Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goodbye Lubbock, Hello World!

Three years ago, I was an entering first-year student at Texas Tech School of Law in Lubbock, Texas. I weighed over 300-lbs. I was introverted and unsure of myself.

Upon moving into my new apartment, I was disheartened to find that I was situated on the third floor of a run-down, smelly piece of property. The rent was only $260, all bills paid and fully-furnished, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for. When I walked in my efficiency studio, I was greeted with the smell of mothballs! I don't know who invented mothballs, but I for one would rather be infested with moths than have to endure such a foul stench!

Here I was 400 miles away from home, lonely and depressed. School hadn't even started and already my mind was plagued with doubts. Was moving a smart thing to do? Was law school meant for me? I must have spent that first week crying my eyes out! I called my friends back home nearly every day. "I made a big mistake," I lamented.

My time in Lubbock was tedious and difficult. Not that law school is difficult - the workload is actually not that bad. It's just that I didn't enjoy the material. I got no joy out of studying contract law or civil procedure.

I met some terrible people in Lubbock, too. If you've been to law school, you know that the classes are filled with liars, backstabbers, and the most heinous gossips you could ever encounter. I lost several would-be friends to their prejudices, racism, and spitefulness.

Fortunately, I also met some wonderful people who got me through the rough patches. Without them, I don't think I would have kept my sanity. In them, I found companionship. I found a confidant - someone who shared my interests in the arts and with whom I could share dreams and secrets.

Maybe law school really was a mistake. It's certainly possible that I will live to regret my decision to go. Now that I have finished my three years in Lubbock, I can't say for sure whether, if I could go back in time, I would do it again. A part of me wishes I had had the guts to drop out my first year. But, fear and pride kept me going.

But, in a way, I am glad I didn't quit. Because then I never would have met my friends. And I never would have discovered my love of running. I mentioned that when I moved to law school, I weighed about 300 lbs. Although I started losing weight the summer before I moved to Lubbock, I started running seriously while I was in Lubbock.

Every night after class, I would go for a run at the track around the Student Rec Center. As the stars twinkled in the night sky, I exorcised all that pain, confusion, and frustration. Before long, I was dropping weight and found myself signing up for my first marathon, and a week later, my first 50-mile ultramarathon.

Auguste Rodin wrote that "nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." Law school taught me that there is no difficult situation that I can't endure. I will endure it. And in the process, I will pull out from it any and every benefit I can. I have learned to have a sense of humor in all situations, especially the worst of the worst. I have learned to smile and make the best of a shitty set of circumstances. I have learned to make do with the bad and be grateful for the good. I have learned to be wary of bad people and to treasure an honest friend. And I have learned that I am stronger than I think.

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