Reflection is something you should do, I’m told. Especially after the first 258 hours of life in law school. Here’s a go at it.
If you’ve ever seen (500) Days of Summer (which I haven’t, of course—knowing what you’re talking about is an overrated experience), you would know (I hear) that whenever the leading lady, Summer Finn, appears in the movie, there is always some trace of blue in the shot—whether it’s her headband, her skirt, or a random balloon in the background, where there’s Summer, there’s blue. It made her stand out. It made her shine. (Slow clap for the director on this—he must have studied well.)
The movie, like the blue-clad, thick banged Miss Finn, manages to be quirky and cute and cruel and heartbreaking all at the same time—I won’t go into further detail on this for fear of ruining the movie for myself. But as hard as it is for the audience to watch the 500-day romance unfold (just watching the trailer will give you a taste of this), it is Tom, the man who loves this bedeviled unicorn of a woman, who suffers the most. Never is this clearer than when we see his expectations play out side-by-side with his reality (I have seen this part of the movie…it gives reality a bad name.)
So how does comparing this young male’s hoped-for and actual existence help us? It provides us with a test we can copy. If our reality is better than what we expected, we’re doing well, if not, readjustment is in order. I’ve given myself the test and hopefully have come out ahead of Tom¬—way, way, way ahead. Let’s go.
Expectations of HLS (c. September 1, 2013): Bricks, books, moss, and loafers. August professors sporting pince-nez frames and speaking in slightly British accents. Joking (on the last one). This is the picture we’ve had in our minds of Harvard from back when we were playing with Giga Pets and eating from Pez dispensers to the first time we actually visited—it is straight from the movies, and if you squint, it’s here. There is certainly brick. There is a lot of concrete as well—hello, Wasserstein! There are more books than you can fathom, half of which I carry to and from campus every Thursday (yay, schedule!), and there is greenery—though most of it seems to be grass and shrubbery. I have yet to spot moss. Loafers exist, I am sure, but there are also more than a few pairs of sneakers and sandals. There are beloved once-one-color-now-another t-shirts on comeback tours from high school senior week, there are yarmulkes and dashikis, cardigans, crosses, hijabs and bangles, turquoise and jade. There are bearded and shaven chins, makeup-laden and less-so faces, and jeans everywhere—tight and loose. There are bandeau dresses and men’s v-necks, hoops and pearls. And while I’m still looking around for that pair of “Léon: The Professional” sunglasses, I’m sure they’re here too.
What matters is, there are a lot of people. And we’re all in each other’s care. The only thing scary about 1L (apart from finals, of course) is the judgment of the people in our sections. So, let’s be kind to each other. Let’s praise each other when we do well and forget about it when we don’t. And let’s stay who we are—and what we’ve been—from the soles of our loafers to the scoop of our high school tees. It’s the best way to make sure our next 500 days will be better than Tom’s.