by Kulia Petzoldt
The movers show up, always a little later than I hope, and long before the box emerges that holds my toolkit, we inevitably need it. It happens each time, and no amount of labeling or planning seems to help. Each of our eleven military moves over the last sixteen years has a different story, a different missing tool that I could swear I had mere months before.
Now, a few short days before Fall orientation of my 1L year at Seattle University School of Law, and I’m looking left and right trying to make the right choices about what tools to have at the ready. Will it be the Quizlet sets I used successfully during my Summer Criminal Law course? Or my newly learned book-briefing highlighters that don’t bleed through the thin pages of my casebooks? Will my ability to find a tribe quickly translate in a room full of the smartest students who are all competing to keep scholarships? Will the habit of generous kindness be met with reciprocation or confusion in the high-pressure competitive classroom? How should I prioritize between a long commute, a spouse in command, a daughter in middle school and the commitments of participation in and out of class? While the schedule will be full, I’m coming to this challenge as someone who has moved OCONUS to OCONUS with 27-day notice and who finds backups for backups, is always prepared for the best or the worst case scenario. My plan of action is focus and a positive attitude toward the great challenge and mystery ahead, a skill used again and again as a military spouse.
This week I will join a culture here where networking matters, luckily building relationships and earning trust is a skill I’ve honed with each move around the globe. I will be expected to listen first, and participate while keeping any remaining ego in check, this won’t be new – I’ve learned to push myself with each new home and community I’ve embraced. I’ll be expected to work professionally with other students from backgrounds different from my own, one of the first skills sharpened in the world of military spouse support groups. While my status as a military spouse delayed my Law School dreams, that same experience has honed my skills to make me as ready as I can be with an expansive toolkit on day one as I walk forward into this adventure.