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Brawi
25 May 2009 @ 09:05 pm
On Friday, I graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School, reaching a goal that I've had for more than a decade.

Getting to this point has been an effort in continually experiencing the surreal. I knew that there was an LSAT, but I couldn't envision what actually taking it would be like. I knew that there was such a thing as 1L year, but couldn't conceptualize actually being a 1L, until I was there. Same for being a summer associate, for law review, for graduation. I knew all of these things existed, because of research or reading or whatever. But I never could place myself in them, mentally. So every once in a while, I would be struck: wow, this is the LSAT, I would think during the exam; so this is being a summer associate, I would think last summer.

And most surreal of all: graduating. It was oppressively hot on Friday; 89 degrees under the blackest of robes. We lined up alphabetically, and processed in. Professor Civ Pro reached out to hug me as I went by; my boss 1L year was standing their clapping. My parents, of course, were there too.

Honestly, much of the ceremony was spent trying not to die of heat stroke. But I did notice some of the speeches: one of the Deans (with the speech bubbles in the last post) talked about the unexamined life not being worth living -- a warning I am pretty sure I have avoided with this blog, but a good one to know going forward. And the Chairman of the Fed -- our speaker -- summed up exactly what I have been thinking about in my journal lately: how the smallest, most unexpected moments in our lives can lead to vast change; about letting go of control and savoring the unexpected. "Be adventurous," he suggested near the end.

That I fully plan to do. I have been Type-A and a control-freak my whole adult life. The smallest misstep could have screwed everything up. A missed question on the LSAT could have made it impossible to get into a good school, messing up on just a few law school exams would have closed law review's doors to me; slip-ups as far back as college could have had dire effects today. It's been like walking on a tightrope. But as far as I am concerned, I have reached the other side. Every moment of stress was for Friday, whether it needed to be or not. I don't know how much of my need for control has been bound up in this mission, but I am looking forward to finding out.

It's strange to be able to "look back" on law school as complete; compartmentalized. I thought of a funny moment from 1L year the other day and grinned, and realized that it's already starting: once it's over, you can start to sort through the bad and pick out the good. I like that. Law school was never so terrible as High School, which I wanted to forget in its entirety. The ultimate victory over law school will be if I look back and see the Glad before the Awful.

I'm not a crier. I am pretty composed, most of the time. But standing in line, waiting to receive my J.D., I almost broke down a little. It's been such a long time, and I think it was only until I was two people away from being called onto the stage that I actually believed it might happen, and it almost bowled me over. Luckily, I was only exposed to the immensity of that feeling for a few seconds: my name was called, followed by those Latin words, and I was all grins for the next 24 hours.

And that, as they say, was that.

---

When I picked this particular moment to close the journal, I worried that it would seem that the whole endeavor was about getting into law school and getting through. Also, unnoticed in the hustle, the day I finished law school was the sixth birthday of the Brawiblog. How funny, to start this endeavor, not knowing that in six years to the day I would be finishing it. These two things might suggest that the point of this blog was to get through law school. But in reality, this has never been a "law school blog." It's too old, it has been too broad. But more importantly, I've been telling a different story here, one that makes the law school story secondary.

Because I grew up somewhat isolated, I sometimes had trouble understanding how to relate to people. I struggled with how to prioritize these new friendships, and I flailed toward reorienting to this new world.

But when things looked bleakest; where I could have broke, I fought back -- with the help of the constant self-analysis this journal provided. "Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell," I borrowed from Switchfoot, and I dove back into the same things with a new mindset: to understand the way relationships worked more fully. To accept friendship for what it is, and to be strong for it, not because of it. And I am still feeling the echoes of that choice -- almost five years ago -- today, in both the still-extant friendships that were stronger because of it, and in the way I relate to people. And so, long before law school, I started developing the self-confidence that comes with knowing who you are. I don't think I realized it until very recently, but by the time I got to law school, there was really only work to do at the margins. All the hard work about being the man I wanted to be was done before I even set foot in Boston: these three years, though challenging and formative, were less of a retooling than the three years that preceded them.

This story, then, has been about becoming the person you want to be -- about trial and error, about self-confidence, about relationships, about both growing up and growing as a person.

Early on, I started referring to this "person that I was going to be." Recently, I even got a little schizophrenic about him: seeing him out of the corner of my eye, or saying that he was going to "take over." It's true: in the weeks leading up to graduation, I just felt this entire other way of looking at the world, looming like an alternate personality.

For what it's worth, I didn't feel it after graduation, and I don't feel it anymore, and I expect that it's because I have become that person, to at least some extent. Extinguished by merger, to borrow a term from the law. There's only me left here, and I think I've got a pretty good handle on the right way, for me, to look at the world. "Let my mind shine like a halo" has been the lyric from which I drew this journal's layout theme for the past few years. I like what it implies: that we are the person we are, and that we do best when we let that show.

