As you know from last week’s blog, I’m leaving Long Island.
I’m also documenting the journey, and the first step of that journey is visiting my new home.
The process of being admitted to school / accepting the offer was a quick one. On Wednesday, May 1st, I got a call from the school informing me I'd been admitted to their J.D. program and that my admissions packet was in the mail. I had two weeks from that phone call to give the school an answer. I spent the remainder of the week on pro/con lists, research, offer comparisons, and anxiety. When my admissions packet arrived in the mail on Monday, I felt pretty damn confident as I checked Yes, I will accept on the decision statement. The next day, I had tickets booked to fly down for an admitted students event.
Whirlwind is a word that comes to mind.
My dad used his three days off to fly with me and explore the area, which I’m extremely grateful for. We had a quick trip planned- traveling on Sunday night, spending Monday and Tuesday exploring the area, and attending the event on Wednesday before heading back home.
— SUNDAY, MAY 12. —
I clocked out of work early on Sunday to do some last minute (read: all of my) packing.
After cramming way too many clothes for a three day trip into a carry on, downloading an audiobook and a movie for the plane (who knew what I’d be in the mood for?), and triple-checking that my plane ticket was in my Apple Wallet, off we drove to JFK.
We had an 8:30pm flight to Jacksonville, where we would then pick up a rental car and make the two hour drive to Tallahassee. We got to our hotel at the wee hour of 2am, and after a good 20 hours of being awake (minus some power-napping during our travels), I crash-landed on the bed. Lights out on a long and busy Mother’s Day.
— MONDAY, MAY 13. —
After a later-than-usual wake-up and some extremely hot McDonald’s coffee, we decided to jumpstart our search for Baby’s First Apartment (am I adult enough for this? I guess I have to be). We spoke with a local police officer, who gave us some great insight on neighborhoods and complexes that would be A) in my budget and B) close enough to commute to school but far enough to escape the rowdy undergrad vibes in “college town”. From there, we went to a couple of leasing offices.
When I say “a couple”, I mean it.
We visited two apartment complexes because I got that this is my home feeling. Before I knew it, I was filling out a rental application and measuring the distance between my new front door and the nearest supermarket.
Have I mentioned that this process has been a whirlwind? Because, seriously, it keeps on turning.
A little shocked (but very relieved) that the biggest item of our three-day agenda had been checked off so quickly, we spent the rest of the day exploring the city. We stopped by the local mall, grabbed some lunch, and ending our day with a celebratory viewing of Avengers: Endgame and a couple of beers. I’m...honestly still shocked that this happened, and happened so quickly. Someone out there is looking out for me.
— TUESDAY, MAY 14. —
With the bulk of our itinerary handled, we really weren’t sure what to do with Day Two.
We started out by taking to 15-minute drive from our hotel to my soon-to-be apartment. From there, we checked Google Maps to see what stores were around, locate the nearest church, the post office, a DMV and started driving. We did a lot of exploring, trying to get some legwork done to make my move a little easier. Then, as an islander does, we decided to find a beach.
Siri took us to a small beach in Wakulla County, where we hung out for a bit and chatting with some locals who named some waterside restaurants to check out. We wound up at a tiki hut cafe in St. Marks, where we enjoyed some lunch by the river before heading back to the city.
After some unwinding back at the hotel, we had diner at an Italian chain we were familiar with from back home (not the Olive Garden - although even my Italian American self wouldn’t say no to those breadsticks). Then it was back to the hotel where we grabbed a few beers from the lobby marketplace and caught the end of the hockey game (who was playing? what was happening? I don’t know. I don’t understand sports. I was in it for the beer).
— WEDNESDAY, MAY 15. —
Wednesday was the Big Day for a lot of reasons.
It started with an email from the property manager at my soon-to-be apartment complex informing me that my application had been approved and that I would officially have a 2-bed, 2-bathroom apartment come June. After paying the lease fee, we dropped by the complex to take a second look at the model unit and go over the lease. Then, it was time for the main event: Admitted Students Day.
We arrived at the school early, and were soon joined by two other prospective students and a pair of student ambassadors who had just finished their first year at the law school. We spoke with the staff in admissions, then the ambassadors gave us a campus tour on which many questions were answered, tangents were gone on, and fears alleviated (or elevated - the jury’s still out). We ended the day with a Q&A session with the school’s mock trial coordinator (a local attorney and alumnus) and the admissions directors. With our welcome packets in hand (I’m nothing if not a sucker for a free t-shirt), we thanked everyone for their time and hit the road for the two hour drive back to Jacksonville International Airport for a flight that got us back in New York at 10:00pm.
And there you have it. That was my first trip to my new city. It was eventful, to say the least. Exciting, and overwhelming, and just…a lot to take in.
Each step forward further solidifies the fact that this is real. A lot of people have asked me how I feel about that, and I don’t know when my answer will stop being, “Weird”. That’s all I’ve got for you. Excited, yes. Nervous, sure. But ultimately, if you want to know how the move makes me feel, the answer is weird.