Graduation is tomorrow.
If I had any doubts about it, mother’s arrival today confirmed it.
Tomorrow adorned in a gown covering a dress I suffered to find, in the company of people who love me, I will raise up earlier than usual and go sit in a tent for a ceremony that just involves reading my name.
I hope the sun stops for me.
I had a brilliant idea of sharing my story of law school.
Then it occurred to me that sharing my friends’ stories is an even more brilliant idea.
I asked, many agreed, few proceeded to write and even fewer were chosen.
So for the past few weeks leading up to 7th July, I have been sharing their stories.
Why their stories?
The idea was to capture the journey of a few of us in law school and publish it on my blog.
It was inspired by the conversations I had throughout our last semester, which for some reason felt very weird
A lot of my friends did not consider it an achievement to have finished this chapter of their lives especially because of the horror stories we have had over the years about the bar course, that is if you even pass the pre-entry exam to get in.
I wanted to change that, maybe just to have company in the “excitement lane” or to have content for my blog. The plan was to challenge them to count their blessings and what better way than writing about the journey, the milestones, low moments, lessons and everything in between.
This is Atim’s story. It’s the last of them. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did sharing them.
Meet Atim Esther Mercy Hadassah. The Girl friend in God. Gangsta in the gospel. Head of the naturista cult. Fashion designer in another life. Photographer in another one. Chief Planner. Creative Director. Always ready for a picture. My school person. Cell Leader. Queen of the thrift market. Slayer. Drama Queen’s side kick. Let’s me judge her.
Today my piece will appear in THE Komusana’s blog. Mama, I made it!. I made it!.
Hello Komusana’s people.
My name is Atim Esther Mercy. If you don’t know me or do not follow my blog, then you haven’t heard the good news yet. Let me break it to you: “Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, children of the most High God (pronounced GHAAD) this girl is graduating from law school tomorrow. Can someone join me in ululation!” Thank you.Thank you.
So her royal highness Komusana asked me to tell my law school story ages ago (covers face).
I thought that all I needed to do was grab my phone, jog my memory and write away. Well, we had a plot twist…it was a flop. I didn’t know what to write about and how exactly to write it, but thankfully, now I do, and that’s what matters. No? So, stick around here and read one girl child’s story to empowerment and emancipation! Hahaha. I’m kidding. I meant to say stick around here and read my law school story.
Law school for me is the closest I’ve had to a story literally unfolding before my eyes. I’ve watched a story begin, take shape, and begin to Unfold. I’m excited about telling my story and I decided to be a celebrity about this and actually do a question and answer kind of thing instead of making it one llloonnggg story. Today, you are my water hyacinth. Get ready to be circumnavigated. Let’s roll!
HOW DID YOU END UP AT UCU. WAS IT YOUR FIRST CHOICE?
Ucu was my first and only choice. I did not apply to join any other university. Yes, I belong to the 1% Ugandan students (my own statistics) who don’t think MUK is the only place to be in.
How did I end up there? I somehow got to know about it, and liked everything I got to learn about it. So I chose it, applied, sat for the pre-entry exam and passed.
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST DAY IN A LAW CLASS?
Hehehe. If I were answering this question orally, this would be the part where I clap my hands, throw them onto my head and say “Who sent me to look for this kind of trouble! Was law the only course I could think of doing!” Lol. That’s how my first day in a law class was, and this continued for pretty much the entire first semester of my first year. It was just one rollercoaster of confusion! I learnt close to nothing, and forgot almost everything. I didn’t understand nothing and I was pretty nonchalant about it.
First of all, for my very first lecture, I thought I was in Stream A instead of B, so I missed all B’s lectures for that day, then I didn’t want to go through the whole process of heading to stream B, getting a new timetable, meeting other new people, etc. So I absconded from class and went back like on Friday. Lol.
WERE YOUR EXCITED TO BE IN LAW SCHOOL?
Yyyeessss!. Yes! I was very excited. This was because I really wanted to do law, it was my first choice course and I chose to do it without anybody telling me whether I should or shouldn’t do it. So being in law school was one of my dreams come true, so yeah, that was exciting.
HAS THE EXCITEMENT STAYED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT THE YEARS? IF NOT, WHAT CHANGED?
