Valedictorian Seow Tziyang ’11 shares the thoughts of the Class of 2011 on their Commencement
Commencement for the NUS Law School Class of 2011 took place on 5 July 2011. The day itself passed in a bit of a blur – two hours of numbness interrupted by two minutes of euphoria as each of us walked up the stage to receive our scrolls.
In the run-up to those two minutes, there was not much time to reflect on our time in Law School. Even since then, the thoughts of our graduating class are still jumbled and confused, if our Facebook status updates are anything to go by – from “Thank you NUS, thank you Law School” to “Culmination of four years of suffering, commencement of 50 more years to go”.
That pretty much sums up how we feel about Commencement: a hodgepodge of relief and gratitude … and a pervasive sense of anxiety about the future that lies ahead.
We came in to Law School as a dishevelled bunch of misfits: an array of naïve Junior College graduates, the ‘arty’ ones who thought that Law is just about the power of linguistics (how wrong we were), the ‘sciencey’ ones who thought their powers of engineering concepts in deconstruction and reconstruction were irrelevant in law (how wrong we were), the ones who actually wanted to be doctors (oops), the ones who watched too much Boston Legal and thought legal practice would be just like that (how wrong we were). And off we went! Down the rabbit hole; into the world of statutes, clauses, precedents … (insert your legal jargon of choice here).
So: now what?
The new graduates’ hopes and ambitions span across a whole spectrum of possibilities.
We can safely assume some of us have more traditional ambitions: to become law firm partners, legal academics, Judges, Senior Counsels. Some of us want to practise for a few years before becoming in-house counsels, or joining other industries like private equity and hedge funds. Some of us just want enough seed capital to start the next hot thing in Singapore’s restaurant / club scene!
As if that’s not complex enough, our dreams will evolve as time passes. Some might discover a raging passion for practice, some might find their interest wilting away.
I guess the only way to sum up all of this is to say: whatever paths we take and dreams we chase, we should do it without regrets. Without looking back and thinking that awful thought: “What if?” If we do that, I think we would have done pretty well.
The Editor of LawLink hinted at dire consequences if I did not conclude with our best memories of Law School. So here are a few common favourites:
the ancient trees in the courtyard, under which Law students seek asylum from law articles
the eccentric Law Library characters, from The Guardian of Library Silence to The Girl With The Chronic Sinus Problem to The Manic Typewriter (you know who you are)
The Class of 2011: the jumbo-sized family of misfits who forever share the dream (and dare I say: the nightmare!) that was NUS Law School.
LLM Class of 2011