It’s all about the race
The more of this semester I get through, the more I’m convinced that law school, or at least the first year, is just one big endurance test, or race. It doesn’t necessarily seem to be about what you know but about who will last the longest. Here is a bit of whimsy from a brain overloaded by contracts.
You start off a little rusty, then you get the hang of things and think you’re going to make it. But then an incline appears out of nowhere and before you know it, you’re out of breath. All of a sudden, you realize this isn’t a simple road race but one filled with obstacles, mudslides, fried computers, and a kajillion twists and unexpected turns. Signs keep telling you that you’re doing great, that you’re almost there, but you find clues and hints here and there to indicate that you’ve still got a long way to go.
You realize that the other runners aren’t necessarily more athletic than you, though some are, but that many are better prepared. Perhaps they’ve figured out what stretches and strengthening exercises they needed to do before this whole thing began. Maybe they began training a long time ago, listened to podcasts, bought the right shoes, or hired a coach. You learn you’re not the worst runner, but you aren’t sure how to keep up with the others who’ve figured this whole game out, or at least act like they have.
So you train, every day. You make sacrifices by forgetting to sleep, to shower, to buy groceries, and remembering to take breaks. When you do sleep, you dream about the race. When you meet with friends, all you can think about is what you should be doing instead. You let it consume you and take over your life. You become part of a fraternal order that is both bound by shared experience and stretched by fierce competition. You’re not sure which of your siblings will give you the wrong directions and which will share their water with you when you’re at your lowest point. Some will remain silent and go it alone – you don’t know what to expect from them. The hardest question to answer is what type of sibling are you? What will you do when decision time comes?
You pause only when your body can’t take it anymore. Or when you realize that there is more to life than just this race. Or, more likely, when you realize that you are simply exhausted and have perhaps exaggerated how bad it really is.
You decide to reengage with friends, family, the outside world. You pick up the news to find out what you’ve missed. You let other people help you and you do your best to thank them.
You smile at the person who is always there for you – who calms you down after every breakdown and moment of panic. None of this would be possible without him and his promise to always smile back. He reminds you that you love the race and assures you that he’ll always be there to welcome you home.
You retie your shoes, focus on the path directly in front, and get back to running.
It’s a part of who you are now.