---

I tried to thank you all a few posts ago, and I'll do it again. I can't specifically mention anyone's contribution without mentioning everyone, since the biggest contribution you have made is just reading. Knowing that these posts would be read focused me to take a real good look at my life, to try to examine it as an impartial observer, and I have no doubt that I am a better person for it. I listed my contact information here, and I hope you will keep in touch with me. I echo again my sincere thanks for sticking with me.

Special thanks for prolificacy go to my top five commentors: jilu, ozmavul (the person who convinced me to start the journal all these years ago), agnjdevil, metalissa, and totalrock1017. Thanks for all your input -- from you five to all the people who commented even once.

My paid account will expire, and the icons here will vanish. My MSU hosting will someday runout, and the background to this journal will vanish. The final list of the sententiae can be accessed here, until BC yanks my webspace. I know my journal is the last or only one that some of you read, and so slowly, even the people that made this place what it was will move on. Maybe someday Livejournal will even shut down. All of the parts that comprise this journal will fade.

But the real value of the experience has a permanence that will outlast all of these things. Thank you for that.

---

"Sunrise on the back of an old life," sings South, and that's how I feel. It's very en vogue around here to say that nothing really changes once you get your J.D. -- after all, there's the bar exam, and work, &c. But for me, everything changed. It was never about the J.D. It was about getting to this point, and learning who I wanted to be along the way. An endpoint, even if somewhat arbitrary, takes on real meaning if you know it is the endpoint for ten years. And here at the end, I feel like one big thing is finished, and I can look ahead, free and clear, to other things. Rather than my the past ten years being a shadow, they are something to build on. Sunrise on the back of an old life.

"Thank you for reading," is the way I used to end all of my posts in the first months of the blog, when this was just an experiment in storytelling. I think I'd like to close in the same fashion, albeit a little broader. I am grateful for all of you. I am grateful for God's influence over the past six-plus years, which has been palpable. I am grateful that the choices I made, even when uninformed or seemingly accidental, have led me to this point. And I am grateful to be able to end this at this time, in this particular way. Closure is a luxury, and ending things well is a particularly wonderful thing, as I realized years ago when I graduated college under similarly fortunate circumstances. To have it here is a treasure.

Thank you for reading, stay in touch, and shine on.
 
 
Brawi
22 May 2009 @ 09:58 pm


Couldn't be happier. Finally, finally, finally. Thanks for all the well-wishes, through whatever medium they came to me today :)
 
 
Brawi
22 May 2009 @ 12:20 am
We have not much left to cover, here. The final sententia, to start.

I have conflicting belief on the whole "nature versus nurture" thing. On the one hand, I clearly have changed as a person. I railed against Hale, against everything it stood for. I refused to let it define me, and here I am: proof, to some extent, that you can form the world to your desires, that you can fight off your past, that there are no curses. That you can rise above. I barely need to point to examples of this: my entire life has been spent beating against the current, as it were.

On the other hand, there is some part of me that exists more concretely. During Secured Transactions, or Immigration, something would just click, and I would understand priorities or inadmissibility grounds, and the way that all these self-referential statutory provisions fit together. And when that happened, I would have this satisfied, happy feeling that echoed back to being a kid, and pushing the elevator buttons, or reading about how nuclear bombs work (a favorite topic as a kid, believe it or not). And on the negative side, I get jealous of people, or need attention, and these feelings are just descendants of the insecure kid I was; am. All of these things resonate with a part of me that is still me, unchanging, from the earliest moments of my life.

So, no easy answer; some of both. But here's what I want to believe. To some extent, we create ourselves as people. We may be a certain way, deep down, immutable -- but only at the very deepest levels. Above that, the actions we take, the choices in our lives, the conscious decisions about who we want to be -- these matter. I nailed it, over a year ago -- the way we project ourselves eventually changes who we are at bottom, at all but the lowest levels. Reverse Nietzschean void-staring, I called it then; "growing into our projections," is another way I have thought about it.

And so the end of my favorite song lyric, of all time, becomes the last sententia, the major theme that maybe has run throughout every second of this journal: time passes, and it tells us what we're left with / we become the things we do.

If there's any motto worth taking from the past six years, it has to be that. There's little so empowering as knowing that the choices you make define you as a person, and not where you were born, or where you went to school, or what you do as a career, or how successful you are. If we are someone unchangeable, deep down, it is minimal enough to be more of a comfort than a hindrance: it is nice to have an anchor, as we shift and change and grow. And when I learn new things, and feel that kid who would be elated at figuring out a math problem, I'm going to embrace that just as much as the changes I've made.

