Undergraduate Major: English
Hometown: Arlington, Texas
Status: Full Time, Day student
Email: email@example.com Dear Diary,
We’re nearly done, now. Just two more exams, and it’s over. For me, next Thursday can’t come too soon. This is not to say I haven’t enjoyed this year. I really have – more than I thought I would, actually. It really is astonishing how much we’ve learned in each class. I’m just hoping that my exams bear that out.
Writing this diary has been fun for me, too. It forced me to be more reflective than I might normally have been. My brain is still in recovery from our Property final last night, so I’m having a hard time thinking of how to sum up this year in a few words. I think it would probably be tough to do that anyway. Aside from the sheer volume of what I’ve learned in class, this year has been remarkable in other ways, too. I learned about how much stress I can handle before I feel the need to attempt a Mountain Dew overdose. I learned that Spring is always the most distracting time of the year. I learned that it’s possible to be competitors and friends.
Anyway, I’ll continue to answer emails from prospective students this summer, if anyone has any questions for me. Beyond that, I hope all of my classmates have a great summer, and I know I will see many of you in summer school.
This week we had our last real classes as 1Ls, plus a handful of makeup classes and review sessions. Now, it’s up to us to study efficiently for the finals. I’m nervous, but in a different way than before the fall finals. Last semester, I had no idea what it would be like to take a law school final. This time, I have a better idea of what to expect, but I’m more afraid that I will have forgotten something important. I always have a hard time staying focused in the spring semester, and this spring was no different. But, I think I’ve got pretty good outlines, and as it turns out, a lot of smart classmates to bounce questions off. Anyway, finals start on Monday, and before I update this diary again, I’ll have taken two – Criminal Law and Property. So, if anyone out there reading this cares and is inclined to do so, now would be the time to start thinking positive thoughts for me. And my fellow 1Ls. But mostly for me. Thank you in advance.
I’m not sure why, but now that this week is over, I feel relieved. I’m sure the feeling will go away once it sinks in just how soon finals are, but for now, yeah. (I’m also brain dead. Obviously.) We turned in our trial briefs last week, and this week we did oral arguments. I can’t even remember at this point what I said in my oral argument, and I certainly don’t have an objective view of how it went. So, I’m just going to say it was great. I bought a suit for the occasion because I didn’t have one before. It felt a little like playing dress-up, and I had fun seeing other people in my class dressed up, too. My professor said at least we looked like lawyers, even if we didn’t sound like lawyers. I’m sure he meant it as a compliment.
One of the differences between college and law school is that in law school (at least in the first year) you have all of your classes with the same people. You all stress out about your memos and briefs and exams together, and you start to feel bonded. You start to feel like you know each other. But most of us don’t know each other very well.
This week, we were shocked and saddened by the loss of a fellow student. Matt Dunn passed away on Tuesday evening. I saw Matt just about every day since we started school last August, but we probably only talked a handful of times outside of the classroom. Although I didn’t know him well, I do remember a couple of things that struck me about him. I know that he was a devoted husband and father. He carried a picture in his wallet of his baby daughter that he showed to anyone who would look. I also know that he was a dedicated and engaged student. Volunteering answers in class can be a little scary, but Matt was always willing to contribute something to the class discussion. I didn’t know him well, and maybe only a few people in the class did, but I know that our class will feel the loss.
This was a pretty good week. Most everyone’s attention was focused on the trial brief (which is due in just under two weeks), but panic has not yet taken hold. Um, what else? Well, we had another great presentation in Criminal Law this week. In fact, I think it was the best one so far. The group did a fantastic job.
In non-class-related news, the event I’ve been looking forward to all semester is happening this Saturday night. I’m talking, of course, about Fools’ Night. Fools’ Night is a sketch/variety show put on by law students and professors. I highly recommend to any students who are reading this to come to this show. I have seen a sneak peek of a couple of the sketches, and the show is going to be really funny. And I’m not just saying that because a good friend of mine is one of the writers/organizers of the show. No, objectively speaking, I think it’s going to be great. And, 1L’s, it will be a welcome break from working on the brief. So, come to Fools’ Night!
