I'm re-posting this for an awesome link up with Tracy. The topic is an experience that made you learn about yourself. Here we go!
As we start off a new year, I remembered this segment I saw on Good Morning America a year or so ago called "The Year That Changed My Life." Each of the anchors talked about the year that changed them. Some talked about childhood, some about college, some about becoming parents.....but all explained how one year changed them forever.
This got me thinking....what year has changed my life? The obvious answer might be 2009---I did gradute from law school, buy a house, get a job, and go on my first trip to Europe. Another guess might be 2004---for sadder reasons, because I lost 4 people that year who were very close to me. I also thought about 2002, when I graduated from high school, or 2006 when I graduated from college....but in the end, there really wasn't much comparison.
The year.....2008. Particularly, my summer in San Francisco.
For those of you who don't know the story--my second summer of law school, I moved to San Francisco to work as a summer associate at a top tier, internationally prominent law firm, Paul Hastings. I really think that I learned more about myself in those three months than during any other time in my life.
First, I learned I could make it on my own. Sounds funny---I had survived college and over half of law school. I'd lived on my own for two years. But there I was, in a big city that I had only visited a handful of times, with no car, with not a single soul I knew. You know what? I was just fine. I think it only increased my independence and confidence in myself. I figured out the bus lines, riding the trolley, carrying groceries up the hill to my apartment, where to go running in Chrissy Fields, and how to show all my friends and family a great time in the city when they came to visit!
Second, I learned that I could be successful at a big firm with people from Ivy League law schools. I swear....I'd never been so intimidated in my life. These people seemed so smart and together and to have their lives all planned out and to know what to do in any situation. I was freaked out the entire first week---I couldn't figure out how to turn on the computer, I got locked in my apartment (long story previously blogged about...), and the worst part was eating. We kept going to fancy restaurants.....Greek and Thai and I don't even remember what else. I never knew what to order or what fork to use.....I was sure I'd get fired on the spot! Thankfully, I didn't. Instead, I ended the summer with amazing friends, both other summer associates, regular associates and even partners. Everyone was so great and friendly and understanding....I could not have asked for a better experience.
Third, I learned that I could do things that I never thought were possible. I went canoeing down a river, ran a progressive marathon, was on a team that won a scavenger hunt that took us all over the city. I think that summer instilled in me a sort of fearlessness (within reason...I'm not going skydiving or anything!....) that has allowed me to think about having really exciting experiences.
I think it's true that at some point, we have to go out on our own and find ourselves. For me, the summer of 2008 gave me that opportunity. I think I came back in August a different person than I was when I left in May. I was exposed to a new place, new people, a new job.....and I not only survived, but loved every single minute of it!