Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Last day of class

Today was my last day of law school class, ever. I knew it would be a good day when the guy sitting next to me on the subway this morning took out a sheaf of clean white papers and started sketching a guy standing nearby. He used a Sharpie, drafting quick dark lines as his eyes darted back and forth from the guy to his papers. I had been slogging through a dullish New Yorker article but quickly dropped any pretense of reading and just watched him sketch. When he decided he was finished, with a drawing of this random guy covering two sheets of paper, he turned to me to see what I thought, and I nodded appreciatively. Then he reshuffled his papers and started sketching the disheveled old man sitting across the way. "The mustache," he said loudly as he drew the man's mustache, causing him to look up from his newspaper at his portraitist. I wished him a good day and went to school.

In my first class, the professor had lunch for us and we talked about the class. It was her first semester teaching here, and she told us we were a great introduction to the school -- we were smart, energetic, and fun. No gunners among us. She sounded genuinely appreciative of being able to teach us (obviously this was a completely new idea to us), and at the end we all clapped and smiled warmly at ourselves. I thanked her for a great semester as I left, and although we shook hands, I swear that I think she almost went in for the hug. Almost.

My second class of the day -- my last class, ever -- was as mind-numbing as it's been all semester. Yet when the professor began wishing us well, and told us how he'd try to get us special treatment at the courthouse when they swear us in as attorneys in a few months, the class melted. It was like everyone sighed, and clucked, and were filled with a bizarre kind of warm, lawyerly love. Then, when he put a pile of his business cards on the table and invited us to stay in touch and let him know if we ever needed anything -- it happened again! The sighing, the clucking, the surging of good will. At the end of class, there was thunderous applause. I was amazed. This class was horrible! I wanted to yell. What are you people doing? "Loved you, hated your class," seemed to be the message.

I came home to find a jubilant L waiting on the steps to welcome me home after three long years of law school coursework. We went for a walk. I got myself a cupcake. I went for a really glorious run by the river. And now L's coming home, and we're going out to dinner with some new friends in a few minutes.

Classes are over, and although I have some finals to knock out, now I'm on my own time. I wore my Fordham Law t-shirt today, even though it fits weird (too short, sleeves too high, neck too wide) because I felt a surprising wave of nostalgia this morning. And it seemed like a number of people were rocking their Fordham gear today, which was nice to see. As the day progressed, as we all said our goodbyes and thank yous and looked back on one last semester of reading and lectures and talking and boredom and learning -- I began to feel happiness, and even some pride, after this seemingly endless sojourn up at Fordham.


Ashesh said...

Congratulations, Michael! Sorry that we missed your last day at Mahdrof Wal, but hopefully we can celebrate after exams.

Kim said...

Your story of your last class ever reminded me of the faculty speaker at my graduation. He shared a quote from one of his student's course evaluations:

"Professor E, if I was told I had only one day to live, I would want to spend it in your class.

Because it would feel like a year."