What a difference a week makes. I know I feel refreshed after Spring Break, and it seemed like everyone else did too. The professors were no longer looking at us (as they had been in the days leading up to the break) as if they were seriously contemplating the other Socratic method. You know, the one with the poison. Anyway, it was, for the most part, a good week. We read some very famous cases, including the "hairy hand" case, which anyone who has seen the movie The Paper Chase may remember. We got our last memos back, and I got a very clear message that I have my work cut out for me on the trial brief. It’s too bad, really, because I’d much rather rest on my laurels. But because I have no laurels, I’ll settle for Plan B – trying very hard not to trip over anyone else’s laurels.
It’s finally Spring Break! I don’t know why I’m so excited about it. I’m not going anywhere. Plus, we got several reminders this week that we are at the halfway point in the semester, and it’s only going to get more hectic. Academic Support administered practice exams for Criminal Law and Property, and they have some scheduled for the other classes in the weeks following Spring Break. We also got our trial brief, which is the major legal writing project of the semester, assigned to us this week. It’s cruel, really – like they don’t want us to enjoy ourselves over the break. I’m determined, though, to have a nice, relaxing vacation, even if I’ll be spending it in Arlington. I hope everyone else has a good break, too, because if last semester is anything to judge by, this semester is going to be over before we know it. So, have a great week off, everyone!
It’s a good thing we have only one more week until Spring Break. We all need it. Despite the fact that we are covering really interesting material in all of our classes, it was obvious (painfully so by the end of the week) that most everyone’s attention was waning. In Criminal Law, we were studying insanity as a defense, and it was tough staying focused even for that! When I was reading the cases for that class, my focus was completely displaced by the use of the word "alienist" one time in one of the cases. All I could think about after that was that I wanted to re-read The Alienist because it has been several years since I read it, and I don’t remember it very well anymore. Oh well. Our class was saved in large part, though, because we have a fellow student who is a psychologist. He has routinely been called to testify as an expert witness, and he told us a lot about how the different tests that we were learning for insanity and incompetence affect the way a case plays out in the courtroom. It was very interesting, and it helped me, at least, pull my attention back into class. Spring fever is a powerful force, though, and now (just a few hours after class) I’m back to thinking about what I’m going to read in my spare time and counting down until March 10. Only one more week.
This was, for the most part anyway, a good week. We had a relatively light reading load, and I think a lot of people, including me, were still enjoying post-Memo 4 euphoria. My only real disappointment this week was in not winning the billionth iTunes song competition. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the Apple web site for the article about the winner and his prize.) I didn’t actually buy anything from iTunes this week, but I still hoped I would win. Setting realistic goals (or at least goals that aren’t completely bizarre) is something I should probably work on, but that’s for another time. Right now, I want to congratulate a group of students in my section who did accomplish an important goal this week – they gave an interesting presentation in our Criminal Law class.
In that class, we learn by using the problem method. The way it works is each chapter of the casebook begins by setting up a made-up case. It usually has an attached assigning "memo" from an attorney asking a question like "can we avoid a directed verdict on blah blah blah?," as well as the real cases that are used to formulate an answer. Anyway, each week, a different group of students has to present the problem and their answer to it. And it’s been getting better each time. This week, the group actually had a Power Point presentation. Now, I’ll admit to having absolutely no experience with Power Point, and for that reason, I could just be easily impressed by people who can use it. But I don’t think that matters here. I think the group just did a really good job and set a higher standard for the groups to come. (Thankfully, my group went during the second week!) Anyway, I fully expect that by the end of the term, the presentation will include a filmed dramatic enactment of the problem case, complete with a courtroom scene, and culminating in a verdict. That’s a realistic goal, isn’t it?
We finally turned in our memos this week – just in time to enjoy the freezing temperatures. Texas weather really is cruel sometimes. A few days ago, when it was 80 degrees outside, I envisioned myself maybe playing tennis this weekend. I haven’t played in a long time, and imagining it provided a few fleeting moments of happiness during those last miserable days of stressing over the memo. Oh well. Anyway, this memo was the first one where we had to do the research completely on our own, and it proved to be a challenge. For me, the hardest thing was deciding which cases not to include. Actually, what was really tough was trying (and sadly, failing, for the most part) to balance my other responsibilities. I know I did something I never thought I would do – for the first time all year, I did not watch House on Tuesday night. So I watched it Wednesday on TiVo. Whatever. I still consider it a sacrifice. I just hope it paid off.