And so, it's graduation eve -- technically, it's seventeen minutes into commencement day. I went to the grad ball, and I smiled, and danced with people (even a professor!) and then left early, because it's over. I choose it to be over, this whole part of my life. I want to make choices about who I am, and what I will do, and the way I will be. And I want this part of my life to be over, and to proceed unencumbered by all that past (excluding, of course, my amazing friends). So I leave the ball, skip the final reception, wait for my family to arrive, and feel very blessed to be able to choose this option, this closure.

So here's letting go of everything, and taking a day to celebrate an end that has been a long time coming, and one that I worked for so hard. One more post from me. See you on the flip side.
 
 
Brawi
21 May 2009 @ 03:54 pm
So, when I decided to close the journal, I immediately knew that there would have to be a post like this -- that the point was never to leave any of my friends behind, and I would have to make accommodations. For better or worse, there's a lot of you that this is the main method of communication to me. It has been very convenient, and I might not have been as close to you as I am now without it, and that's great. But, because I am so prolific in posting, I have often felt like the information flow has been one-way: with almost no exceptions, you know more about what is going on in my life than I do about yours, and that makes me sad.

Here is what I want you to do. Keep in touch with me. My e-mail is mcbrawi at the gmail.com, and no matter what address I move to, I will make sure that address follows me. That's my address on Google Talk, and my AIM screenname is MCBrawi. I'm on Facebook -- if we aren't friends, let's do that (get at me if you need my full name, but putting my e-mail into Facebook should work). And if we see each other in IRC, I plan to be increasing my presence there, too.

I hope this can be a chance to strengthen friendships, rather than lose them.

Please never hesitate to e-mail me. I would love to be one of those people that trades long e-mails, or letters, with people. If you read a good book, or something happens that makes you think of me, or you just want to say hi -- please do so. I want to hear from you, I want to keep this going -- each of you. Even if it's just an occasional "hi" on Facebook or AIM -- that's great.

I promise to try to keep up my end. I've met up with people for a beer that I've only ever spoken to for ten minutes, so I follow through on these sorts of things. If I'm in your city, you'll get a message from me, provided I still know where to send one. And if you're ever in Boston -- or, soon, Chicago -- there's always a friendly face for you there, I promise. I will probably keep reading your blogs for a week or two; I can't lie to myself about that. But my eventual goal is to withdraw from this particular medium.

This applies to all of you in varying degrees. Some of you I'll see a few days after shutting this sucker down; some of you I will talk to online the same night. Some of us are friends so old that it doesn't really matter if we don't talk too often -- these things hold.

Some of you, these things may be less true -- and it's you guys I hope feel comfortable sending me an e-mail to keep it going.

I thought about adding something about the people who I am inevitably going to lose in doing this, but I think I will refrain: first, it's too sad; second, nothing is inevitable.

So anyway. Please keep in touch -- no matter how much we've talked on here, or in the past. I've got at least one more post in the hopper for tonight, and then there will be one final post Saturday or Sunday, covering graduation and the end.

And I'm sure I'll cover this more at the end, and though I'm trying not to be too cheesy, it needs to be said: thank you, so much. For commenting, for reading, for caring -- for your advice and your support and your presence. For being invested in me -- something I never even though to ask for, but came to really appreciate. I've treasured this space, and it's because of you that I could. I won't forget that.
 
 
Brawi
21 May 2009 @ 01:05 am
I have always had trouble leaving the party. There are people who can detect when the tide is turning; when it is time to go. In situations like firm life, or law school, there is just a moment when entropy takes over; when it is clearly time to leave. After that point, you don't leave on top. "RUN.", I commanded myself, as a summer associate. But the lesson applies more broadly, more sententiously: know when the tide turns, and leave before it does.

My social duties are finished. The ball was OK, even though wanted to leave the moment I arrived. Old friends, new friends, professors, people I have half-fallen in love with, everyone: all in an outdoor-type area, drinking from tiny glasses and decked out in their finest clothes. It was too much. I could spend a hundred journal entries unpacking it, trying to figure out what happened. But I don't have that, nor should I: it is what it is.

And so I left, with protestations of "so early?" and "already?" following me out the door.

Let me tell you, some of the things in this journal are logical outcroppings of issues I had. When I say "be your own man," it's important, but not surprising. But there are some things I come up with in the course of the past six years that surprise me, and this is one of them: there is something undervalued and important in knowing when to leave. And yet, it's nothing really new: in fact, it's a recent sententia. For someone who abandons people, lives, journals, so often -- it seems like a vital skill to have. It's just so important, this sense of timing.

And so, off to bed, to wake up on Thursday: graduation eve.
 
