An open letter to the individual who first prompted me to contemplate law school

Dear Kelly,

How time flies! It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since you were doing everything your scheming little mind could conceive of to prevent me from exposing the administration’s corruption at my good old alma mater, the University of Michigan. We had some fun conversations back then, didn’t we? Me attempting to uncover the truth about unlawful transactions, you blatantly lying to cover it up, me filing FOIA requests to catch you in your lies. You were such a prankster back then, too! Remember the time you walked over to the Michigan Daily and held a secret meeting with my editors threatening to stonewall the entire publication’s access to members of the administration if I was appointed news editor? You sure got me that time, Kelly.

Out of all the memorable encounters we had though, I’d have to say the one that stands out in my mind the most is when you gave me a bit of unsolicited advice. My memory is a bit hazy on this one (getting old!), but I believe we were in the midst of a conversation about the proposed construction project to renovate the football stadium. You were telling me all about how the project would be economically sustained by the athletic department. I listened to you lie through your teeth for a few minutes, and then I surprised you with proof the athletic department was actually skimming money out of the University’s general fund — a fund strictly reserved for academics.

I’ll never forget the look on your face! It was priceless, Kelly. Even you have to admit, I got you there. But what you said to me in response really struck me. You didn’t address my point, you just looked at me with an expression somewhere between disgust and defeat and said: You should be a lawyer.

Well, Kelly, after all these years, you’re still wrong. Some things never change! Navigating the world of freelance journalism has provided ample opportunities for me to experience institutional corruption, abuses of power, breaches of contract, and even discrimination — just like old times. No, Kelly, journalism is the career for me, but I still think about your suggestion from time to time, especially when I triumph in tough negotiations. In fact, just this past week I encountered three instances of people trying to screw me out of money, and in each situation, I considered that maybe I should quit journalism and go to law school. I can’t imagine what kind of a soulless bitch I’d turn into if I had to deal with that every day, though. You were a practicing lawyer for a while, weren’t you? Maybe you can tell me what that’s like sometime.

Anyway, Kelly, it sure was fun reminiscing. I hope those college journalists aren’t giving you as hard of a time as I did. I wouldn’t want to lose my edge in the industry ;)

Best,

Arikia Millikan, c/o 2008

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