Yesterday I went and picked up my cap, gown and hood for my law school graduation on Thursday. I wish I could say it was a surreal experience, and that every memory I've ever had from my last three years here at Harvard Law came rushing back in a montage set to a Coldplay song, but actually, it was pretty anti-climactic. I walked in, got my regalia, walked out, and went to go get my dry cleaning.
But then, as I was walking down Mass Ave to retrieve said dry cleaning, I started thinking about all of the things that have changed at HLS since I arrived here oh-so-long-ago, in September of 2006. A lot of this stuff may seem boring/irrelevant to those of you who aren't familiar with HLS, but you know what? I'm graduating and I'm allowed a self-indulgent, Harvard-focused blog post or two. So deal.
First of all, my class at Harvard was the last class to have actual letter grades for all three years of law school. You know, the A, the B, the mythical C, the non-existent D, etc. Every class below us, though, has received the benefit of Harvard's new, wimpy, pass/fail system. I mean, to be fair, it's not just pass/fail: there's also "high pass" and "low pass." But come on. My boyfriend, bless him, just finished his first year at HLS and never got to experience the Paper Chase-like Harvard Law that I attended back in the day. Back in Aught Six, people would steal your notes and shred them, or hide your ascot before class so you'd look like a fool in front of the professor, or dump all of the ink out your inkwell so you'd be forced to take notes on a slate with a rusty nail. These kids nowadays don't know what the real HLS was like, dagnammit.
Another big change since I arrived on campus three years ago is the closure of some of my favorite restaurants and businesses. For example, it seems like every good breakfast place in Harvard Square fell on hard times and closed, suggesting some sort of bizarre conspiracy to keep me from finding a good omelet in Cambridge.
Perhaps the saddest loss of all was the closure of Three Aces, one of my favorite greasy food establishments of all time. Please see below for a picture of it in all its glory:
Three Aces had it all: curly fries and straight fries. Pizza. Grinders. Mini bottles of wine that I'd always see construction workers drinking on their lunch break. Awesome. Almost as sad as the Three Aces' demise is the closure of the little nail place next door to it, Fancy Fingers. I used to go in there to watch Vietnamese TV, read gossip magazines, and get a darn good pedicure, but it closed down, too. Sad times.
Another thing that has changed since '06 is that our beloved former dean, Elena Kagan, was appointed Solicitor General of the U.S. When Obama made his nomination for the Supreme Court last week, I was really gunning for Kagan to get it, because: a) she is our Commencement speaker and it would have been cool, and b) I wanted to be able to tell people that a Supreme Court Justice called me. You see, when I first got into Harvard, then-Dean Kagan called me to congratulate me and ask me if I had any questions, etc. It was pretty cool. But it would be even cooler if I could manipulate that story in such a way that people believed that I was buds with a Supreme Court Justice. Oh well, I guess it's not meant to be. I'm just going to have to work with that one story I have about when Sandra Day O'Connor came into the Stanford Alumni Center when I was working there and I sort of said hi to her. I'm almost famous!
So, tomorrow's the big day: graduation. I am still keeping my fingers crossed for some sort of memory montage set to music to happen as I am walking across the stage to get my diploma. I'll probably just audibly hum a song by "The Fray" and hope for the best. I'll let you know how it goes.
(Oh, and congratulations to everyone else graduating tomorrow!)