An Unexpected Journey

“Welcome to the Class of 2017!” the tinny voice emanating from my phone was exclaiming.  I was barely listening.  My brain was still stuck on the first part of the message, the part where the woman leaving this congratulatory message had said that she was from the United States’ (and maybe the world’s) second best law school.

“Mom, I got into Harvard,” I said out loud, although I was not yet sure that it was true.  Did I mishear the name of the school?  The caller did have a Boston area code and the woman on my voicemail was definitely welcoming me to something, so this wasn’t a rejection or a wait list call, but my synapses were not firing all that well.  I definitely could have misheard.

It has been seven months since I sat in my kitchen repeatedly playing the voicemail from Harvard, and I’m still not entirely convinced that I got in.  More than one well-meaning person has offered their congratulations, only to be treated by a blank stare.*

I had applied to Harvard before, for undergrad, because it was just something you did, if you had the either the audacity or arrogance to think that because you had a piece of paper with a bunch of As on it you were an exceptional person (and if you were foolish enough to think that Harvard and similarly elite schools have a monopoly on bestowing exceptionality).   Of course, I was no more impressive than the hundreds of thousands of students with decent grades in high schools around the United States, and I was summarily, and unsurprisingly, rejected.

This time around, I wasn’t planning on applying to Harvard at all.  A combination of realism (read: pessimism), visceral anti-elitism, and a quickly shrinking bank account made the $80 application fee seem like a bad investment.  When I was persuaded to take the risk, I sent in my Harvard application hopelessly and thoughtlessly, minor typos and all.

Yet, somehow, there was that voicemail on my phone from Harvard’s Office of J.D. Admissions, followed by a barrage of supportive messages from friends and acquaintances and strangers.**  And somehow, seven months later, I am preparing to move to Boston, with an apartment lease in my name and a Harvard Law email account.

On the days when I believe that this is really happening, I cannot wait.  I am beyond excited to begin this new, unexpected journey.  And I am excited for you to come along on this journey with me.  After all, if you know me in real life, you are part of the reason that I am here.  And if you stumbled across this blog virtually, then hopefully you can learn from my journey as you prepare to set out on your own.

Welcome, all of you, to Harvard Law’s Class of 2017.  It’s time to pass beyond the Crimson Veil.


*I sincerely apologize if this has happened to you.  For future reference, please specify what you are congratulating me for; otherwise I will forget that I did anything.

** FYI, you’re all awesome.


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