Visiting

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My mom was in town for a professional conference last week, so we decided to meet for dinner when she’d finished all her sessions one day. Since I got to my mom’s hotel about half an hour before mom finished her last session, I got brave and walked a couple blocks to one of the three local law schools.

It’s located near downtown, which is a little scary for me inasmuch as I’m terrible at driving in that area, but the pretty building and nice landscaping made it more acceptable. It is immediately noticeable that the campus tries to set itself apart from its urban surroundings. Whereas the rest of the neighborhood is (or at least seems to be) concrete and glass, the school has neatly manicured lawns and pretty gardening (as much as this can really be seen in March) .The green areas come off as though they’re trying a little too hard to be pretty to compensate for their scarcity, though they do help add a bit of charm to the otherwise grey environment of the campus.

Standing outside the building, I was intimidated. It’s nowhere near a top school (ranked nearly 150th), but it has the air of small-scale prestige.  A large glass front, while not seeming to be the front because it more or less faces the center of campus and not a street, gives a sense of modernity, which is tempered by beige stone that softens the appearance a bit. Still, it’s intimidating.

I stood in front of the doors for a few moments debating whether to run away, checking my clock every few seconds, hoping that I couldn’t go in because time wouldn’t let me and I’d need to get back to Mom’s hotel. No such luck. There was plenty of time and the doors were unlocked. So I walked in, pretending that I’m the sort of super awesome person who would never spit gum into a lawn or onto a sidewalk and so just needed the nearest trashcan to spit my old gum into and what do you know?! I just happened to be near the law school, so I’ll wander in here to spit out my gum, not to check out the place and risk being seen by someone who may question my presence.

I’m just not ready to answer that question in person (I rambled horribly the first time I was asked in person and even worse when asked online). I’m not prepared to risk being taken on a tour or to meet people who could decide my future. I feel like there’s a risk that someone I meet on campus could remember me (how?! I don’t know) when/if my application comes through and recall what a bumbling fool I was when I was creeping around campus.

I looked around to make sure there was no one around, saw a custodian who didn’t seem to care I was there, then spit out my gum in a trashcan by the door. I was there long enough before quickly walking out to see what I think was the back of the library and the front doors of the moot court room.

I have been very comfortable with public speaking since I started waitressing when I was 16 and then worked in classrooms for the next ten years. I have no fear of speaking in front of crowds, but that room could make me throw up. I didn’t even go in it. The doors were locked (I assume) and the lights were off, but I was intimidated. Very intimidated, and I’m not even sure why. The thought that I could be graded on how well I can think and speak in that space is frightening, but with a few years to contemplate it and most of a year/semester(?) to actually work on it, I’m sure I could be fine.

I got the feeling in my few moments on this campus that while it’s not prestigious, it is a place where I could succeed, even if its low rank means some of my goals might be harder to meet.

This local school was small but imposing, and everything I expected in the first-step-on-campus experience of a law school.

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