Kristina A. Kiik: A graduate's gratitude

Kristina A. Kiik, who recently graduated from SMU's Dedman School of Law, writes about retiring her No. 2 pencil and about Dallas. She is a Community Voices volunteer columnist for The Dallas Morning News.

Retirement. I can assure you it's bittersweet. Come late summer, I will retire my No. 2 pencil.

Graduating from the SMU Dedman School of Law last Saturday marked the end of my formal academic education – and the beginning of my preparation for the last exam I will have ever have to take: the July Texas bar.

That Saturday was a day of celebration. The ceremony was full of pomp and circumstance. As I awaited my turn to be "hooded" by members of the faculty, I reflected on the people and places that brought me to this day. The people have been many. But the places have been few.

Ever since I was a preschooler with an awkwardly large green-and-white canvas book bag, my family, friends and teachers believed in me even when – perhaps especially when – I didn't believe in myself. Their encouraging words, sympathetic ears and (often tough) love brought out the best in me.  

Read the full essay.

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