Yesterday was my last class ever as a student. I thought it was fitting to post this photo from one of my first days of school.

Back then I wanted to be an astronaut, I dreamed of being the first person on Mars. Funny how the dream seemed so much more attainable in the ’80s than it does now, and not just because 5 year old me liked visiting NASA better than Disney.

It wasn’t that long after this picture was taken that the lightbulb went off in my head and I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I especially loved reading books about things like black holes, the idea that there were things out there that were so dense that nothing could escape blew my mind. My nerdery started early.

I look at this picture with me sitting there, pencil poised, wearing my birthstone ring that had been a bribe to get me to stop sucking my thumb and I think about how little me had no idea where the years to follow would take me.

And yeah, I never got to go to Mars, but I did get to visit places that as a child of the Cold War I never dreamed I would ever get to see. I may not have gotten to make history in as the first person on Mars like my 5 year old self dreamed of, but I got to play a tiny role in a landmark Supreme Court case and high school me would be proud of that.

I don’t know how the next chapter in my life is going to unfold but here’s to the future.