by Sarah Pinikahana
How does four years seem like a lifetime ago now? Just four years, the number seems so small in comparison to how much I’ve grown since walking into university what seems like so long ago.
Now as a fourth year, the corridors finally seem to make sense. Four years of walking into the university’s big ornate buildings passing by antique photographs showcasing the school’s history and never really giving a thought to the hordes of students who came before. Never thinking about the lives and stories that have filled the halls and lecture theatres for years past.
Four years, and I am not going to lie, I’m probably not going to miss it. No, I’m not going to gush over memories that can’t be made anymore, because the truth is, law school was a massive drainer.
Finishing law school reminds me of sitting in my last biology tutoring class in high school and all of the girls, and a few of the more tender boys, tearing up at the finality of it all. Most of us were friends and our tutor was a nice guy, but it was hardly the end of the world. I remember sitting there all class wondering if the sadness would hit me before I left and then witnessing this river of emotion and thinking to myself, “is nobody a little happy this is over?”
So call me heartless, but rose-tinted glasses don’t tend to get in the way when it comes to academia for me. Maybe this is because academia has always been a bit of a struggle for me, maybe it’s that I can’t easily forget feelings of lament or hardship, or maybe it’s just that I actually like going outside instead of simply staring outside through a second-storey library window. Whatever it is, if I had the choice over, I’d probably not have gone into law.
But I am a hopeless optimist, so I always try to find a message or reason for things, even if there doesn’t need to be one.
Recently I came to the conclusion that while I will not miss the thrilling teachings of the founding fathers and why they thought it’d be okay to exclude entire races from the Constitution, what I do already miss, however, is my old state of mind.
Before the career planning and the midnight reflections of “why am I even doing this anymore?” took over. I miss when a good group of people, a nice tune and a slightly too cheap bottle of wine was the remedy to my blues.
I miss actually thinking my boss couldn’t tell how wretched I felt at work after a night out, and I miss the unimportance of everything that seemed to matter back then.
Maybe that’s what university has become, maybe it’s what it always was: a stop-gap between adolescence and everything you want from your future. A sort of intermission, where there’s plenty of alcohol and more than a few bad decisions but also a lot of learning.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if any of you soon-to-be graduates or just university students in general are reading this, know that the clichéd “you’ll miss it when it’s over” is probably only true for some.
University is not easy, but it is also not the worst thing in the world. I wish I had all the answers and that I could tell you that everything was going to work out and that the struggle will be worth it, but I can’t know that. Unfortunately, they didn’t teach me that.
I can only tell you that I’m still figuring it out too, and I might be full of it, but my hope is that everything is connected and everything matters. While I don’t know how things will pan out for you, I hope when you reflect, you figure out a way to join all of your own dots and that it makes a lot more sense than law school ever did for me.