Well, I’m not going to lie that it was just a never ending cycle of excitement, neither am I going to say I’m not excited about law and being a lawyer anymore. The thing is, just like everything else beautiful in life, the excitement comes with a BANG, until you get the hang of it, chill around long enough to experience the hurdles that come with it, then the excitement starts to wear down, and then there are moments that remind you of why you are actually there, moments that give you reason to be happy that you chose to be where you are. So I had my moments…moments of difficult course units, moments of complex exams, moments of too much work on my plate, moments of failure even when I put in my very best foot forward, moments of uncertainty of the future career-wise, etc. I had those moments, and they were not exciting. But when the moment is gone, and the happy ones are back, I’m excited and happy that I’m in law school, and that one-day I’ll be a lawyer.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HIGHEST AND LOWEST POINT?
My absolute highest will be 7th July when I will be graduating and also September this year, when I’ll be joining the Law Development Center for the bar course (by God’s grace). For now, that will be academic achievement to me. However, I’ve had a few highs, for example when I found Course units that were not as difficult as others, those semesters when results came back and I had over and above the marks I had wanted to have. Those were my highs.
Lowest, was my first year, first semester when I hands down FAILED a course unit. It was the first time I was experiencing something I would acknowledge to be academic failure or even pretty much failure that really meant something significant, so it stung me too bad! Boy! the lessons this one failure taught me!.
HAS THE ACADEMY OF LIFE TAUGHT YOU ANYTHING THROUGHOUT THE FOUR YEARS?
Wow! This should have been a topic for an individual blog post. Haha.
Anyway, yes, it has. What is an experience if it doesn’t come jam packed with lessons?! Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
1. Don’t forget to live. Life doesn’t start and end with the law or being a lawyer. Before you are a lawyer, you are a person. Do people things.
2. Run your own race. I can’t emphasize this enough. In law school, it’s easy to be taken up by the academic picture painted by some people that you may be tempted to run a race you don’t even know how to start, another comes crashing, because crashing always happens.
3. Believe in your self. This is my biggest lesson!. God knows I got through some very tough course units by believing I can do them and putting my beliefs to work.
4. Girl, please sit down and read your books. Yes, you are smart and intelligent but you know life would be much easier if you just read!.
5. Mind over matter. This phrase came ALIVE throughout my law school journey.
6. Some things are too overrated. School is one of them.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR?
Another individual blog post we have here. Hahah. I actually did a blog post about law school gratitude on my blog, so I’m just going to copy and paste what I’d written there. I’m grateful:
For the life lessons learned, both the easy and hard way.
For the failures and set backs that came with a greater measure of growth.
For the strangers that turned to friends and now sisters/squad.
Of all the food we could have eaten on her birthday. This is what she had us do.
For the course units that made law school easier, normal and fun (Hello Law and Christian Political Thought, Environmental Law, Clinical Legal Education, etc. I owe you).
For even the course units that convinced me that law school should be added to the crime of torture (Hello Equity and Trusts, Jurisprudence 1, etc). Boy! did these course units teach me total faith in God, hardwork, dedication and resilience.
For the unexpected twists and turns I encountered through out this journey. The negative gave me lessons, the positive gave me memories to cherish forever.
For all the non academic activities I indulged in. Thank you for keeping me sane and free from depression. This is where I say Hello Komusana thank you for being my friend who always has plot.
For very many other things I am too tired to remember.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS OR WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?
Regrets? Absolutely not! Would I have done anything differently? Yes. Academically, I would have mooted right from my first year. I mooted just once in fourth year, and this was because I was doing an elective where mooting was compulsory. After that first experience, I wished I had been doing this right from the start. It was 20 minutes of feeling and thinking like a lawyer in practice and it was one of my greatest feelings, second to the feeling I got after conducting my first cross examination exercise that we did for the same course unit. I think I should summarise it by saying “I should have been more intentional about making my experience of the course more practical than theoretical by being involved in whatever could make me achieve that.”.
For life in general, I would have lived it up alot more!. I only started to really live it up and enjoy myself in fourth year, which made me realise how much living it up I’d missed when I was so engrossed in whatever I was engrossed in.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ALL OF IT, DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE MEANT TO BE?
Yes. I am meant to be a lawyer. I know it. I feel it. I want it. I am meant to be a lawyer.
WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR FIRST YEAR SELF IN SEPTEMBER 2013?
1. Read hard.
2. Be involved.
3. Live it up!
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN AFTER SCHOOL?
Yyaasss. Generally, my after school plan for probably the next five years or so is basically career oriented. I pray it’s God’s plan for me too.
More specifically, I want to accomplish three things for now. Which are:
1. Get into Law Development Center
2. Get a masters degree.
3. Start my career.
Huh! The questions are done already. I was enjoying my few minutes of fame. Anyway, that’s my story. I’ve enjoyed writing this, I hope you will enjoy reading it.
Have a great day.
This picture, I just love, so why not?