plane-1Illustrated by Minji Reem

As I look back on the last three years (!) of my life, one thing sticks out above all. It isn’t the classes, free pizza, happy hours, or journal work, although all that stuff was cool too. What I’ll always remember and cherish are the friendships I’ve made here. The truth is, I didn’t expect it to be so easy. For a 1L, CLS can be an intimidating place: the subject matter in class is alien, and the students are accomplished, driven, and hyper-intelligent. I didn’t expect nastiness, but I figured law school would be more about stone-faced hard work and the pursuit of success than making new friends. Besides, I had plenty of other friends in the city, so I knew I’d be okay even if law school was all work. Now, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without the people with whom I’ve grown close here.

I met some of the people I now hold among my closest friends in my first few days at CLS. Some I met even before arriving and some I didn’t know until later. Over the course of our time here we’ve learned a lot about the world and discovered things about ourselves that we didn’t know. Some of us have fallen in love and some have gotten married. We’ve all grown immeasurably. I know that I’ve personally changed a lot over these three years. I came to Columbia as a quiet, reserved young man. I’d never had trouble making friends, but I’d also never seen myself as charismatic or as a leader. It was only because of encouragement from my new friends that I ran for Student Senate and found a new confidence, and for that I’ll always be thankful. Now, looking back at law school and forward to a new and challenging career, I don’t feel sad or nostalgic. I feel excited. We’ve accomplished a lot together, and I know that whatever the future holds, we’ll continue to have each other’s backs. Thanks for being awesome, CLS, and I’ll catch you on the flip.