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The Melting Pot of Graduation

JD, Northern Illinois University College of Law

As graduation looms in the coming days, I am a melting pot of every sort of emotion. After going to school for twenty years and working my entire life to reach this one goal, I find that I am hours from achieving it and I do not know which emotion dominates.

Of course, one of the major that I am experiencing is joy and excitement. After twenty years, I have finally reached my goal. I have worked long and hard to get where I am today and my dream will finally be achieved! Not to mention, after twenty very long years of education, I no longer have to worry about finals, homework, essays, and everything else about education that can be incredibly tedious and exhausting. There are so many things that I have to be excited about that it can also be hard to contain myself.

While I am elated about my coming status as a lawyer, there is also a feeling of doubt that creeps into my mind. Will I be a good attorney? Will I be able to represent my clients to the best of my ability? Can I pass the upcoming bar examination? There are so many questions of doubt and wondering firing through my head that sometimes they seems to suppress my happiness. I keep trying to reassure myself that I have spent the last couple of years preparing myself for this career and that there is nothing stopping me from succeeding in it. However actual knowledge is a very different thing from understanding and practice.

Aside from the doubt that I am experiencing, the future seems to terrify me. For the last twenty years I have had my life planned out for me. High school, undergraduate, law school. It was just that simple for me. Now I have reached the point of my life where the future is uncertain for me. I do not have a job, I do not have money, I have a large amount of student loans from my education, and I have no idea where I am going to be living in three months. All of this has caused me to become incredibly anxious and has distracted me from studying for my last couple of finals and now the bar examination. As someone who has always had a plan for everything, I suddenly have no plan and that has me terrified.

Despite the fact that I have over a dozen emotions running through my mind every minute of the day as I approach graduation, there is no question in my mind that receiving my law degree is the single best thing that I have ever done in my life. Although there is so much uncertainty in my life as to my life after the bar examination, I know that everything will work out for the best. I will get a job in the legal field and my life will resume its normal course. Entering the real world is a scary prospect, but I know that I have an incredible advantage because I am armed with a juris doctorate and all of the knowledge that I have acquired in achieving that degree. Graduation will surely be one of the most meaningful days of my life and hopefully my fears and doubt will be abated so that I can truly enjoy the day for what it is, a celebration of my accomplishments. For every law student who has had trouble motivating themselves to do their readings, this is what it is all about.

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