Friday, September 18, 2009

Four Weeks In

Wrapping up my fourth week of school today . . . It's strange to think that I've only been back in school for four weeks. The double-scheduled meetings, the 30-pound case books, the journal editing, the classes, the paper writing, the relentless and often frustrating interviewing, the pressure to somehow retain some form of a social life, the competition, the tutoring . . . it all sort of makes four weeks seem like something much different.

And all of the pressure and anxiety lately has only made me think more about how different life was just a few months ago, hanging out on the streets in Moscow, comfortable, and relatively care-free. Every once in a while I get this flash-back of Kimberly, Acia, and I walking down this narrow street through the thick trees and concrete 20 story apartment complexes just outside of our office building. We've just finished work for the day and we have hours and hours of sunlight in a gorgeous, vibrant city. The possibilities are endless. We walk fast to get to metro because we have about 80 things we're trying to cram into our evening and we want to be able to do them all. Kimberly and I are teasing Acia about all the Russian boys we're going to find for her. She blushes and tells us in her cute Slavic accent to leave her alone. Eventually our conversation turns to vafly, which we've already eaten once or twice during the day. We pass the cheese roll stand where I buy my breakfast just after getting out of the metro every morning. And while that scene happened day-in, day-out for weeks, I never got tired of how happy I felt. I was somewhere that I really loved, experiencing something that I really loved.

Now my life looks quite a bit different. It's not really better or worse, just different. Amid all the stress, I get to be with great friends with whom I share the opportunity to get an invaluable education. It comes at a cost of course; all good things do. Most of the time I'm convinced that I love it despite all the aspects that sometimes aren't so lovable. Sometimes I have to convince myself to love those not so lovable aspects in order to stay productive.

There's always this little battle going on. Do I learn to love what I'm doing because I know it's right or do I change what I'm doing, cued in that not loving it is evidence that it's not right? How much of it am I supposed to love to make the sacrifice all worth it?

I'm not about to dramatically change course. Law school has been good for me in a lot of ways. Occasionally, however, I have to stop and ask myself where it is I'm trying to get. I have to ask myself what kind of realistic destinations actually exist for me. Am I working 100 hours a week to get somewhere I'll hate being? Is working 100 hours a week just to keep my head above water keeping me from doing a thousand things that are much more fulfilling? Who knows? For now I'll just keep trucking along, barely keeping up, throwing more mediocre accomplishments onto my resume, believing that eventually everything will work itself out. It always does in our charmed lives.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. Hang in there, Eli. The answers you are seeking will come.

    Just a thing I've learned along our journey is that confusion exists because your head and your heart don't agree. One of them already knows the right answer and is trying to convince the other. The trick is figuring out which one is right - the head or the heart. Whatever the answer turns out to be in the end, trust faith over logic. It will take you to amazing places - many of which you can't yet see on your own.

  2. I've felt similarly many times in my life. I think the answer is: Learn to love what you're doing because it is right. So many times the adversary tries to sway us from our course by making us think that what we've chosen isn't right, because it is hard. But anything thats worth anything takes work, which in turn polishes and refines those who labor and changes them into something more than they were before. In times when I've experienced similar feelings, I have been reminded of the experience Oliver Cowdery had when the Lord said "did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?". Look back on those moments when you first made the decision to go to law school, and remember how you felt, and I think you will be comforted to know that you're heading in the right direction.

    You are so smart, and such a hard worker. I'm sure you are going to exceed even your own expectations with all that is ahead of you in your life. Hang in there!!

  3. Mediocre? Hardly. I'm sure you'll do great, just like you always do.

  4. Oh, Eli. You have no idea how much you just described what I'm going through! I think about Moscow all the time--much the similar picture: you and I laughing from the second we see each other, Acia rolling her eyes and laughing because we're laughing, her telling us we walk so fast. Tears literally sprang to my eyes when I was writing Sister Hall this week because I missed it all so much.

    Weren't those the good old days? Now back to reality, where I find myself asking how I ended up in SoCal studying public diplomacy and wondering what on earth I'm going to do if it isn't Church PA, cuz I sure as heck don't want to end up working for hollywood. And what was I thinking as a Russian literature undergrad going into classes on the Middle East, media, and foreign policy? As always, right there with you on the wondering...