plane-5Illustrated by Minji Reem

Anyone who has met me knows that I bleed blue. I went to Columbia College and come from a Columbia family. I’ve been going to homecoming for as long as I can remember and there are pictures of me with a Columbia pennant above my crib.

Having been exposed to Columbia and told what an amazing institution it is for years, I came into my freshman year of college with high expectations. I expected that college would be my time to become an adult, figure out exactly what I want to do, and transform into a better version of myself. I spent my college years volunteering, making friends, and trying different jobs in an attempt to find where my passions lied. But while I had a great experience, I didn’t feel particularly transformed when I graduated from college.

On a quest for this transformative experience, I entered law school at Columbia, but this time, with very low expectations. Unlike college, I had heard that law school was going to be competitive, difficult, and generally not fun. I was told to expect late nights, ridiculous amounts of reading, and to not worry if I didn’t make lifelong friends like I did in college.

So imagine my surprise when I met the 2015 class on the first day of orientation! The brilliant, thoughtful, and generous people I met at CLS, professors and students alike, have had a profound impact on me. Over the past three years, we have studied together, worked together, cried together, and laughed together. Through my experiences with the 2015 class, I’ve learned from my classmates how to think deeper, write better, work harder, and to never take myself too seriously. Iron sharpens iron.

Law school was transformative for me, intellectually, ideologically, and spiritually. I entered CLS as a young Latina with a boyfriend, dreams, and vague plans. I am now graduating with a husband, a vision, goals, and lifelong friends. The weird toaster that is Jerome Greene Hall has been formative to my identity as a lawyer and as an adult because it housed my amazing classmates. Twenty years from now, whether we’re practicing law or not, the memories we have made and the relationships that we have forged will still be strong. I will forever remember CLS as the institution that gave me the opportunity, space, and safety to strive, fail, succeed, and struggle – one that opened up new worlds and new paths for me to explore. It forced me to reflect on my beliefs, my way of thinking and operating, and my direction in life. And most importantly, it is the place that introduced me to some of my best friends and my fellow lawyers-in-arms.