Week 6. It feels like Week 20. But really, it has only been week 6 and only two more weeks to go before the final exam: July 11 (and then I fly back to Ontario July 12). Boom, boom, boom! All at once!
As I sit writing this post, I am lying on my bed in my dorm room in an on-campus residence just a few metres away from the actually college. I sometimes forget to do this but I have to remind myself that I have come a long way since the first week. It doesn’t seem like a long time but we (my peers and I) have definitely all been working hard on becoming the best that we can be. To which I usually say, “the only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday.” That is sometimes hard to forget. The world is built on being the best, only the best, and this never ending bad habit of comparing yourself to others—What did you get on the assignment? Did you pass? What is your mark? Do you understand what is going on? Hogwash! Down with the comparing yourself to others: seek on improving yourself and only yourself.
The other day, as I was sitting in the classroom and reading some cases before the day started, my peer walks in. I had my earphones in and I was listening to my music, as per usual. I notice some flailing arms on the corner of my eye and am slightly startled. I take an earphone out and burst out start laughing. My peer begins to laugh too and quickly says, “WE WON!” Then quickly runs off to tell everyone else, “WE WON!” It took me about two seconds to realize what was going on and to be back in the now, reality.
The Supreme Court of Canada (unanimously) recognized (a first ever in Canadian history) Aboriginal title belonging to the Tsilhgoq’in Nation.
It was at that moment–when my peer came rushing in (almost) screaming, “We Won!”–that I knew I belong in this program. I belong here. This is where I want to be. We spent our one class discussing the case–only briefly. That was also a really cool experience: to be able to be in a class filled with other Indigenous students, working hard to advance their legal education and having one of the top Indigenous legal scholars in Canada talk to us about the decision. How amazing is that! I wish many other Indigenous students could experience this–I will be forever grateful for these experiences.
Initially, I spent the first half and even after the first half (for a bit) struggling with this feeling, belonging. I constantly questioned, “Do I actually belong here?” or “Is this something I want to be doing for the next few years of my life?” I kept going back and forth on these questions—Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t even know. A questionable yes?! lol
In settling these feelings of uneasiness, I have reached out to people I admire and respect. Without a doubt, I am forever grateful for those people to remind me that I have to take care of me and to do things that make law school easier for me (like reconnecting with friends back home via skype while I am out here). I also met with someone who reminded me that the world will continue while we are here and that we should definitely remind ourselves to take a break, to come back to the now, the real world, reality. I have to gently remind myself of this too.
But the other day was so monumental–it was the day the SCC recognized Aboriginal title for the first time in Canadian history! It was also the day I knew that this is where I belong. I will remember this day for many reasons, and this will be one of them.