigate the waters of law school and it’s nice to know that there were people following along on the journey.