Saturday, June 11, 2005

You may call me "Doctor"

I love that I am a "doctor" before I am a lawyer. My dad, who is a "real" doctor (that is, the kind you go to when you have the flu or when you've lost a major appendage), hates it. So of course my mom and I took great joy yesterday and today in pointing out that I, too, may refer to myself as a doctor. One of my favorite exchanges this morning was when my dad was asking me a legal question about a clinic he runs out of his office at home. I prefaced my answer by saying, "Now, this isn't official legal advice or anything. I'm not a lawyer yet. I'm just a doctor." My mom started cracking up. My dad gave me the Evil Eye.

Graduation was amazingly wonderful. I got up bright and early and opted for the horrifically uncomfortable shoes that perfectly matched my dress, rather than the comfortable ones that don't really go with much of anything. In spite of the fact that I'll be nursing blisters on my feet for the next month, I stand by my choice. There were actually two ceremonies. One was the law school as well as the social services and public policy schools (the medical school, business school, undergraduate colleges, and other graduate divisions had other ceremonies at various times yesterday and today). I drove down to the law school and parked my car, then followed the crowd of graduates, vestments slung over my arm (no way in HELL I was wearing that heavy velvet robe one second before I had to, in that heat and humidity), on a seven-block trek to the athletic facilities, where we were all given graduation cards and told to organize ourselves into the appropriate lines. Somehow, in spite of the fact that we're all adults with (as of this week) advanced degrees, this actually took somewhere around an hour to accomplish. We then marched out in our lines to the quadrangle -- which I'd actually never seen before -- for the graduation ceremony. My name isn't at the start of the alphabet, so I hung around somewhere near the middle of this enormous line of people, just outside the gates leading to the quadrangle. Then I heard bagpipes in the distance. Bagpipes! I thought excitedly. Another one of those all-important differences between state schools and rich private universities. Ahhh, money :)

As we approached the seating area, I saw big-screen TVs showing the bagpipe players marching in front of us. At first, I was confused. Why are they showing some parade on these screens? Then I realized that it was us they were training their cameras on. The crowd was so vast most people would only be able to see if there were screens for viewing the ceremony. Wow. As I got closer to the seating area, I recognized a familiar face -- my dad. I waved excitedly and he began taking pictures. Not with my camera, which I'd lent him the night before since he forgot his -- with my uncle's expensive new camera, his favorite new toy. I think when they left today, he missed the camera more than he missed me :) As I got closer my mom stepped out to give me a hug and handed me a bouquet of red roses, which amazingly didn't wilt in spite of the sweltering heat and humidity. I later found out that her minor disturbance raised the ire of one of the guards posted to keep order. Oh well. My family's never been one to let rules stop us from having a good time!

A fragile memoir Posted by Hello

The second part of the ceremony, the hooding ceremony, took place in the big, gorgeous, un-air-conditioned chapel on campus. We had to line up in the basement, which felt like a sauna whose heat had been turned up far too high. People were literally dripping with sweat by the time we were finally allowed up to the open part of the chapel, where our guests and family members awaited, ready to pass out from the much-lesser heat they were experiencing, without velvet robes. Wimps. We then proceeded to be draped with velvet hoods, after which we marched outside and were confronted with the option of peeling our graduation attire off our soaking bodies, thus saving our lives, or leaving them on for picture-taking. Heaven forbid we not have pictures in our graduation gowns!

In spite of the heat, though, the experience is one I'll never forget. Here's to the closing of a long but amazing and worthwhile chapter in my life, and the opening of the next, hopefully even better, one.


At June 11, 2005 at 8:41 PM, Blogger Micah said...

Oh, man, you got bagpipes? I'm soooooo jealous. It may sound morbid, but I tell all of my friends and family that I want "Amazing Grace" played by a piper at my funeral. Someone better remember that. So, now you know, too. But I digress...

Glad you made it through. I've always felt that we got gypped (sp?) in that we have doctorate degrees yet it isn't socially acceptible to call us "doctors." I didn't spend three years at Evil Law School to be called "Mister," thank you very much.

At June 12, 2005 at 12:07 PM, Blogger Roonie said...

I agree with Micah. I'm a doctor if I wanna be.

At June 12, 2005 at 12:27 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

I love "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes. It makes me cry every time.

Maybe we should start a movement to normalize referring to lawyers as "doctors." My diploma says "Doctor of Law" which made me laugh because if you say it fast enough it almost sounds like "Doctor Claw." I'll get you, Gadget! Next time!!!


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