For many of us, this is the beginning of the last leg of a journey that started two years ago in sunny Southern California. And what better way to begin this leg than with the sun streaming down upon our well-tanned necks? For others of us, this is the beginning of Act II, or the very beginning of a similar journey. To all of you, welcome back, and to the newcomers, welcome!
This is a journey that's long and relentless. It is the mother of all hazings. Those of us who emerge at the other end, through it all, will have endured heavy sacrifices, risen to incredible challenges, and made more than our fair share of law school bon mots.
But this is not the time, not yet, for a valedictory. It is, for my brothers and sisters of the class of '08, the time to hunker down, to savor what for many of us will be our last chance at living the life of a student.
At a certain other law school in the Southland, I am told, students are told at orientation to look to their left and look to their right: "If you are still here, those people will be gone."
Here at Loyola, no matter the trials and travails in the days to come, look to your left, and look to your right. That is your brother. That is your sister. They will have bunked down in the trenches with us. They will have shared their joys and sorrows. And most will still be with us.
Look at them now. Go to them. Say anything, if only "hello". Or, if you're shy, smile or wave. They have shared with you what few other human beings will have gone through. And in the future, they may just be your "in", not only in your career, but perhaps in your personal relationships.
This week, as we float into our classes, let us remember to keep smiling, keep shining, knowing we can always count on each other.
Welcome and welcome back!