 
 
Brawi
20 May 2009 @ 07:08 pm
I cracked the BarBri books today, beginning the two-month process that should presumably end with taking and passing the bar exam. My first topic, appropriately, was Torts: my most-hated 1L year subject. Time heals all wounds, but echoes of Torts's misery still ring here, when I think about it. I got a 62% taking the test cold; a 88% when I took the Criminal Law quiz. Both not a bad starting point -- but proof that, even in life after law school, Torts is going to be haunting me. Ah well.

In preparation for the ball, I went to the mall and bought a cheap tie that is probably too ugly to wear anywhere, but is at least black and white: the theme of the night. In addition, I picked up a maroon tie to wear for graduation on Friday in 45 hours. At the cheapo sunglass shack, I grabbed two cheap pairs of sunglasses, then picked up some boxes. At the same time that I am acquiring all this shit, I need to start moving it. I'm sending boxes of it home with my parents.

So I sit on the roofdeck at Cityside, drinking a beer, telling next year's bar review chairs how to keep this school the social place that it is, and I think of Solzhenitsyn: "Own nothing! Possess nothing! Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people." Sententious: in my sense of the word, and not the dictionary's.

The last sententia(e) will come tomorrow, as well as the "here's how we should keep in touch" post. Friday is graduation, and I imagine I will be busy enough that I won't be able to make a final post. So either Saturday or Sunday will be the last post, covering Friday's events. And that, as they say, will be that.

Time to get my zebra tie on and head for the ball. Actually, I'm in a surprisingly happy mood: so close to the end, so close.
 
 
Brawi
19 May 2009 @ 10:59 pm
All that "paddle your own canoe" stuff in the last post being said, I gave the speech to about five people last night -- the "let's stay in touch in life after law school" speech. Maybe they don't know, but this is a big deal for me. All of you are, of course, invited to life after law school, but outside of this space, I am planning on doing a lot of leaving behind. And even though everything in that post is correct -- I'm a loner, I need to plan around that, I need to put that centrally -- the fact remains that there is a lot of good in other people; that I have been happy branching out, mostly. The whole extroversion experiment over the past few years has been successful in that I value my relationships with other people, so long as I am careful about the way they are arranged in my head. Everything in its proper place. It can be done.

I got my last grade -- sealing my fate, as this was officially my most mediocre semester of law school. It doesn't matter. I was so out of gas, there was no fixing it anyway. And I still did fine. Even better, as I mentioned, BC's main graduation was yesterday. So even though I don't have a graduation ceremony until Friday, I am officially Brawi, J.D.:



Neat.

At the grad picnic today, my favorite professor sat down next to me, the same as it was at the Dean's picnic nearly three years ago. Except this time, I knew her, and she talked to me about her family, and my job, and tried to get me to ask out a fellow classmate. I'm really jaded about law school lately, but given a little distance, I'm going to realize how great BC has been. As far as law schools go, there couldn't have been a better fit. So perfect, even, given my random selection of the school in application season, that it smacks of providence.

I replied to agnjdevil's post in that linked thread with "Boston College sticks out in my head more as the better school, I dunno why!" It is so funny, the tiny moments around which lives pivot. So much would have been different had I not applied to BC. My life would be barely recognizable. To some extent, I have the life I always wanted based on a whim. Maybe I would have had it otherwise; but it is troubling enough to say "maybe not." Providence, as I say. Is there a sententia there? It's something like trust yourself, or follow your heart, or have confidence in your decisions, but it's all so cliché. Maybe Confucius, in a quote I have kicked around for a few years: wherever you go, go with all your heart.

Tomorrow is the grad ball, the last real event of senior week. The week hasn't been very celebratory among my friends and me. People just want to be done, and it feels more like it is just drawing it out. Celebrations, maybe, but still law school for two more days: albeit its dying breaths.
 
 
Brawi
19 May 2009 @ 01:05 am
So much of this journal has been about my relationships with other people. I made a conscious experiment to put lonerdom on the shelf; to give it a go. I've saved this sententia; and it seems only when I am drunk and certain that I make vague, sweeping statements in direction.

But no more. The sweeping statements are right. I don't want to be weak. I don't want to rely on people. I don't want to live within the four corners that encircle these walls.

And so, yes. I embrace it. The motto that was the theme of this journal for years: love many, trust few, but always paddle your own canoe.

I have felt so good about having people around me. Where I was introverted and suspicious, I became trusting and reliant. At the bar crawl tonight, I did the toast: I said the congrats and the farewells and the goodbyes. I never would have, before. I have come a long way.

At the same time, I am co-dependent. I rely, I become buffeted, I become too impressed. Over and over and over. And when I feel like fortifying, I feel like I am maybe betraying something. That I am giving up. But I shouldn't feel that way. I should feel strong and dedicated.

