Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On anticipation ...

I laid awake staring at the ceiling. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I checked the clock ... nope. Not time. I would roll over, trying very hard to think of something so that I wouldn't be tempted to get out of bed. When you're seven it's not OK to turn on the TV and make yourself a bowl of cereal at 2 a.m. Usually thinking about my new backpack or the neatly packaged pencils in my Lisa Frank box was enough to bring a new wave of giddiness and I was back to looking at the clock. The night before school started was infinitely more testing than the night before Christmas.

I am a nerd. I love school. As a child I would lay awake thinking about recess and math time and reading time with endless glee. As a teenager I would picture the outfit hanging in my closet over and over again -- each time coming up with a new improvement or finding some social flaw in my choice, but ultimately pulling it on the next morning with the satisfaction it was the best that six hours of sleepless analyzing could come up with. And then there was college! I couldn't wait to get back to my roommates, setting up in a new apartment, journalism classes, and freedom. I still smile when I pass that last curve in the canyon and Logan comes into view. It feels like I'm coming home.

School starts again on Thursday. But this doesn't feel like school. It feels like lawyer boot camp and I don't want to go back. My husband and I discussed our schedules for the week while driving last night. I got to the part about school starting on Thursday. "I'll be done at 4 p.m.," I said. And then there was a silence. "I don't want to go." More silence. My husband looked over at me, wondering if everything was OK. It wasn't. I was crying like a scared three-year-old approaching preschool for the first time. "It's hard. I can't do it. I don't want to go." Even I knew how pathetic I sounded. I didn't care. The last two weeks have been delicious and all I could think about was every golden thing in my life slipping back into the dark-paneled walls of the third floor of the law building. I feel like I'm drowning and school hasn't even begun. I'm already behind on reading, I've already failed miserably at school-life balance at least twice this week while just preparing to go back, and I have no honest idea of whether or not my loans will come through in time to pay for tuition.

Buck up, I thought. It's just school. No it's not, I retorted to myself. This isn't just school. This is school with bullies and a curve and no validation and no recess and no .... You sound like an idiot, I responded. Whine, whine, whine. Do you honestly think anyone cares that you think law school is hard? Or that they have absolutely ANY sympathy? You signed yourself up. You're a grownup. And grownups do hard things.

My inner three-year-old just whimpered defiantly.

So when I woke up this morning with a desire to organize my binder and set aside some things to put on my carrel, I saw that as a good sign. Maybe I'll even start picking out an outfit and go buy some new highlighters or pens. Because I really do love school ... even when I'm three.


Genavee said...

I wish there was something I could do to help, but all I can do is validate. Law school is unlike any other school I've ever done and it can be horrible and draining.

I wish I could promise it will get better for you, but I can say that 100% of the people I know were much happier 2L year that 1L. The classes are less scary and often smaller. It's generally more comfortable and less competitive. It's still law school, still scary, but it has nothing on 1L.

Good luck!

Emilie said...

I was going to say (even before I got to the end of the post) that you should go and walk through the school supply aisle of Walmart or Target or something. It'll make you feel better. If you do go, let me know if they still sell Lisa Frank stationery in the kids section. I loved that stuff as a kid.

Although I know nothing about law school, I can only assume the second year will be better. If nothing else, you know your way around now and have an idea of what to expect — at least much more than you did last year. And there will be new first years to laugh at, right? :)

And. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE can we get together sometime? I will drive south. We can meet somewhere.

swillden said...

You could always take a semester off

K. Ray Johnson said...

Hang in there Brooke! And don't forget to consider the awesomeness of Cheese Night when you consider the pros and cons of law school.