Déjà Vu: Back in DC, Many Miles and Four Years Later

Name: Michelle Tellock

Graduation Year: 2007

Current Town: New Haven, Connecticut

Hometown: Hortonville, WI

Programs of Study: Cognitive Science & Sociology double major

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post about graduating from college, traveling a bit, and moving to Washington, DC with a bunch of my friends in order to begin a new job. Now, four years later, this blog post is about how I graduated from law school, traveled a lot, and moved (back!) to Washington, DC with a bunch of my friends in order to start my new job.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Aside from three months in the summer of 2010, I haven’t lived in DC – the city where so many of my best friends from JHU live – since I left for Yale in the fall of 2008. This city really does feel like home to me, and I’ve happily fallen back into the habit of going to “my” dry cleaner, “my” coffee shop, and “my” gym. It’s been great to reconnect with friends from college, and I’m cherishing the fact that so many of my friends from law school have also chosen to call this city home. (Luckily, there are a lot of lawyers here!)

I’m starting my new job – at a big, multinational corporate law firm – later this week, which means I’ve spent a bit of time these past few weeks settling into my new apartment and getting my “business casual” wardrobe in order. I’ve also tried to get into a routine of going to the gym every day, since I know that routine would be harder to build once I start what’s probably going to be a pretty demanding job with long hours. And I’ve made it a goal to catch up on Gossip Girl and read all the Starred items in my Google Reader.

It might sound like I’m being lazy with my last days of freedom, but I think it’s for good reason. You see, after graduating from law school in May, I spent the months of June and July studying for the bar exam (the licensing exam all law school graduates must take – and pass! – if they want to be practicing attorneys, and not just law school graduates with a diploma and a lot of debt). July, especially, was pretty brutal. Every day, my best friend and I would wake each other early, pick up big cups of coffee, and get to school to study by 9am. We’d take a quick lunch break around 2pm, and then keep studying till 9 or 10 at night. I have never worked nearly as hard (the bar makes Hopkins look like a breeze!). I took the two-day exam in Baltimore at the end of July, and then spent the following three months trying in vain to keep my mind off the results, which wouldn’t be announced till early November.

To do that, I traveled. A lot. Immediately after the exam, I went to Kauai with my roommate, her parents, my best friend, and his roommate. Then I moved my things from New Haven down to DC. Then I went to Europe (Croatia, Italy, Malta, Holland) with my roommate for about a month. Then I made a quick roadtrip from DC to Alabama and back, by way of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Then I flew to Wyoming to meet up with my best friend, to start a month-long trip through various parts of America. We drove through Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks on the way to Seattle, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, and Miami (where we stayed with the awesome Mark, who now lives & works there). Then I met up with Rena in London, and we spent a week traveling in Morocco. Then I went to San Francisco with my mom. Then I came back to DC and basically just wanted to sleep in my own bed forever and ever. All in all, I took 31 flights through 26 different airports in three months. I got a few new passport stamps, and I checked five additional US states off my list (I’ve only got 9 more to go!).

Oh yeah – and then I passed the bar (!!). This year, I am ever so thankful that I won’t have to take another high-stakes test in the foreseeable future. I’m excited to start my job in an actual career, even if it will be the first time that I’m starting a job without an end-date in mind (scary!). I can’t believe that I’m helping to plan my Hopkins 5-year reunion already…the time has totally flown by. But I’m totally happy to be right where I am, even if I’ve sort of been here before.

*** If you enjoyed this alumni blog entry then we recommend you check out Michelle’s other guest blog entries: JHU Networks: The Strength of Alumni Connections, Reflecting on the Application Process and Greetings from Washington, D.C. — and also her archived blog from her time as an undergraduate — Not-Quite-Daily Ramblings.***

  • By Mark Butt, December 2, 2011 @ 8:36 AM

    Love this! It was so great to have you here in Miami and I love the picture with Rena!!!

  • By Mandy S., December 2, 2011 @ 9:37 AM

    This makes the light at the end of the tunnel look so much brighter! (Well…maybe – I’m not sure how to factor the bar exam into the tunnel analogy. Another reason I didn’t opt for a graduate program in English). Your pictures are incredible and I hope I get to do something like this in another 2.5 years! Best wishes for the start of the new job!

  • By JHU_MichelleT, December 4, 2011 @ 11:19 PM

    Thanks, guys! It’s a little crazy to think of how many drastic changes my life has undergone in the past few months (from lazy student, to law school graduate, to crazy studier, to world traveler, to – finally! – lawyer). Mandy, I’m so excited to see where law school takes you!

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