So what is the middle? Honestly, and I say this after six years of experimenting: there is none. You have to choose what you are at the middle. Are you your own man? I am a rock, each man is an island, all you have is yourself, etc. Or do you rely, do you lean on me, we all get by with a little help from our friends, etc.

I believe in middle grounds; I agree with the difficult path. But not here. There is no middle: you pick one of those. You declare a side. You draw a line in the sand. You are a certain way.

me? I'm a loner. I'm on my own. I would rather sacrifice everything than freedom: love, friendship, reliance, comfort, everything. And I know there is maybe sadness and regret and surrender in that, but I don't care. I will paddle my own canoe, from here, until the end.

So no more. I'm my own man, from here until the end. And I mean that, ad infinitum, and without regret, and whole-heartedly. Be your own man, be your own man, be your own man.
 
 
Brawi
18 May 2009 @ 12:24 am
I appreciate the consternation in the last post re: the end of the LJ. But I've never doubted it: even though there is a lot of good going on here, it is still time for the end, and so, we march on toward it. Wednesday, or maybe Thursday, I plan to make a post about transitions; about keeping in touch. I have high hopes for that, and I hope you do, too. The point was never to move beyond any of you; that's a tragic possible side effect of something that I gotta do.

I skipped Mass today like the pagan I am, and attempted to get my life together. There's been a lot about religion on this blog through the years. I used to worry that I would become the stereotypical "lapsed Catholic," but that clearly has not come to pass. Transcendence is very important to me, and I am lucky enough that my religion gives me a glimpse of that now and then. There's ritual and beauty and timelessness in it, and it has been an incalculable blessing to wander into any church, all around the world, and find it there, waiting for me. Part of the impetus behind starting this blog was to have that very element of a place that was untouchable; that was permanent. It's nice to have that exist in the world. It's something I will always take with me, something that will remain very central. I feel very lucky for that.

I'll take my sententia from Aurelius, a simple line that I have loved for over five years. "Care for other human beings. Follow God." That's the kind of easy, distilled marching order that I can both get behind and inspires; the reason I started with the sententiae in the first place.

Since BC's graduation is tomorrow, I technically become Brawi, J.D. tomorrow afternoon, even though the law school commencement isn't until Friday. Unbelievable. After so long, that's it. Two letters after my name for 15 years of work. It is so simple and uncomplicated; there is nothing bitter with the sweet: it feels absolutely wonderful. I can't fit it inside my head completely, or I don't know what I would do. I worked so hard, and it is finally, finally here. There's no understating how great that is.

Tomorrow is the pub crawl, my last organized event at BC. It's been quite a year of event planning, but I am glad it's over. The whole law school experience has become a party at 5:00 a.m. I like everyone well enough, but it's time to spend some time apart. No humans should spend as much time together as we have. It has felt too much like high school to me; something I never wanted to relive.

I am very content. All I wanted was to get to this point, and I am starting to realize I am here. I mean that both in the "about to graduate law school" sense, and the "becoming the person I want to be," sense. It's not the perfect bow-wrapped ending that I envisioned, but it's something even better. I'm at a cognizable end point; I can see that a new life is waiting -- and that shouldn't be undervalued. It's only when things are truly over that you can move on. It's only then you can see who you are and what you've done. "To make an end is to make a beginning," as T.S. Eliot says, and if you don't mind a second sententia today. We take endings for granted, I think -- a real, solid ending is a rare thing.

And so I grocery shop, and clean the apartment, and look over my bar studying materials, and watch basketball, and read a little, and life is just normal. I'm finally Ishmael instead of Ahab, as I aspired to be in another five-year-plus-old post. I feel lucky to have decided to be monomaniacal and striving and just generally intent for a quarter of my life, and still feel like I am able to come back to being normal and content and happy. Ironically, it's Hale that did it, probably, along with religion and good friends.
 
 
Brawi
16 May 2009 @ 06:13 pm
I wrote the preceding post half in the bag; I'm not sure what the "seven final topics" I wanted to discuss were. Ha.

Like ex-convicts stumbling from the prison gates, my law student class has stepped blinking into freedom. The result is a massive amount of parties. "We're done" parties give way to senior week parties, senior week parties give way to pre-graduation parties, eventually there will be post-graduation parties, I'm quite sure. I prefer this constant revelry to the constant studying -- and I have no guilt about it, because I have earned it -- but it is still somewhat tiring.

My grades came back, and this officially is my most mediocre semester of law school. I suppose that it shouldn't be any other way. Seeing as how I was just praying to pass Trusts & Estates, I can't complain. My last grades, ever. Ha.