Enh. That’s how I feel about this week. We have our memos due next week, and on top of everything else, I’m sick. I can only recall one clear thought that I’ve had all week, and I won’t share it here because it involved violence against the creators of the ICW exercises. For all of you prospective law students, ICW exercises are online quizzes designed to teach proper citation methods. They are necessary and useful, yes, but also excruciatingly dull. Or maybe just excruciating. And dull. Whatever. At least I know that I’m not the only one frustrated by ICW. A classmate posted an entry on our Legal Writing class web site that said simply, "Hello Everyone, I failed another ICW." I laughed when I read that post, and I repeat it here, not to make fun of the person who wrote it, but because I understand the frustration behind it. Anyway, I’ll be glad when we’re done with ICW, but unfortunately, that won’t be for a while. So I’ll just have to concentrate on being happy when I turn in my memo in a few days. Until then, I think I’m going to alternate between studying and drinking hot tea and sulking. Haha. Ok, good luck on your memos, 1Ls!
This was a good week. I learned a lot. In addition to all the things I learned about warranties and implied terms, prescriptive easements, requirements for pleadings, etc. etc., I also learned that:
1) The best rhyme for Brooke Mixon is, uh, Brooke Mixon.
2) If pizza is anywhere in the immediate vicinity, male law students lose the ability to walk in a straight line. (I could probably extrapolate to a larger segment of the human population, but in the spirit of good will toward . . . well, you know, I won’t.) But anyway, they reverse direction at random, they forget to pick up napkins, and sometimes, they just stop moving for no reason at all, and before you know it, a free lunch buffet has descended irretrievably into chaos. And finally,
3) If the biggest credit you have to your name is a film called Ratboy, even a first-look deal with Warner Brothers can’t save your career.
Well, I thought they were valuable lessons, anyway.
I’m trying to think of something interesting to relate about this week, but I’m failing miserably. I hope my classmates had a more interesting week than I did. I was struggling to stay afloat, so I’m really just glad this week is over. My best friend visited last weekend from New York, and I didn’t study at all until Monday. So, I started out behind and pretty much stayed behind. I’m hoping that this weekend I can change that. Our first major legal writing assignment is due two weeks from Monday, so I know that I can’t really allow myself any more completely wasted weekends. And I’m particularly talented in time-wasting, so this knowledge depresses me. When is spring break again?
Last week, I wrote about getting ready for the semester to take off. This week didn’t quite turn out like that. Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a sick professor, I was barely in class this week at all. And now that it’s Friday and time for me to recap the week, I’m not sure what I did with all that extra time. No, really, I don’t know. I must have taken a nap. Anyway, I am really enjoying my new class, Criminal Law. It has given me my new favorite phrase – depraved indifference. I know the words mean something bad, but I can’t help it. It’s just such a wonderful phrase. (And the law has so many good ones. Willful, wanton, and reckless is another of my favorite phrases. Who came up with this stuff? Brilliant.) I know I have already annoyed most of the friends I have left by responding to every request to participate in a decision (for example, where to eat dinner) that I am not only indifferent, but depravedly so. These words may eventually get old for me, but by that time, I’m sure I will have new favorites to inflict upon my friends and family. It used to worry me that I’m often as interested in the language of the law as in the law itself, but now I’m just indifferent. Depravedly indifferent.
After waiting for what seemed like ages to get our grades, most of us now know pretty much where we stand. I actually didn’t worry too much about how I had done on my exams until the week before we came back to school. (I will admit to checking the website obsessively last week.) I just tried to enjoy having some free time for a change. I wish I could say I did something exciting over the break, but I can’t. I’m glad I got some rest, though, because it is clear already that this semester will be even busier than last. We have a new class – Criminal Law -- that has taken the place of Torts. In Legal Writing, we are going to be writing briefs and giving oral arguments later this semester. This week, we got trained in how to use WestLaw and LexisNexis. It was a lot of information in a short amount of time, but I think some things stuck in my brain. One thing that stuck (possibly to the exclusion of more practical information) was that if I use one of the research engines enough, I could win an iPod! I actually already have an iPod, but I was still excited! I’m not sure what that says about me except that maybe I have a gadget fixation. That is certainly what my friends would say. I think I was just really enthusiastic about coming back to school, and my enthusiasm (this week anyway) knows no limitation. We’ll see how long my good mood lasts.
