The Incredible Journey (With Less Sally Fields)

I always forget to start at the beginning. I quickly found as a law student that explanations and conclusions are nothing without the force of the rule and precedent before the court. To that end, I’d like to take one small step back and introduce myself in a way that my first entry did not. My apologies for the long explanation, but I think it’s important to see that perhaps law school is all part of a journey.

I grew up on the beautiful water of Lake Ontario in upstate NY. I lived in a small town but I always dreamed of something bigger. I enjoyed the simple things like a youth soccer league, a competitive cross-country team, a blossoming children’s theatre, a Monday trivia hangout, and the best Texas-Hot Sauce north of the Mason-Dixie line. One of my more hilarious defining moments in elementary school marked me as someone different from my classmates. For Career Day, most of my class had picked to present about being a fireman, a nurse, and even a maid. I was a lawyer. I had my neat stack of papers with a full 15 minutes of commentary about why the legal profession are right for eight-year-old Brian. I had my sharp suit, my crisp white shirt, and my dad’s old briefcase. I was ready to tackle the world. And in third grade, one of my best friends introduced me to the magic of Boston through the lens of the Boston Red Sox. I knew Boston was the city for me. Though I flirted with the idea of being a professor in a small town (my hometown hosted a SUNY school), I was committed to my argumentative, analytical, and self-righteous ways. Until I took a Criminal Law elective in high school.

As part of this elective, we presented a Mock Trial from the evidence presented in the book “Fatal Vision,” based on the “real” story of Jeffrey MacDonald’s alleged murder of his wife and daughters. I got my first taste of cross examination when I was confronted with a hostile witness; yes, the babysitter would not admit any of the alleged evidence from the book (I questioned whether she read far enough into the 900+ page book). I pled with my teacher/judge to allow me to impeach the witness’s testimony, but I was out of luck and suffered one of the most humiliating grades in my young life. Yes, I failed.

I retreated from the law for a number of years, scarred and scared by the humiliating moment in that mock trial. I thought that I could be a neuroscientist, mastering the brain and all of its intricacies. After a stunning blow to my ego and heart in my freshman year of college, I decided that I could not pursue science after losing someone very dear to me. I was reminded of my glory days in high school, and I would be nothing without the wonderful teachers who helped me along the way. I transferred from Union College to SUNY Geneseo, and I pursued a degree in Secondary Education, English, and Theatre. I forgot about my youthful pursuits until my senior year, when I found myself stuck in another quandary; I felt bored after my student teaching. I was naturally very good, and this skill allowed me to be lazy, cut corners, and still manage to remain a very good teacher. Once again, I was drawn to the difficulty of the law.

So I chose to forego graduate school at Penn State, where I was accepted and expected to attend for Educational Leadership. I had spent the summer following graduation in Amherst, Massachusetts, working as a Resident Advisor for a high school pre-college program. I was reminded that life is nothing without taking the chances given to you; these young adolescents had ventured from all over the world for an opportunity to take college classes, out of their social, physical, and cultural comfort zones. Why shouldn’t I do the same? So I shipped off to Boston, found a teaching job south of Boston, and I began a life pursuing admission to law school and learning the fun in Boston. I joined a community theatre production of “Wizard of Oz,” studied for the LSAT, and began my winning streak of trivia appearances around Greater Boston.

I knew Boston University School of Law was my first choice for law school; it had everything I needed. In the spring 2010, I met some of my first BU Law students, and they quickly became some of my good friends because they were caring, smart, and fiercely motivated. Their compassion and dedication motivated me to work harder as I studied for the LSAT and applied to law school. I still remember the day I was accepted with a kind call from Admissions. I was teaching kindergarten at the time and I was in our break room and I listened to the voicemail, giving a loud “Whoopee!” and I twirled one of my coworkers around in a small dance. She was so confused because I didn’t offer an explanation at first and I just danced knowing that I was making one of my earliest dreams come true.

And the rest is what you call history. I’ve earned my place and shown friends and family that I truly belong in the legal community, and, most of all, at Boston University. More than that though, I think it’s important to reflect on your journey. As I may reflect in future entries, I changed my mind multiple times in what I wanted to pursue in law school and my career. That’s okay. Each change of heart and each moment of reflection was essential to get me to where I am today. Most of all, I won’t forget where I’ve come from. My humble and small beginnings, and the myriad of opportunities available to me at and after BU Law.

 

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