I went out for hours last night, from party to party. I ended up stopping at the 1Ls victory party with a few friends, but I immediately left them: I can't stomach being around them. Unlike last year's 1L class, they remind me so much of what I was like as a 1L. It feels so weird to be around them; I feel so old. I don't want them to see me, I want to get out of their way.

I want things to be different after law school; after graduation, I want things to change. They're going to. I won't see people as much, I will be doing my bar classes and just living a normal life. Less bars, different people, just something more normal. I've spent ten, fifteen years struggling to get to point x. I just want to live a quiet, normal, semi-solitary life for a little while; I can't do it anymore, nor do I want to. I just want to walk away. There is both a Battlestar Galactica and a Lord of the Rings analogy here, but I'll leave them to you.

Today's sententia is from one of my favorite songs: "if we don't make it, nothing changes." When I was younger, I thought the lyric was about perseverance: a sort of "you have to get through, or it's all for nothing" motto. That's in there, I'm sure, but it's also about forcing your life to change; about bending the world around you; about agency. I've found, in moving from city to city, from life to life, that you choose what to change. You choose the people around you, the things you do, the way you see the world. I've dumped people, schools, cities, and entire lives all for the name of changing, and though I regret nothing, it's an important skill to be able to make these changes writ small; more surgically.

The impetus for ending the blog I'll probably consider more fully in a few days, but it was mostly that I wanted to catalyze some sort of change, and I wanted to work on the "urge to broadcast" thing. What I didn't expect is the feeling that it is probably time. I cite back to these old posts and I realize that there is not much left to be said. The fact that I can always cite back to an earlier entry just shows that over nearly six years, I have pretty much painted an accurate picture of how I respond to things and about the major things I think about. It's just sort of complete, and I think I'm starting to just do harm by adding to it. It was never meant to be a daily log. It was meant to be a manifesto, of sorts, or a snapshot, and it's done both.

Now, I am going to ignore the part of me that feels like doing something, get some thai food, and watch TV, to close out the last full week of the Brawiblog.
 
 
 
Brawi
16 May 2009 @ 01:41 am
My exodus from Boston was successful. I fled to upstate New York for a few days, and it was perfect. There was whiskey and warm weather and friends, and it was great.

Honestly, I can't make the post I need to make. I don't know when this blog's last post is. It's either a week from today, or a couple days after, chronicling the week-from-today point. I graduate from law school in under 7 days. Unbelievable, I never supposed it would come.

I got three grades today, I somehow managed to do better in Crim Pro than Trusts & Estates. Hilar, but who cares. Nothing matters, and only a few days are left, in any case. I could tie with 1L year for my worst. semester. ever. But we'll see. Most importantly, one grade stands in between me and the end of my academic career. Unreal.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I owe you a post, then. I have seven topics in my head, sort of, and I want to make them work.

No more. I am moving on. I am going to grow above this, too. I am up, and up, and up.

I am going to make this work. Up, and up, and up, and up.
 
 
Brawi
13 May 2009 @ 10:28 am
For having only nine days left in blogdom, I sure have failed at updating.

I've been in Auburn for a couple days after my post-finals exodus from Boston, and I'm not sure it'll really sink in that I'm done until I get back to Boston. I am vaguely happy on a superficial level to not have to spend 10 hours a day studying, but that's just finals: I'm not sure my mind has wrapped itself around the idea that it is finally over; that this thing that was so awful for most of it and that I could never conceive of finishing is, well, finished.

In any case, it was good to flee to Auburn; a little time away means a lot of perspective, even if it's just spent sitting around with these guys and drinking whiskey on the porch. And the drive to here and back...man. I went through the leatherstocking region at sunset and it was unreal.

Staying here for another day, going to a friend's b-day, and then back in Boston Friday for the last week. Yikes. Right now, I need Tim Hortons coffee in my life.
 
 
Brawi
11 May 2009 @ 03:31 pm
At 1:03p.m., I uploaded my Criminal Procedure final into the ether, where it floats off to follow the 15 that I sent off before it over the past three years. With that, my last law school requirements are over. The point I put on my calendar a month into 1L year, nearly three years ago, has arrived. I'm done.

"The third year, they bore you to death." That's the maxim for this year, so they say. True enough: without the fear, and without having to worry about jobs, law school lost most of its bite. I skipped class and studied less, and yet, did better academically. (We'll see if that trend continues to this semester; I suspect it will not). I blew of class for Europe, for basketball, for nothing. Either because of actual jadedness of some vague idea that I needed to take vengeance for 1L Brad, I was totally contemptuous of everything connected to academia.

