When you get into law school, from the very first day of orientation, there's one trait they tell you over and over to avoid developing at all costs. They say that law school brings out the leftover middle school child in everyone. At the end of the day, they warned, we were just going to want to fit in. We were going to want to make friends and do what everyone else was doing for fear of being left out. I scoffed because, well, that was what everyone else was doing, but in reality, I knew that I was going to fall into that trap. Because that's always been me.
I don't know if I was that way all along or if some missteps kind of formed these habits but I am constantly comparing myself to other people. I'm always feeling left out. I want to know what everyone else is doing so that I can be there with them. I don't want to be the one who doesn't get the joke or didn't get invited to the party. And that just doesn't work. It is exhausting to be like this. The truth is, I think, that no one is going to feel like they belong everywhere, all the time. Sometimes we're going to feel like the black sheep. Just because one place isn't for us doesn't mean the world isn't for us.
So this will be my project until 2013. And, because it's what I do, I've pulled up some inspirational quotes courtesy of Pinterest.
"The beast got so tiresome, I just went out the window."
And that, my friends, is how the last hour went. I was on a roll with my legal memo, and I was proud of the way it was turning out. I took a quick break, came back, and realized I had no idea how to structure the thing. It was as if it had suddenly started speaking Russian, and I was speaking third-grade English. We just weren't clicking. I tried to make it work, but the longer I tried, the more I realized I was making things worse. So, I dashed it off, and went right on home. Because sometimes, that's all you can do.
I've always been one of those people who physically manifests stress. Usually, I end up getting sick but I've been keeping a regular sleeping schedule and have been taking vitamins so luckily, I've dodged that bullet so far. Unfortunately, my stress is showing up in different ways. I'm a horrible tooth grinder. It is HORRIBLE. It hurts. It makes my dentist yell at me, which in turn makes me sad. But I just can't help it. To save my molars, I've been eating baby carrots. I won't even tell you how many bags I've been through because it is that obscene. Carrots and almonds. Being inadvertently healthy.
I've also read online that petting a purring cat lowers stress levels. Considering the fact that I basically live with this guy on my shoulder, I can't imagine how stressed I would feel without him. Yay law school fall?
I know a little while ago, I mentioned that law school is kind of like one giant snowball effect. This was not a correct assertion. 'Snowball' implies that something small gets bigger and bigger as it rolls downhill, and that you can actually see it growing in size. See:
Law school is actually more like an avalanche. A tiny snowflake might fall on your nose and the next thing you know, you are under a mountain of snow. Never saw it coming.
I can't think of a more adequate description for October. A month ago, I was actually ahead in readings and getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Now, I can read for ten hours a day and barely have prepared enough for the next few days. There are memos and papers due every week (well, this past week and the next 2), and the time for outlining and studying for finals has arrived. Pro: the weeks are flying by, so hopefully, it'll be Christmas in no time. Con: I will be a shallow shell of a human being by Thanksgiving.
I've been putting off writing this post because I knew I couldn't do it justice until I could get pictures uploaded. Now, I'd like to introduce you all to the two little handfuls that have been keeping J and I on our toes for the past fifty days:
This is Rufus.
And this is Charlie.
They were orphaned kittens, and came into our lives when they were 10 days old. We were blessed enough to be their surrogate parents and have since bottle-fed them, taken them to emergency vet clinics late at night, kept them on heating pads, bought them fleeces, and they're growing up so well. They snuggle at every possible opportunity, they follow us around, they sleep on shoulders and in laps. They kick litter everywhere, and every once in a while, they choke a particularly large piece of food and run around the house trailing vomit with them. Real talk, they can be very gross sometimes, but we love them.
I mean, look at these faces. How could you not?
Note: My hand is actually really small.
So happy first fifty days of life, Rufus and Charlie! Here's hoping for plenty more!
2. The fall weather that visited for one weekend. Fall is my absolute favorite season, but it never seems to stick around much in Texas. This past weekend, the temperature dropped into the 60s, and it was gorgeous. Everyone was clustered around the coffee shops, drinking their favorite seasonal drinks (or so I assume, since that's what I was doing), wearing adorable jackets and boots. Then, just as quickly as it came, it left and we're back to highs of 90. I know- ridiculous.
3. This place. I was able to study here for a semester and fell in love. Already counting down the days till I can go back.
4. This place. It was the apartment I lived in my last two years of undergrad with some of my best friends, and though the kitchen was tragically tiny, there was zero natural light, and the whole place kind of smelled like the 70s, you best believe that by this time last year, we were baking the Pillsbury holiday cookies, and dancing around the whole place to Jason Derulo.