So, we’re halfway through exams -- two down with two to go. I think one of the biggest things I’m looking forward to doing after my last final is detoxing. I can’t lay any credible claim to following a healthy diet under normal circumstances, but I’m fairly certain that if I continue to consume Mountain Dew at the rate I have been since Thanksgiving, my family’s house will not require any additional Christmas lights. I’ll just put a sleeping bag under the tree and let my green, glowing body illuminate it. Ok, maybe that’s a bit extreme. But I do know that if internal organs could sue their host, I would be liable for all sorts of damage stemming from the abuse of Mountain Dew to my kidneys. So much that I’d most likely be out not just the two kidneys but ultimately an arm and a leg as well. And that would leave me deeply unattractive, if not dead. My point, if you were wondering, is that I have a lot of shaping up to do, and I’m not just talking about my health. If I’ve learned nothing else this semester (and I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things), I’ve learned that I need to start earlier – on everything. I need to start writing my memos earlier, outlining earlier, studying earlier, and probably waking up earlier, too. But anyway, those are concerns for next semester. For now, I would just like to wish everyone a wonderful, relaxing break from school. See you in January!
The last week of the semester passed without incident. We had a few review sessions (and still more to come), which was nice. Unlike two weeks ago when memo #3 was due, everybody was a little sleepy, but for the most part, surprisingly lucid – no more bloodshot twitches and nicotine eyes. Ok, strike that. Reverse it.
But it doesn’t really seem like the end of the semester. We still have finals, and other than Torts (to be replaced by Criminal Law), we have all of the same classes next semester. So not much is changing. I feel like I should make some resolutions for next semester. I don’t know why – I never keep any of my New Year’s resolutions, and anyway, I’d have to keep my resolution to make resolutions. We’ll see how that goes. Well anyway, good luck on exams, everyone!
Well, this was our last full week of school for the semester, but I barely noticed. We have our third memo (which counts for a terrifying 45% of our Legal Writing grade) due on Monday, so I have thought of little else but that memo all week. Focusing on the memo to the near exclusion of my other classes is exactly the trap that the folks in Academic Support warned all of us to avoid at the beginning of the semester, but I’ve never been good at following directions. Some of my friends have suggested that my inability to follow directions is evidence of a suppressed anti-authoritarian streak, but I’m afraid the embarrassing truth is that I have a pathetically short memory. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, it’s possible that my other classes have suffered a bit as a result, but that’s what Thanksgiving weekend is for – catching up on school. I’ll just have to try to stop myself from eating so much that I fall into a tryptophan coma, which may have happened last year, but . . . (wait for it!) . . . I don’t remember.
Last week, I noted that I was starting to get stressed out. This week, it became obvious that just about everyone else had reached that point, too. Most, if not all, of us got our second memos back this week, and, at least to me, the reaction seemed much more emotional than it had been for the first memo. Of course, the cold, impersonal, and some may even go so far as to say inhumane, grade curve ensures that all but a handful of people are going to be disappointed. But we knew that coming in. We had all heard about the great drama of law school - the intense competition, the unforgiving grade curve, the nervous breakdowns - before we started, and this week, everybody fell very neatly into their roles.
Seeing the previously comical tableaux of two students frantically comparing the lengths of their class outlines acted out in front of my eyes brought the problem into sharp focus. Although some people may be handling the stress better than others (outwardly, anyway), we've all gone a little mad. And I do mean "a little" in the sense that most people understand it - not the Norman Bates version. (In other words, don't despair, potential law students!) But anyway, we've all gone slightly loopy, and I want things to go back to how they were before. Not before school, but just back to the time when everyone was excited about studying and wanted to debate and, most importantly, was not obsessed with outlining.
So now, as I turn down invitations to go out with friends I knew from my other life, before law school, in favor of staying home to (you guessed it) outline, I realize just how much I want this semester to be over. After this week, I thought that all of us 1Ls could really use a weekend off, but who has time for that?
This week I finally started feeling stressed. Apparently, I'm an emotional procrastinator as well as being a garden-variety studying/working/doing household chores/making dental appointments/taking showers/updating the 1L diary procrastinator. Anyway, the amount of work we had wasn't much different than what we've had recently, and we didn't have a memo due or anything else out of the ordinary going on this week, so the heightened stress level was unexpected. Maybe it's because, as of today, we are just thirty-one days from the beginning of finals. Just looking that up on my calendar and typing that last sentence very nearly inspired me to take up smoking, so I think for now I'll move on to other, happier news.
