The Footnotes in your Life: A Special Guest Blog for our Graduates! Congratulations!!

Those of us in Student Affairs want to take a moment to wish the BU Law Class of 2013 all the best!!  When we set out to write this post, we quickly realized that the words of your own classmate might be a little bit more poignant.   Therefore, we are pleased to welcome 2013 graduate Joshua Talicska as a guest blogger!  His thoughtful post captures much of what we hope you will take from BU Law as you embark on your latest adventures.  Indeed, we can only hope that the faculty, staff and administration at BU Law will have a small footnote in your life story, as you are all footnotes in ours.


Dean Marx, Jill Collins, Brenda Hernandez and Kelly Sullivan

“The Footnotes in Your Life” by Joshua Talicska

Three years have passed since we walked through the doors of Boston University School of Law as eager first-year students. Three years.

Class of 2013, I would like you to think back to the first few weeks of the second semester; to before we began writing our briefs for the Esdaile Moot Court program, and to the plagiarism presentation we attended in light thereof. Whether it was Professor Volk or Dean Marx, we were reminded again and again that the School of Law defines plagiarism as “the use, without adequate attribution, of the ideas, expressions, or work, of another.”

Do. Not. Plagiarize. Three simple words; one simple idea. Drop footnotes. Use quotations. Attribute. Attribute. Attribute. And although citations and footnoting may have been the bane of our existence for the past three years…what a great theme for our graduation.

For many of us, graduating from law school is the biggest achievement—at least, to date—in our lives. But none of us did it on our own. Whether it was emotional or, perhaps, monetary support from family or friends; a heart-to-heart conversation with a professor; a free cup of coffee courtesy of the Dean; or just an unexpected act of kindness from
a classmate or complete stranger; each and every one of us was helped along the way.

Each and every one of us is seated here today because of the contributions others have made to our lives—likely the very individuals seated in the audience watching
this ceremony; the very individuals seated behind me. But recognizing that we are stand today upon the shoulders of others in no way detracts from our accomplishment—from our graduating from law school.

We did the readings. We wrote the papers. We are graduating from law school. We did it. But we did it with the help of others.

Footnote those contributions. To do otherwise would be to take credit for, to appropriate, without attribution, the work of others. Attribute your success. Footnote those who have helped you along the way.

Wherever we go, whatever we do, I urge each of you to remember the footnotes in your life. To take the kindness and support others have shown you and pay-it-forward.

Call your parents on Sunday nights, just to talk; just to ask about their week. Stop and give directions to a stranger on the sidewalk instead of shouldering past. Offer to drive a friend to the airport; to help them move. Take on a pro bono case; take on two. Do some good. I am not asking that you save the world. Little acts of kindness. Little acts of kindness can make all the difference.

Class of 2013, however busy we are; however busy we get; however often we complain that there is just not enough time in the day; the one thing we should not cut from our schedules is our making the time to assist those in need—to lend a helping hand; a shoulder to cry on; an ear for listening. Others did it for us. It’s our turn to pay-it-forward.

Be mindful of the footnotes in your life.

Thank you and congratulations!

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