Fall weather always makes me so nostalgic (or the lack thereof in this case.) Anyone else feel the same way?
Kind of going off my last post, there are definitely some bad habits I've carried over from undergrad. They'll probably lead to my ultimate demise in law school, unless I can get a handle on them. SO, here I am, throwing them into the wild, in the hopes that you guys can keep me honest if I start to exhibit any of them again. Without further ado, my bad habits:
1. Procrastinating. Seriously. Most of my thesis was written between 2 and 6 in the morning, because I didn't do it any earlier. Some of my best work is done under pressure, but law school isn't really that kind of world. Papers? Maybe, but not studying. Studying is a semester-long project. And I cannot believe I seriously just said that.
2. Saying 'yes'. A trait of mine since middle school has been that I'm hyper-involved. I love to be part of organizations, I love to be in charge of things, and I kind of like having a full planner. BUT, right now, classes are top priority. So why did I join about 4 clubs and 2 journals? And take on a 30 hour volunteer project? Because I can't say no. I'm very much a 'yes' person when it comes to people asking me to join extra-curricular things. And maybe it'll look good on my resume... but it can't make an ugly GPA pretty (if it were to get out of hand).
3. Chewing gum. I had a dentist tell me it's probably not a really good habit because it wears on teeth, but in times of great distress, I HAVE to chew it! If not, pens, my nails, gummi bears, food- it's all fair game.
4. Running late. I think this is more of a 'world' thing than a 'me' thing, though. I mean, how can a person wake up 3 hours early and still run late? There's a wormhole out there that's got it in for me.
Anyone have any advice on how to fight these things? Any is appreciated! Oh, and happy Wednesday!
A big part of law school is figuring out how you work best. How do you study best? What methods work for you? What time of the day are you most productive? Now, real talk, I didn't study especially hard in undergrad. I mean, I did my homework, and I did well (for the most part) in my classes, but I never had to work especially hard at it. I'm a quick reader, a quick typist, and I tend to retain things pretty well. This was all fine in undergrad, but it made for one crappy law student. Now, all of these important study method questions that so many figured out so long ago, I have to answer now.
SO, as of today, how do I study best? I still don't know. Sometimes, I'm in the library. Other times, I'm at the kitchen table, or my couch, or my bed. (The last one is definitely not conducive to productivity). Every once at a while, I'm at my desk. I'm not a big fan of silence but my mild ADD makes having the tv or music on pretty distracting.
What methods work for me? Highlighting is pretty cool. Briefing was nice, until I ran out of time to do it (DEFINITELY need to pick this back up again). Jury's still out on typing and supplements. What time of the day am I most productive? Ummmm, never? Is that an acceptable answer? I am actually ALWAYS distracted or exhausted. Yesterday, I fell asleep on my book with a cat on my head. Mornings are nice because it's quiet, I have coffee, and my sleepy kittens lounge next to me instead of on top of my notebooks. BUT, they require waking up early. Afternoons are great but I'm usually in class, and when I'm not, I'm eating and then sleeping. Evenings? .... Night? I do work because I'm down to the wire but mostly I'm just sleepy the whole time.
A classmate of mine said it best when she told me that everyone in law school is smart. So now, it's not a matter of how smart you are, but how hard you work. And THIS, my friends, is going to require me to step up my game.
I don't know who organized the great law school curriculum hundreds and hundreds of years ago, but it is a poorly planned out thing. School started at the very end of August, and it was actually manageable. (See: false sense of security) Then September got a little busier with people joining journals, and clubs, and taking on pro-bono projects. That was fine, too. Now October is a little busier yet, and a quick glance at my planner has verified that I don't actually have a free day until November, and that's only because I haven't copied down November activities into my planner yet! It is ridiculous to me how much is crammed into the last half of the semester. On a kind of unrelated tangent, it's also just as incredible to me how people can survive without planners. I LITERALLY write everything down. Even fun things. Even things I've already done just so I can cross them out and remember I've done them. It looks kind of like this, but colorful:
So tomorrow starts the fourth week of law school, and I'm just now starting to get into a routine. I mean, I still have no idea what study methods work best for me or how best to approach case reading (I know, shouldn't I have learned this kind of stuff in high school?) but I'm starting to get good at making coffee in the mornings, packing lunch, and staying on top of household chores. I ended up getting sick this week (of course) so each day felt painfully long, despite the fact that, with all the medicine I was taking, I was only half-there. I didn't stay after school to study, and I didn't stay to chat with people. I just came home to take more DayQuil and sleep. Law school is a horrible, horrible time to get sick. I had to force myself to do just enough work not to fall behind which was good since Thursday was my first ever on-call day! (And I got the questions right!). My 9-hours-of-sleep regimen seemed to work since I'm finally feeling better!
