On my cousin’s advice, I decided to work as a student assistant during this year’s Alumni Weekend. My cousin is an alumnus of YLS, and when I asked him for guidance last year about navigating Yale, he told me to remember that first semester is graded “pass/pass” and to work Alumni Weekend. It was a sacrifice for me, since this year the weekend fell at the beginning of Fall Break, effectively costing me two days at home. Home, in case you were wondering, is Miami, Florida. Miami weather > New Haven weather. But since my cousin has always been one of the coolest people I know, I figured his advice was likely pretty sound. So I sacrificed, and it was worth it.
Alumni Weekend, as its name implies, is a weekend-long reunion, where hundreds of alumni descend upon New Haven for three days of eating, drinking, and catching up with old friends. Except that this isn’t a high school reunion: it’s a Yale Law School reunion, which means that this isn’t your typical crowd. While working the events, I struck up conversations with a partner at a huge law firm (where I would love to work someday), a law school dean, someone who was general counsel at a major university, and a big federal prosecutor. I also got to meet (really meet, like with an introduction and commemorative picture of us) a Supreme Court Justice. And while these people have impressive credentials, they were also some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, which makes them even more impressive, in my opinion. They made working—yes, we got paid to help out with events during the weekend—fun. And perhaps more importantly, they inspired me.
Like me, they came to Yale with a blank slate, ready and eager to take on the world. They had no idea they would be partners and deans and prosecutors and Justices. But now they are. Like generations of YLS alumni before them, they are today’s leaders. And as scary a thought as it is, it reminded me that we are tomorrow’s. My classmates will be partners and deans and prosecutors and (hopefully) Supreme Court Justices. And this post just got super cheesy, but it’s really how I felt that weekend, in the presence of so many impossibly accomplished people. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than me. I am a part of an institution that produces amazing individuals who shape the world around us every day. I just hope I can come back to an Alumni Weekend some 30 years from now as one of them.