This week, my section, Section 2, welcomed two babies into the world. (Not as a class, or anywhere on campus, or anything because that would be weird.) Congratulations to Lindsey and to Joshua who each added a new member to their families! It's nice to be reminded that life goes on outside of law school, and even though I don't know either of them well, I'm very happy for my two classmates who have new living, breathing proof of that.
This week saw some ingenious fund raising schemes. The most brilliant and exploitative (exploitative because they preyed on the poor 1Ls and charged us $5 instead of the $2 for the 2L and 3Ls) scheme was the Pumpkin Immunity Fundraiser by one of the fraternities. The other major fundraiser was the faculty auction, which I'm sure was hilarious, but you'll have to read about that somewhere else because I was at work when it happened. Anyway, this fraternity (sorry, I don't remember which one) sold paper pumpkins to students who then could use them to claim immunity in class on Wednesday and Thursday. There were, of course, the "Pumpkins? We don't need no stinkin' pumpkins!" people, but I know at least ¾ of my section bought one. The bizarre thing was that only 2 people actually used a pumpkin to get out of answering questions in class. It was especially funny in Torts because all of these people who had bought pumpkins just answered without invoking their pumpkin privileges. Maybe it's a pride thing, or maybe nobody wanted to be the first one to use the pumpkin. Or, maybe they just forgot that they had pumpkins because they were brain dead from doing their memos. Who knows? By the way, I can only make fun of these people because a) I have a forum in which to do so (Hello to the two people who read this regularly, Mom and Dad!) and b) I didn't actually get called on. But I'm sure I would have been brave enough to use my pumpkin. That's the story I'm going to stick with, anyway.
I returned from the idyllic world of New England in the fall to find myself completely snowed under back home in Texas. Snowed under by school work, of course - it's still entirely too hot here. But that's what happens when you join the week already in progress. You discover that school waits for no man or woman. Unless you are a Supreme Court justice.
Yes, that's right. As anyone who has been anywhere near the school or even the school's website knows, the big event of this week, really this semester (I could probably go on, but I'll leave it there), was Justice Anthony Kennedy's visit to dedicate the building. He arrived on Wednesday morning to speak to the faculty and staff over lunch, and then he gave a special lecture Wednesday evening. I didn't get a ticket to the lecture from the lottery, so I watched a closed circuit broadcast of it from one of the big classrooms. Although law geek fever was starting to affect most people during the day before the lecture, it hadn't quite reached everyone. In one of my classes, I heard some people talking excitedly about seeing Justice Kennedy speak and one person responding with something like "yeah, he's a Supreme Court justice, but he still puts his pants on one leg at a time." I laughed and silently agreed with him.
At least until the lecture. Justice Kennedy told stories about debating and deciding cases, including Texas v. Johnson, the famous flag-burning case. He told anecdotes about Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan. He described some of the differences between the culture of the American court system and the English court system with a very funny story (complete with impressions of the English judges!) about one of his visits to the House of Lords. There's really no way to describe the event without sounding like a Supreme Court cheerleader. It was just brilliant. The lecture was really the highlight of his visit for me, but the dedication ceremony at Bass Hall was very nice, too - aside from the fact that the stage looked like it was set for some bizarre version of Romeo and Juliet with two balconies. We even got to see our professors, resplendent in their robes, enter the auditorium to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance." It was all very festive, and by Thursday afternoon, I think we all felt extremely proud of our school. And I think many of us had a new idol, too.
I think we are about halfway through the semester now, and it is starting to feel like it. We had a practice exam in Contracts this week, and Academic Support is giving practice exams for our other classes starting this weekend. The professors had a panel for the 1Ls so that the students could ask questions about the exams. I actually could not go to the professor panel, and I am going to miss the Civil Procedure practice exam, too, because I had to leave town Thursday morning. I will be in Connecticut until Monday because my sister Laura is getting married this weekend! I hope my classmates took some good notes at the professor panel. Oh, and the Student Bar Association is having Casino Night this weekend at Billy Bob’s, so I hope everyone has fun. And, if the person who wins the iPod Nano doesn’t want it for some reason, well, I’d be happy to take it. Just a suggestion.
