I got an A.
by Todd A. Wells
My first law school A was in Legal Profession (legal ethics) during the Fall semester of my second year. If it is the last A that I receive I will count myself fortunate. There was another first that occurred during my Legal Profession exam. It was the first time that I cried in the law school. This was no nervous breakdown from stress, but rather me thinking about my cat Snoopy.
I studied for this exam the day before it took place, near Snoopy, waiting for him to die of cancer. He was only eight years old. I thought he was too young to leave me just yet. I had him since he was just a kitten and he was with me, always, through the toughest times in my life, not to mention my first year of law school.
Snoopy was a powerful force in my life. While studying late at night, after a long day, he would always sit there next to me, my first year Torts book in hand, purring away. I could be frustrated yet look down at him and see his cute peaceful face peering up at me lazily. He enjoyed life just being with me. One look at that face and all of my worries faded away. All of us worry about grades in law school. We worry about our careers. That includes me.
But those small moments with Snoopy were when I remembered that real life had little to do with grades or jobs. Grades, jobs, money all fade away, but our love and friendship are the things that remain in our memories forever. Those rare moments with Snoopy were when I remembered to simply try my best, get to sleep, and keep at it again tomorrow. More important though, was to play with Snoopy first. Worry? There was no worry in Snoopy and I was determined there would be no worry in me. He was my constant example, and when things were worst: my little hero.
For all the times I agonized over grades and worked my hardest it never seemed enough. We all think to ourselves at times: I worked so much harder than so and so... why can't I get the high grade? One of the things I loved about Snoopy was that those grades never mattered. Countless times he chewed on my papers when I wasn't looking or simply walked up, plopped right down on my book, and demanded attention. He didn't care if Professor Smith was going to call on me in Torts tomorrow. Everything could go to hell and, so long as we were together, everything was gonna be alright. But when I took that exam, my Snoopy was gone, and things just didn't seem like they were gonna be alright anymore. I think losing Snoopy that day before the exam caused me to let go and finally do what I had always wanted to do: let go of the worry and just do it. Entering that exam I was miserable. Grades? They just didn't matter anymore. We all tell ourselves things like: grades shouldn't matter, they don't matter, grades are bullshit. Ultimately, you can try to convince yourself of anything, but to really believe it you have to feel it inside. Well, I finally felt it.
Life is about perspective. Whereas some of us obsess about grades or some other thing, others simply let it all roll off their backs or don't even think about it. What is common to all of us though is that we have the power to choose our perspective. Rather than obsess about my grades or fall, completely, into depression about the loss of my buddy I chose to do something else that day of my exam. I chose to let go of it all, stop worrying, and do my best in spite of it all.
By changing my perspective, all of my stress and worry disappeared during the exam and I truly did my best. Without a doubt, all that truly matters are the people we love. Saying that is one thing, but honestly feeling it, carrying it, and living it are quite another. The secret is finding the right perspective. How very lucky I am to have Snoopy in my heart forever. Thank you, Snoopy, for your last gift to me. I got an A.