Not sure if I have shared this on my blog.....but I am a HUGE Nascar fan. As I was watching the race last night in Darlington, I began to see the race as a metaphor for my law school journey. That's right, racing in circles, a few bumps on the way, and then a lap in victory lane.
I would be remiss not to share the speed bumps, or crashes that I experienced along the way. Each time something happened, I felt as if I had crashed and there was no getting back in the race. But that was through my humanistic, near sighted vision.
The first semester of law school sped along like a non-restrictor plate race, my engine was running, I was not to be stopped, and I was breaking all speed records. I loved this semester. I loved law school. And then, finals hit me........and it was like nothing I have ever experienced. My body just shut down with an upper respiratory infection. Yet, I still had to study, I still had to take those exams.....somehow I made it through and made some pretty darn good grades along with it. God's hand was on me, I have no doubt.
The second semester of my first year saw a personal tragedy. While I cannot go into specifics, something happened with my daughter that nearly tore me in two. I remember the specific day, three weeks into the semester. I walked around in a haze, stressed out, dealing with things I had never dealt with before. I was a raw mass of anger, of hurt, or deep sadness. I went to the law school dean, explained my situation because I was worried that I would violate the mandatory attendance policy. I was told maybe I should withdraw for the semester. But if I did that, I would have to wait another year, and that was no an option. The school was not supportive. Yet I continued to fight through with the help of an awesome pit crew....my friends and family. I still don't know how this semester was possible, but all I know is that God is faithful.
Second year, first semester was a stretch. There was still fall out from earlier in the year, add to that the fact that I was now working a stressful, emotional draining job, and it was a mix. Also, for some reason, I had drawn the ire of one of the paralegals who just flat out did not like me. But I chugged along until finals. The morning before my second finals, I bent over to tie my shoes and felt a pop in my back....I began to scream and I passed out. My daughter called my mom, who came and took me to the doctor. Verdict? I had put my back out. I took four finals high on vicodin. I don't remember these finals at all, but I did make it.
Second year, second semester was full of highs and lows. I welcomed my first niece into the world, the second week of classes! I was there she was born, and held her to me [ironically the room overlooked my law school campus]. But the stress was coming..........personal tragedy came knocking again. I had to turn someone I loved into CPS for failure to protect. This tore me absolutely apart. I thought I was going crazy. I couldn't focus, I cried, I had a hard time focusing on work or school. Things were awful. I felt like my car had been struck at 180 mph, everything had burst into flames, and I was in the fall out. But looking back, it was but another speed bump in the path to victory.
Third year, first semester chugged along. This time though, I knew that personally school was getting to me. I became depressed. And work became awful. I was working in an enviornment where awful things were said about me, and no one could stop this woman. This effected me on every single level of my life. My confidence was taking a beating. Yet good things were happening too.......the judge I appeared in front of loved me, and was vocal about how good I was. My big boss loved me. It wasn't all bad, but the bad was hard and sometimes I felt like giving up. On top of this, the CPS issues of the semester before still loomed large. When finals came, I ended up with an upper respiratory infection again. But I made it through.
Third year, last semester was probably the easiest.....nothing at this point would stop me. The end was in sight, and as I turned the fourth corner, I could see the finish line. My issues were internal. Senioritis had hit, and my sister moved away with my little niece. I was in a funk, it was hard, but not nearly as hard as the five times before. And there was the knowledge that this was the last time I would ever have to feel this way again.
Each struggle I faced was tough. Sometimes I wanted to give up, to lay down and wave the white flag. I would curl in a ball and cry. In those times my family and friends would crowd around me, holding me up, and supporting me through it. I am here today because of these great people, and because of the grace and strength of God. I am a stronger person today then I was then. I know that I can face down unspeakable situations and make it through. These were tough times, but the victory now is only sweeter for them.