But it's over. I managed to drum up just the amount of motivation necessary to finish the job. Law school is like a marathon, except you have to sprint for the first third of it, and are forced to crawl the rest of the way. I don't exactly think I stuck the landing, if you'll excused the mixed metaphor, I more likely faceplanted into the mat. But it's over, finally over.

In any case. I'm sure I'll have more to say when it really sinks in. Right now, I am exhausted, and I'm finishing some stuff around here and then bolting to ozmavul and aemongalatea's place, where I will hide out like some refugee.

Even though I am exhausted, I hold to the tradition, because, sententia, you should celebrate the wins when you get them. Just like 1L and 2L year: VICTORY. Dance Locke, dance!
 
 
Brawi
11 May 2009 @ 10:38 am
Oh my God. I just turned in my last paper. I'm 2/3 done with the Crim Pro exam. It's going to happen. I am actually going to finish law school. HOLY SHIT.
 
 
Brawi
10 May 2009 @ 04:50 pm
The opening line to my Contracts book -- the first book I opened in law school, written by our Professor -- was a quote from a Robert Frost poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I look at this now and just shake my head. Clearly, our Professor was alluding to the promises we would be examining in Contracts, but the rest of the quote is what I remember more keenly; what fits closer to the following three years.

I only vaguely conceived of the miles that would separate me from this day -- physical miles from here to Chicago, to other states, to Europe. Miles for interviews and jobs and finding the right Panera to hunker down in finals. Miles between here and Michigan, over and over -- Eli will hit 20,000 miles this week, in his second year. And mental miles, from a terrified 22 year old to the half-jaded but definitely wiser near-25 year old here today. Miles of "paper" written out on this journal and other journals. A more abstract idea of feeling like I have more miles on me than I did before. And the temporal miles...I feel like a decade has gone by. Miles, and miles, and miles.

In a couple minutes, I will download my 24 hour Criminal Procedure takehome: my last law school requirement. It's all going to be over in 24 hours. I have inches to go before I sleep.
 
 
 
Brawi
Once or twice, I've mentioned the to-do list in the journal. Here is the last one; my very last academic tasks, complete in less than 48 hours:



Star Trek was fantastic; on aesthetic levels downward to more personal ones. I don't know a lot about the original series, or the show in general. But I do know about (1) angst and (2) being your own man, and there was a lot of each floating in there. Worthy of an icon, anyway -- the last icon?

My two prevailing feelings lately have been complete opposites. On the one hand, self-destruction. I keep making idiotic decisions, daring the universe to snatch victory away from me at -- almost literally -- the last minute.

But there is also a theme here, less noticed, percolating. A sort of psychological manifestation of Newton's Third Law: as self-destructive Brad continues his rampage, other Brad is present, equally and oppositely reacting. The more I attempt to ruin things, the more there is this feeling that something is going to rise up, and I am going to stop it. The more hopeless I feel about the whole thing, the more conscious I become of this other person that is ready to take over the mess. My actions demand intervention; I require amicus Bradae; my self-destructive tendencies humbly request mandamus.

Rocketing down Route 9 this evening on the way back from the movie, as the infuriatingly uninvited Massachusetts rain came down, it started to hit me: other Brad is winning, this experiment is over, I am abandoning something. I have to pull back from people; I have to learn to be strong and happy alone. I've all but said it: I am done with this experiment, wonderful as it was. I don't want co-dependence and vulnerability. I want strength, self-reliance, and actualization.

The upshot is, despite the tone of the last few entries, I don't think this all ends on a cynical or defeated note. On the contrary: it ends with me pretty sure about the kind of person I want to be. It ends with me knowing where to stand.
 
 
Brawi
09 May 2009 @ 01:37 am
It's funny; I wanted these last few weeks of the journal to be nostalgic, synthesizing, cathartic. Instead, stuff has become catastrophic all around. Among others, I have compared law school and or the past three years to all of the following over the past week: a tunnel, a plane crash, that marathon where the guy falls down, Ganon, elementary school, a zombie hoard, a song from the Gladiator soundtrack, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Some of these metaphors are better than others; I like Ganon right now, personally.

I won't even go into the latest self-destructive endeavors. Just know that they have redoubled.

Sometimes, I feel self-preservation Brad popping up, and I think, this is it: he's gonna take over, and it's gonna be like waves breaking over the rocks, or Meteor smashing into Holy and the Lifestream. Video game analogies: they are where it is at, lately. But with everything disastrous all around me, I feel it like a presence: I am going to get through this.

I have been suspicious about my desire to leave, to change my life, to totally throw everything out and start anew every three or four years. To some extent, that is unhealthy, and not OK. But there's something behind it about making a change when you're unsatisfied; about continuously attempting renewal. There is value in it, even if it is overblown and overreacting and eventually untenable. So there it is: sometimes, what you need is a drastic change in circumstances.

