HAPPY TURKEY WEEK EVERYONE!!! I’ve had to work the last few years on Thanksgiving, but HLS wouldn’t DARE step on the holiday – so I am off from Wednesday through Sunday. As we’ve been told 1000 times, this little break is supposed to be prime time for exam prep, but it doesn’t matter…I’m just happy to not be underground. (I do have a funny story about last year’s Thanksgiving but I’ll save that for next week!). Ben and I are staying in Boston, but going to a friend’s for the actual holiday – shout out to the Gunners for the invite. And I’m already two Friendsgivings deep into Thanksgiving szn 2k19. So much food, everywhere – I couldn’t be happier 🍗🥐🍠🥧
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this post is dedicated to ten things I’m endlessly thankful for. Of course, I could list literally hundreds – as the kids say, I am #blessed 🙏(And I just wrote about a few specific organizations just two weeks ago, check it out here: https://rileyv.com/index.php/2019/11/11/alphabet-soup/. So I’ll contain this list to things DIRECTLY relating to themes of this blog – Harvard Law, the Air Force, and (of course!) Legally Blonde itself.
A quick disclaimer: they’re not in any particular order but I figured I’d count down for dramatic effect. Plus, who doesn’t love a countdown? (NEW YEAR’S EVE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!!!!)
10. Friendsgivings with my school friends. I had one at school with the entire section (about forty people actually showed up, it was amazing) and one at a friend’s apartment, with a cozy group of eight. Of course, like any group with a common experience, we ended up talking law school – but in a nice, commiserating sort of way. At Harvard we don’t say “I love you”…we say “yea, I didn’t understand/read/brief/sleep either.” It’s beautiful ❤
9. Nice computers. I finally replaced my 2012, undergrad computer and the difference has changed my life. Even Ben (a big ole computer snob) says he likes my Lenovo’s screen and keyboard! Plus, I’m about to download some obscure exam software and I’m confident I won’t have any problems. If you’re looking for a new computer and don’t want to pay a ton for it, I highly recommend Lenovo (Not an ad. I wish.)
8. Sharpie highlighters. No seriously, hear me out…I started the semester with freaking BIC brite-liners and three. of them. have dried. up. I am NOT a compulsive over-highlighter, so this was really not okay. Plus, there’s just something demoralizing about a dying highlighter…if my tools can’t even make it, how am I supposed to make it? Ugh. Sharpie 4-ever.
7. My little desk set-up. Being on campus can be very stressful, just because everyone there is STRESSED AS HECK AT ALL TIMES (it literally leaks out of the walls, I swear). People always say “I never see you after class!” and I say yes, for good reason! I just love being home and at my desk – I’ve come to associate it with quiet and concentration, and I do my best work sitting there for hours at a time.
6. *to the Batman theme song* coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee CO-FFEEEEE! ☕☕ I really don’t need to say more, but I WILL say that I’ve made a ton of progress in my journey from Mocha City to Plain Old Joe. I can say with confidence that I’ll never be a straight-black-coffee-drinker, but I used to need more milk and sugar than coffee. NO MORE!
5. Professors who made us do their last few classes (which were scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving) BEFORE Thanksgiving instead. Now, don’t get me wrong – those “make-up classes” were stressful as heck at the time, because they basically a) doubled our reading load and b) took up every Friday afternoon in November. But now that I’m done with my semester THIS Tuesday instead of NEXT Tuesday…I am beyond thankful.
4. Also, professors who care about you as more than just a law student. I’m done with three of five classes (simply because they were Thurs/Fri classes and we’re out of those) and each professor gave us some solid advice or praise at the end. My Legislation & Regulation professor – the most bada** firm Partner & former something-law at the White House – got choked up saying we were great, and couldn’t read her prepared end-of-semester spiel. Our Contracts prof (who has been teaching for a million years and clearly is over the choked-up phase) gave us a wonderful “test” for meaning in our lives moving forward, and I want to talk about that more at the end.
3. Boston bus drivers. Number 74 & 78 specifically. I take the bus to and from school every day, and they are ALWAYS give me the biggest smile, ask how I’m doing, and tell me to have a good day. Sometimes, that really IS the highlight!
2. This freaking BLOG. This week I was on the verge of an absolute meltdown when I couldn’t handle studying for one more second…and then I thought, I’ll use this time to work on the blog. It is so fun to write, it’s NEVER a waste of time, and it truly maintains my sense of self and sanity. But, at the end of the day, I owe that all to…
1.5 Legally Blonde Quotes. And, like today, a healthy smattering of Mean Girls lines. (Butter is, unfortunately, a carb…doesn’t mean I’ll stop eating it) Okay but ALSO I owe it to
1. YOU GUYS!!!! I really have gotten so much love and support over this thing that it blows my mind. I didn’t start with the intention of reaching millions, and just the fact that ANYONE reads it every week is absolutely bananas. One of my old track coaches used last week’s article in a high school class, for pete’s sake! I LOVE THAT!!!! So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading the rambling and reminding me that there IS life & love outside Harvard 💕
That about wraps it up, but really quickly, I want to talk about the Todd Test. My Contracts Professor presented this in the last ten minutes of his final class and needless to say, I was teary. (if you forgot Todd, he’s pictured below). He said there are two types of things people are after: stuff and meaning. As Harvard Law grads, he said, you guys are set with “stuff” – but stuff is NOT meaning. He urged us to find a purpose, to give meaning to both our work and our lives outside work, and to always, ALWAYS balance the two. To do that, he said, go through life asking yourself these two questions:
- When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you feel? Is it dread about having to go to work, or is it a sense of drive, satisfaction or even excitement about seeing what the new day holds?
- When you have dinner at night…who are you eating with? Is it just yourself in the office? Is it with people you love? Or is it consistently shmoozing with clients?
If you fail either part of this test, he said, it’s time to make a change. And after waking up with a feeling of dread for three straight years, I couldn’t agree more. Life is just too short.
I hope you all have the BEST Thanksgiving with friends and family, and get the chance to reflect on the little things that make our lives so full. May your turkeys be flavorful, your green bean casserole crisp, and your pie perfectly warmed this holiday! 🦃