A bout of hay fever made this a pretty miserable week for me as I suspect it did for many people. I don’t even suspect it – I know because most of our lectures this week were almost completely obscured by the incessant sniffling. My plan for this weekend is to be put into a Benadryl-induced coma with specific instructions to be awoken only if a) the pollen count goes back to a bearable level, or b) Texas manages to beat OU. Oh yeah, and wake me up long enough for me to outline for Contracts because we have a practice exam on Monday. And I might need to stay awake long enough to work on my second memo. Yes, that’s right, memo number 2. We turned in the first memo on Monday, and the second memo was assigned on Wednesday. The fun never stops, not for hay fever or anything else. Not even for baseball playoffs which seem to bring the rest of the world to a grinding halt – well, maybe not really the rest of the world, but network television (which seems to be my only contact with the outside world) anyway. But at least I’m still using the word “fun” -- at least until next week when I’m feeling more alert and can think of some better euphemisms.
Well, week six was pretty good. I had been assuming all along that my level of stress would increase with each week that passed, but that really hasn't been the case. It definitely wasn't this week, even with the specter of the first memo (which is due on Monday!) trying its best to haunt me. But don't think I've been nonchalant about the memo. I have been giving it some serious thought - usually while I'm brushing my teeth, which is when I always have my most profound thoughts. I have even come over from (to?) the dark side on the citation issues I was having, but I doubt anyone - with the possible exception of my writing professor - cares about that.
Oh, this week I also learned a lot of my classmates' names. I realized that even though I see the same people every day, I don't know many of their names. So, I made an effort to learn them this week. I did this mostly in Torts because it is the only class in which our professor calls people by their full names and in which I don't sit near the front. In fact, I sit all the way at the back. Now as it turns out, some really nice people sit in the back, but I usually don't because I am slowly going blind. (That is why, incidentally, I feel ok about making fun of blind people. Plus, it's not like they are reading this journal anyway.) I'm pretty sure our Torts professor has two eyes and a nose, and I know he has a mouth because I can hear him talk, but beyond that, I couldn't say. I can, however, match his name with his face (at least as long as he is across a room), and now I can match names with the backs of several heads. I think this is progress.
This week I was called on in Torts for the first time - not because my professor randomly drew my name from his deck of cards but because I was late. 30 seconds late, yes, but late is late, and I respect that. I was on call before I even sat down (and took out my notes). It was very embarrassing, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been because the case was one that had made me laugh when I read it. I thought it was funny, and that helped me remember the details of the case better than I would otherwise have done. The fact that the case involved a blind man taking a fall probably does not speak very highly of me. But in my defense, it was really the details of the case that I found funny -- not the fact that the guy fell. I won't repeat the facts of the case here, but let's just say that when a blind man turns his head to LOOK at someone who has called out his name and subsequently falls, regardless of any other circumstances, it's funny. Or maybe it's not, and I'm just mean. Either way, my point is...actually, I don't remember what my point was. Use your strengths, maybe. If your strength is an ability to laugh at blind people, er, I mean, to find humor in unlikely situations, you may be able to use it to your advantage.
Law school will change you. That's what our dean told us during orientation. Law school will change you. I had assumed that the change would happen gradually and that it would be passive. But, I was wrong. It happens by force. The professors have thrown enough information with enough velocity to rearrange my DNA, and I don't even know what I am supposed to look like anymore. (At least I hope this is not what I looked like before.) Maybe it's just lack of sleep. And speaking of sleep, even my subconscious doesn't remember what it's like not to be in law school. I have actually started dreaming about class. The dreams disturbed me until I heard other people say they also dream about school.
