Quote of the Day - The proper aim of education is to promote significant learning. Significant learning entails development. Development means successively asking broader and deeper questions of the relationship between oneself and the world. This is as true for first graders as graduate students, for fledging artists as graying accountants.
Going home to the University of Iowa has a double meaning this time. For the last 20 years, it's been a homecoming with my law school classmates, professors and friends in Iowa City. Steve and "Steve Army," Deb the Registrar, Jerry, Linda, Rick, Kyndra, and Robert - along with "the gang" - have been regulars for the most part at the annual homecoming each Fall when watch the Hawkeyes play and occasionally win at football and we all sing (yell) the Iowa Fight Song at The Game. "Steve Army" got his nickname from my kids, who were trying to distinguish my two roommates, both named Steve, and the nicknamed Steve was the clean-shaven, square-jawed jarhead on an ROTC scholarship.
You know the group. They're your buds. The ones who went through the train wreck of law school with you, quizzing each other on jargon-laden Latin phrases, reading 100+ pages for each class every night, suffering through endless hours of bleary-eyed studying, outlining 80 pages to summarize property, torts, contracts, criminal law and something called civil procedure that's far from civil, filling up four blue books for each of the five finals at the end of the semester, tolerating overbearing professors because you have to, rules and regulations about what classes had to be taken when and where and occasionally went to the Airliner on Wednesday after class to lose ourselves in the oblivion otherwise known as pitchers of the cheapest beer we could order, talking over music turned down to allow spirited legal arguments between budding scholars of law.
Not to paint a rosy picture, but while you may have thought Scott Turow gave you the real insight in his book named One L, if you rely on that whitewashed view, then you may want to get the real story first. Call me, take to me to lunch and I'll warn you off, or at least give you a reality check before you check in to Fall registration at your torture chamber of choice, er , I mean the law school that admitted you.
It didn't work for my son, Michel Ayer, who despite my best advice to the contrary enrolled in my alma mater and graduated this past weekend. OK, you're right. I didn't wave him off, I offered the advice that only someone who had gone through the same train wreck could. I let him in on all the inside secrets of which professors to take and which to steer clear of, which classes to take, what groups to join, how to study, what not to study and generally everything I wish someone had told me, but didn't.
But don't let me fool you here. I wasn't the one who went to law school all over again. It was Michel who went and achieved what I didn't: Captain of the Moot Court team, winner of the Best Brief and Best Oral Advocate awards in the Jessup International Moot Court competition, Administrative Editor of the Journal of Corporate Law, a Summer Clerkship at Quarles & Brady in Phoenix and a separate Masters in Urban & Regional Planning, all while managing to maintain his marriage to Stacy, a very beautiful, charming and intelligent bookkeeper for a large insurance company.
Can you tell my vest buttons are popping?
Yep, this weekend is Michel's graduation from the University of Iowa College of Law along with a U&RP Masters degree. Then on Tuesday, he's off to Phoenix for several months of studying for the Arizona Bar and in September an Associate position at Quarles & Brady.
Twenty years ago today, I graduated from the same law school, looking forward to the challenge of a bright new practice in California. While I was proud to have survived law school and landed a job, the pride I feel today has no comparison.
It's everything you hope for your children, and more I can't even begin to explain. If you're a parent, then you already understand. If you're a graduate, just give yourself some time.
Your buttons will pop, too, and although your eyes will water when you watch the Dean hand him his diploma, you'll just say that something got in your eye.
Then you'll realize.