First semester of law school, more or less done. Well, done with classes, there’s three finals to get through before I can say I’m entirely done with the first semester. My goal, which I’m haphazardly meeting, is to make it through law school without losing my sense of self. Fortunately, not being on or near the campus helps with that, and also I recalled my favorite Rudyard Kipling story, “The Cat That Walked By Himself.”
When I came across that story as a child, the Cat’s attitude struck me as the mantra I should live by: I wanted to be secure enough with myself such that wherever I went, all places would be alike for me. It didn’t matter that Man and Dogs would beset the Cat, and I internalized that to understand that people, by virtue of being people, were not always going to like me. Haters gonna hate, after all.
Their opinions of me didn’t matter, though. That alone has helped me get by through tough times, not necessarily because I believed things would get better, but rather I knew I was doing what mattered to me. Like the Cat, I valued my liberty and ability to get through life by finding my own path more than following the one I was being funneled towards by society. I avoided the pitfalls of conforming to stereotypes because I could channel away my anxiety at being in a new situation where I didn’t know what I was doing by reminding myself that all places ought to be alike for me.
There is something immensely freeing in knowing that you can be comfortable anywhere, because you know nothing about a setting will fundamentally change you. While it’s difficult to feel at home in a new situation, I know I can circumvent my fear by being happy as a clam in my own skin. Dressed up or down, at home or out, who I am doesn’t change, and that inner confidence I’ve cultivated is what will hopefully get me through the next three years.