Ode to the K to JD
By Josh Sheppard
Individuals across the globe celebrate the beginning of the New Year on different dates. Those following the Gregorian calendar celebrate on January 1st, while others follow lunar cycles, different calendars, or religious holidays. For students, our New Year has always been the same: the Tuesday after Labour Day. This day brings another cycle of finding your classes, greeting old (and making new) friends, and counting down the days until Christmas break. But this year, after 20 straight years of September New Year’s Days, something new occurred. I walked into my first day of school for the last time. This experience was not novel to me, but something shared by all my classmates that fall into the category so affectionately named ‘K to JD.’ This name refers to students who went from Kindergarten (K) to finishing a juris doctor legal degree (JD) without any interruptions in our education. Some people have told us that it was smart to begin our legal careers so young, while others will tell us our pre-frontal cortexes are not yet fully developed.
There are certain things that only a K to JD student will understand. We went from a world where our friends were ‘kids’ in our class that shared our age to a world where all our friends are 28 years old and engaged. K to JD means our definition of a “full time job” is whatever employment we found ourselves in for 4 months of the summer. It means we blinked and went from a job in the back of a Sobeys to the 37th floor of Bankers Hall. It means that every job we’ve had has been calculated hourly and that our biggest concern was getting Canada Day off. It means that finessing your schedule to have Fridays off or school only two days a week won’t fly during articling. It means that we might have to work during that precious ‘time stands still’ week between Christmas and New Year’s. In fact, it means that we no longer dictate our years by Labour Day weekend at all anymore.
But there are perks as well. It means that not only do we get paid, but we also no longer have a biannual $8,000 charge to not read our textbooks and periodically have a ‘stress cry.’ It means no more registration days. It means not feeling guilty for doing anything enjoyable because technically, you could be doing homework right now. It means one important step closer to finally being able to give legal advice. It means that one of the most defining features about our entire lives is about to pivot in a way that I cannot predict will be subtle or overwhelming.
As we now get set to take off our graduation caps and put on those proverbial ‘big kid pants,’ I’d like to take a moment and salute my fellow K to JD students on a journey that took decades and felt like the blink of an eye. Congratulations! We made it, and I will see you on the other side.