Which brings us to now, the beginning of the fourth week. Work is still there and people are already beginning to compile outlines and annotate study guides . . . There is a definite divide in my classes about this. Some people like to be on the ball about it, and others feel that, since we don't really know how to outline or compile things yet, it's a bit precocious. I'm neutral about it, and while I have yet to buy supplements (which I probably will this week), and start compiling my notes, I am reviewing broad ideas. AND there's still been time for fun! Not during my sick week but this past Saturday, one of my best friends from undergrad came up to visit and we were able to go out to eat at some delicious places and assemble IKEA furniture. It's the little things that make the week more bearable.
Lastly, I've finally revived my camera so I hope to be updating with pictures soon!
Some thing about this law school experience has so far been surreal. I keep expecting to go back to my 'real life,' take my 'real classes' and go back to my 'real apartment.' It feels like I'm on vacation or some kind of law school trial run. Every time I whip out my Torts book (and it only happens with Torts for some reason), I just cannot believe that I am in law school. I don't know how big any of you were on the 'admitted students day' scene, but this first week has sort of felt like an extended version of that. Like I'm visiting and that the law school has been kind enough to let me test out a few classes. Still, there's no way I could actually be attending. At any given moment, I feel like I'm going to give my books back to their real owners and go back to my Spanish, English, and assorted International Relations classes.
I know this is just a symptom of all the change that's been going on lately. I also know that sooner or later I'm going to come to realize that this is in fact, real life, and what I have signed up for for the next three years. Still, it's been a very surreal experience. Maybe part of that is because I'm tired most of the time. Who really knows?
This Labor Day weekend, I'm heading back home to buy some last-minute furniture for my apartment and to finish packing things in boxes so I can make my big, official move out west. Anyone else got any big plans? Hope everyone has a fantastic and deservedly relaxing weekend!
As I get ready to decorate the first place that is actually mine, I'm coming to find out quite a few things about myself. The first is that I have the most BORING taste in dishes EVER. We're talking plain white dishes and simple glasses. On the other hand, I've also discovered that I'm drawn to some pretty cool placemats. Now to just decide on one and order it in!
I've also learned that I'm obsessed with chevrons. In prints, pillows, rugs, WHEREVER. I just cannot get enough. I also am quite taken with this sofa right here:
IKEA named it EKTORP, and it's simple shape paired with those purple flowers are just too much. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it, but went back the other day to buy it only to discover that it is sold out everyone in Texas AND that the distribution center is also sold out so no sofa for me for another 2-3 weeks :(
I picked up a new bottle of nail polish sort of to ring in the new school year and I have fallen in love with the color. I've always been into taupe but could never find just the right shade but I think this is it!
Finally, this nifty little thing has been my constant companion through the first few days of law school. It's caffeinated, which is a huge plus, but it isn't as heavy as black coffee, AND it's as refreshing as it's name would leave you to believe.
So what's big in your lives? Any recommendations for furniture/decorations/beverages?
Today was orientation, which traditionally means 'becoming oriented' or something like that. I think that might be what they tried to do today, but in actuality, it came out more as a barrage of speakers who I couldn't differentiate between by the end. I heard so many speeches, toured so many buildings, and now I can't shake the sinking feeling that none of I retained none of it. Regardless, this thing was exhausting. Nine hours long + 1 hour commute each day resulted in 12 hours of just pure running around. Paired with the fact that I didn't sleep well last night left me nodding off towards the last few speakers :| And I get to do it all again tomorrow!
Still, in a strange way, orientation was fun. It let us poke around without the added stress of having to find classes or do homework. We had extra socialization time and there were margaritas at the end. Still, I'm scared of how tired I am. With a pile of homework for Wednesday still hanging out by my bed, I know that I have to be rested tomorrow so I can tackle it. First law school homework. Eek! Hopefully, becoming oriented tomorrow doesn't leave me as worn down as it did today. If it does, Wednesday's going to be a monster. Like, the bad kind.
In what is now two short weeks, I will be packing my bags and heading out west to go to law school! That exclamation point, during this point of know-nothingness, means quite a few things to me. Part excitement, just because it means that I'm finally there. Done with applications, and LSATs, and undergrad and moving on to new things. It's part apprehension, because I have heard the law school horror stories that almost always involve someone losing a soul.
In 2 weeks, I'll be arriving at a relative's house since my apartment won't be ready for me to move in until 2 FULL weeks after school starts! I'm sure that's going to be another adventure in and of itself. Until then, wish me luck in the already impressive stack of homework that's already ahead of me.