I have yet to dream about writing memos, but I'm sure that will happen soon. Because...this week, there was even more fun to be had with memos than last week! I have had a particularly hard time remembering to cite to the cases after every single sentence. Yes, every single sentence. This is the way it's done, though, and who am I to blow against the wind? Still, I can't help but think this is overkill. See Mixon v. Bluebook, 2005 B.M.M.1. See, that was a little citation joke about how that was the first decision I've made all year. I know. It's not very funny. Blame my altered brain chemistry.9/9/05
Well, not much of consequence happened this week - to me, anyway. The week after Labor Day is always weird and a little depressing, I think. The fact of summer being over finally sinks in, and everyone attempts to settle in for the long haul. I spent most of the week irritable (and no doubt, irritating) from the return to no sleep after a long and restful weekend. I was, however, stirred from my crankiness by one of my classmate's distress over her accidental registration with one of the school's many extracurricular organizations. I thought the Law School Society for Recidivist Streakers had an admirable mission statement, but she insists it was a mistake. Actually, the club she unintentionally signed up with was the Wesleyan Republicans, which some might contend is equally ridiculous. (Note: the views expressed in this diary are exactly those of the writer except in the cases when they are not.) Anyway, the matter has been resolved, and we all learned a valuable lesson about the perils of carelessly trading our signatures for free cookies.
Oh yes, the 1Ls were assigned our first memos this week. I shall begin working on mine this weekend because I am some kind of fool (or because a partial draft is due next week). I think most of us are probably appropriately nervous about this assignment, but still eager for an opportunity for some actual feedback. The lack of regular feedback (i.e. grades) throughout the semester is maybe one of the most jarring and anxiety-inducing changes from undergraduate school to law school. Everyone seems to be holding up pretty well, as far as I can tell, but then, it is only the end of week three...
Earlier this week, I resolved that, starting this weekend, I would do all of my reading for the following week during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Give myself time to digest the information. Don't eat too soon before swimming; don't read too soon before going to class. It makes sense, right? Well, speaking as someone who could easily qualify for the Olympics in the events of procrastination, time wasting, and the very closely related time mismanagement (these events are not televised for obvious reasons), I felt this was a very bold resolution indeed. I was already well into the process of congratulating myself for such a show of brilliance when I went to an Academic Support lecture on Thursday. According to the TA's for Academic Support, I have now elevated myself to a C student. Let me tell you something, all of you prospective student types out there, being humbled like that is a constant occurrence in law school (and incidentally, humility isn't really a common characteristic of the particular strain of personality types that law schools generally attract). So I cried a little, did some self-flagellation, and moved on.
Hmm, what else happened this week? Well, I got to spend some quality time in the library -- not just sitting at a table studying either. Actually, all of the 1Ls did. We had an assignment to find federal cases in the various reporters. Real book learnin' is what I'm talking about here. As a member of a generation who rarely sees the printed word but on a computer screen and has had very little cause to find research materials without the aid of the internet, I have to say I actually enjoyed this little assignment. I even told one of my classmates that I like being "amongst the books," and I do. What I do not like, however, is the death trap otherwise known as the moving shelf system. Designed by the devil himself, I tell ya. I understand the logic of the setup and, admittedly, can offer no viable alternative, but it still scares me stupid. But, facing fear is a good thing, and the federal cases assignment did help me on this front. I am no longer thrown into a state of near-catatonia like I was during the utterly terrifying demonstration of how not to get squished by the shelves that we had during orientation. Oh, and one more thing about the moving bookshelves: can we please stop with the standing and reading while still in the aisles? I won't mention any names because I don't want to end up on the receiving end of a bookshelf-related battery, but come on.
Ok, that's all for this week. Have a happy extended weekend, everyone!
It's a strange and unpredictable world, I always say. One day you're working as a clerk at a law firm, and the next you're sitting in your first law school class.
Huh. Okay, so maybe it's not that strange after all. Except for brief flirtations with the ideas of going to medical school, running a used book shop, writing a newspaper relationships advice column, being a time-traveling scientist, and becoming White House Chief of Staff, I have always wanted to go to law school. Leaving aside the fact that I look fantastic in scrubs, if one considers that I made all of the above mentioned declarations of ambition while a member of a pre-law social club at UT, a reasonable person would objectively determine that I was never really committed to any of those other ambitions, and he/she/it/they would be right.
So, here I am -- one week into my first year, and not yet worse for the wear. I have only one professor who uses the "deck of cards" method for calling on students, and surprisingly, it is not nearly as scary or obnoxious as I thought it might be. The most frightening thing I have faced this week is the prospect of a lot less sleep than I prefer for the next three years. I have no idea why I was picked to be a diarist; I can only assume that several more interesting people than I turned it down for reasons of their own. But anyway, I will do my best to record the most exciting events of this year in a way that doesn't bore anyone who isn't directly related to me.