Well here it is… the final post of this book. It’s amazing to think that around this time a year ago I started both law school and re-reading the HP series, and now I’ve finished the first three books. As we head into book four and my 2L year of law school I think it’s appropriate to take a moment to reflect on all the good things from this past year and my hopes for this upcoming year. This sort of follows how the book ends too: everyone looks forward to the next year coming as this one once again ends.
SO let’s start…
This past year:
Made it through orientation
Made new friends!
Became an Ambassador.
Found a the Student Organization (DUFLS) that fit my reasons for going to Law School
Mentored by some amazing people
Made it through finals (both semesters)
Went to NYC for christmas
Spent a month in Italy for school
Made it on the Water Law Review
Made it onto the National Executive Board for the Food Law Student Network
Became President of DU’s Food Law Society
Brought my GPA up
Accepted into CED clinic
It was quite the year, and looking back on it there were a lot of times I didn’t think I would make it, but here we are and damn we accomplished a lot!
And here’s what I hope to do this next year:
Raise more awareness around food deserts and food insecurities
Finish HP 4
Make an impact in the Community Economic Development Clinic
Make more connections in the legal field
Work on following my passions in empowering people to make a difference in their communities
Have fun and spend less time doubting myself
Face some more fears
Build a snowman
Find a kickass summer job
Visit friends in Reno and Las Vegas/ Visit family (anywhere)
Get more plants
Find somewhere to volunteer
They don’t seem like much, but I think they are fantastic small goals that are easily accomplished! For those of you who don’t know, this next school year I will be working as a student lawyer in our school’s legal Community Economic Development Clinic. This work helps small businesses and entrepreneurs set up their businesses and empowers them to work in their communities and make the impacts they want to see. I’m truly honored to have been accepted into this clinic and cannot wait to work alongside my peers with the clients we will receive. It is going to be an amazing year!
They say 2L year is the year they work you to death which can see daunting, but I know its going to be the best year yet and I cannot wait to see what’s in store… plus it’s one more year down which means one more year closer to getting out of the law school bubble and into the real world where stuff really matters.
On a different note from my last post, as I finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the same time summer comes to an end I want to take these last 3 chapters (2 blog posts) to sort of reflect on my summer. Now I had a pretty epic summer. I went to Italy, I earned 10 credits, I started to pull my GPA out of the hole I put it in first semester, I made some new friends and may have lost some old ones, but most importantly of all I found this incredible strength to keep moving forward and found that second chances are abundant.
I went into this summer a little stressed. Last fall when finals came around the stress monster started to take over. The result was a poor grade in a class I thought would be my highest grade and a truly low GPA. It’s hard to keep your head up when you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are truly brilliant and don’t seem to be struggling at all. So everything was now riding on the spring semester. During this time stress was constantly running high. I went to class and stress levels would skyrocket. I would go home to study and be stressed. Every choice, every decision, every interaction was nothing but stressful. So as finals wrapped up and I packed my stuff up to head out to Italy, I couldn’t shake the stress.
Now I enjoyed Italy, it was a great experience, full of life and laughter and plenty of pasta. Yet, I was stressed the entire time. Between my own anxiety and dealing with other people’s anxiety over grades, being in a foreign country, reading assignments, law review write-ons and more I couldn’t help but feel anxious every day. I wanted to be chill. I wanted to just lay on the beach every day without a care in the world, but I couldn’t.
When I got back from Italy, the stress of finals, an externship, a part-time job and dealing with friend issues all got to be too much. I felt like I was on the brink of losing it. I wanted to cry everyday. Things that were perfectly fine to be upset about on a micro level, exploded all over the place. Hiking mountains resulted in tears, dealing with an actual crisis resulted in bigger problems to deal with later. Everything felt like it was spiraling. Nothing felt safe. Nothing felt okay. Everything felt like another boulder being added to my bag to carry.
And then something changed.
IN these two chapters the gang heads back towards the castle with Peter in tow. But as the night unfolds, Lupin turns into a werewolf, Peter gets away, Sirius is injured and almost has his soul sucked out by dementors (alongside Harry), Sirius is taken into captivity again, Hermione and Dumbledore let harry in on a secret, Hermione and Harry go back in time to save Buckbeak and Sirius and rush back so no one knows they have messed with the way things unfold.
One of the key moments in this chapter, something that gives Harry strength is when Sirius asks Harry to live with him instead of the Durselys. Of course all hope of this is lost when Peter gets away, but in the moment, when Harry needs to save himself, Hermione and Sirius from the Dementor’s Kiss, that moment gives him the power to conjure one of the strongest Patronus charms anyone has ever seen out of Harry’s age group.
For me, this summer that strength has come in a few spread out moments. One of them was when I decided to take back my life from my anxiety, to become independent again and head back to living on my own. Another moment came from raising my GPA back up to a 3.0. Another moment was getting word that I wouldn’t be losing my scholarship and last but not least it has been in getting grades back form my summer classes. At the end of the day I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.
When you have a mental disorder such as depression or anxiety, it threatens to constantly consume your entire life. People define you by it, they tell you things like “oh, it’s just your anxiety”, “Oh you must be on the track towards a depressed state.” And you do it towards yourself. You start to make excuses for the way you act when you are actually upset about how you’ve been treated or the circumstances at hand. You start to apologize for ever getting upset about something that you should actually be upset about. You change the way you act, you change the way you speak, you change so much about yourself to fit into this anxious role you now only see yourself starring in.
Choosing to no longer live this way: the best damn decision one can make. It’s a second chance, a way to change your own life. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing this second year of law school. Don’t get me wrong, law school is a great place for people, it’s just not my actual favorite place. It’s competitive, it’s a horse and pony show for those who need ego boosts, it’s unforgiving at times, it’s difficult to navigate. But in the end it’s rewarding in reflecting to you who you are and then showing you who you truly want to be.
Sirius Black was made out to be a murderer, then actually almost became one, then almost died and then was brought back into custody to be killed and then was given a second chance at life with Hermione and Harry’s rescue. Sure, he now goes on the run, but he’s been given a chance to no longer live int he role of a murderer seeking revenge. Getting to start a new school year feels similar. We are no longer stuck in the sections we were assigned, we get a chance to pick our classes, meet new people and step out of our comfort zones. We get the chance to start anew, to start fresh, to explore more of who we are as compared to who we thought we were.
Looking back on this summer I was able to truly connect with a side of me I no longer really knew. I was able to step back and see what I wanted, explore who I wanted to be and appreciate who I already am. And we will now wait and see who I become this next year, this fresh start of a school year… the 2L year.
We’ve got one more post to wrap this book today… so stay tuned.