And so I plan to close the journal, I decide to leave here for a few days on Monday, I set my IM to "invisible," I refuse to join "we'll be in Boston this summer!!" groups on Facebook. I will find ways to make life new, even if it is here in Boston.

I feel like law school's last, dying gasp was this trick: I let my guard down too early. It feinted, I relaxed, and then POW! It gave one last blast of Awful; no defenses, no dodging, just full-on. And I just feel worn down and beaten and destroyed, even though I'm so close to being done. I wholly underestimated how bad this process could be, over and over again. When I see 1Ls, or people considering applying, I just want to shake them: you little bastards better be sure, because if you're half as perceptive as I am, this will be one of the worst things you ever do.

Still. The process marches on. Two things left to do, and I will be done with law school. For all the terribleness and all the waiting, it has come down to this: two more days, and I will be free.
 
 
Brawi
07 May 2009 @ 01:03 am
It is Exam Eve. Specifically: it is the last Exam Eve. I still have a paper to complete, and a take-home, but tomorrow is my last honest-to-God, sit-down, bite nails, eat powerbar, wear rosary, coma afterward, law school exam.

I am so happy to be done with this process. Such a huge part of the Awful was bound up in them. They were originally terrible on two fronts: first, because they are a three-hour chance to prove what you have learned in four months, and the sole valuation of your grade. That is a lot of pressure; it does people in. Second, they are just miserable experiences. They are long, and complicated, and difficult, and stressful. The first prong faded long ago, but I don't want to understate it's import: it may be the most objectively terrible thing about law school.

I didn't hear a word of Employment Law this semester. I learned it all over the past 3 days. I was thinking today, about what they say about the first year of law school: that it teaches you to think like a lawyer. I thought that was sentimental nonsense, but it is true. My brain is now set up to receive law. I can learn any body of law in just a few days, by reading case after case. It is bizarre. There is something jarring about having the way you think rearranged; small wonder the first year is unpleasant.

Anyway. I learned it all, or tried, while sitting with a friend drinking a Miller Lite, and that's very 3L. And I'll do OK or better, and that will be the end of law school exams. I've said it before, but I really mean it now: mirabile fucking dictu.

Self-preservation Brad has finally began to make apperances, no longer content to simply step in during exams. I have decided I am going to get out of here this weekend, after I finish my final paper. I don't know where I'll go; maybe to visit ozmavul and aemongalatea if they'll have me. But I can't finish this and then wake up here the next day; I need a change of scenery, even if it's arbitrary.

And that's the sententia: don't underestimate the value of arbitrariness. There's a lot of worth in just choosing to do things because you can, or you feel like you should. Some of the most important things to me have been things that might not have the most objective meaning, but still.

I don't really have a lot left to give, but there's not a lot left to do, either. Here's hoping the line stays above the x-axis. And with a nod to possibly the worst of all exam eves: bring it, Employment Law.
 
 
Brawi
03 May 2009 @ 10:05 pm
Sententia: Psalm 118:8.

So true, so true. What a mess.
 
 
Brawi
02 May 2009 @ 09:54 pm
Today, after pulling myself out of bed far too late (see self-destructive tendencies) I made it to the library, where I sat, all day, working on my Church & State paper -- my last paper, ever.

I sat with a few friends, and we ended up looking at pictures from 1L year -- one of which I posted on Facebook. Someone said to me, "they look older, but these two years have been hardest on you." It's true. I look so much older. I try to figure out what it is, but I can't really tell. I wore myself out, and it shows, a little. I guess it's OK. I still look young for my age; I can bear a few stress-years here and there.

1Ls are in the library studying for Civ Pro, laughing nervously, looking harried. You poor, poor bastards.

For dinner, I went to a thai place with a friend of mine, and we talked about law school being over. I am tired of seeing the same people every day, whether I know them because they interest me or I don't like them. I just am sick of the same relationships playing out, over and over. Law school is a skipping record.

When I got home, a friend had invited me to a group she created on facebook -- "students studying for the bar in Boston." I immediately declined the invite. I refuse to continue this; it stops here. When I leave this place, I am not going to try to recreate the same group of people. I want to go back to normality, where if you want to see your friends, you call them, instead of run into them because you do all the same things. I want some distance. I won't pretend I'm still in law school -- perish the thought.

Sententia today comes from one of my favorite songs: it's so hard to do, and so easy to say - but sometimes, you just have to walk away.

Someone tried to convince me that nothing changes after next Friday. To some extent, the cynical part of me believes this. I stay in Boston, I am still doing law stuff, the same people are all here. But no, it's a lie, even if I pretend to believe it. Everything changes.