Undergraduate School: Texas Wesleyan University
Undergraduate Major: English (Writing Concentration) & Exercise Science
Hometown: Varberg, Sweden
Status: Full-Time Day
5/15/13 - Another year in the books. Quite literally, actually. It seems like it was only yesterday I was still trying to figure out how to brief a case and what the tort version of a battery is. At the same time, every time I have a chance to briefly pause and throw a quick glance over my shoulder, it amazes me how much ground I have covered. As I write this, I sit in my hotel room in New York on my mini vacation/almost timely birthday celebration. So far I have managed to balance fun with business and have been working on the Moot Court brief and Law Review planning in between Broadway shows and Stanley Cup hockey in the Garden. Last night, I ran into Iron Man by Times Square. He looks a lot taller on TV… Thursday, I will return to Fort Worth and gear back up for a very intense, but also incredibly exciting, summer.
Monday, I start a six-week clerkship in Fort Worth. I cannot wait to spend time in the legal community and explore several new areas of law. I am still looking for my fit. As little as a year ago, not knowing what area I want to practice concerned me, but I have since come to see the benefits of being flexible. After the first six weeks of the summer, I will spend five weeks in Austin to intern with Justice Lehrmann’s Chambers at the Texas Supreme Court. I have found a room to rent, so the only thing I have left to do before this internship starts is attend the orientation in Austin next Friday. This internship is a wonderful opportunity, and it should be fairly obvious why I am so excited about the upcoming summer.
Last Saturday, the outgoing Law Review Board graduated, and my fellow incoming Board members and I officially took office. Law Review will consume large amounts of time and energy over the next year and will require many hours of my time over the summer. Still, I am childishly excited about the privilege of really late nights and really early mornings! Think about it. Three years ago, I doubted that I had what it takes to get accepted to law school. Two years ago, I was preparing for my first year. One year ago, I was anxiously hitting “refresh” to see whether those last 1L grades would drop in and let me know that it would all be okay. One year from today, I will be a law school graduate, and I want to make the most out of my last year as a law student.
5/10/13 - I would be lying if I said that this round of finals was not the roughest I’ve been through so far. I feel like I have been playing catch-up ever since this semester started. Still, I felt fairly okay with my performance on each exam. But, the truth is that it is always so hard, if not impossible, to gauge your performance on a law school exam. I am really happy that I at least feel like I was able to establish a pretty broad knowledge and understanding of all the courses I took. Of course that does not by default mean that I did well enough on the exams to be rewarded with the grades I want, especially considering the curve, but it still provides a certain level of satisfaction. I have completed my 2L year and now may step into the 3L world, and just knowing that the next step will be graduation feels pretty good!
The first thing I do after every completed law school final is to put away all materials for the class. While it may sound quite insignificant, it provides great closure. During the course of a full semester, I never really put away things so, towards the end, quite a pile of study materials has piled up. So, course-by-course, it provides me a great sense of relief to clear out my study area.
Now when I have put away all my course materials, I need to get working on everything that is left. I still have a Moot Court brief to write over the next few weeks, and the incoming Law Review board takes office on Saturday when our predecessors graduate. With finals behind us, we will have plenty to do. And, in only 10 days, my 6-week summer clerkship starts!
Remember the MPRE I said I was taking this semester? (If not, see March 27 blog). I received my test score the other day and am happy to share that I passed.
Almost forgot: Congratulations to all my graduating friends!
4/24/13 - So here we are again. The relief from classes being over mixes with the anticipation for finals. The resulting anxiety is not nearly as prevalent as previous semesters, but I do recognize that I have plenty of studying to do. Yet another hectic semester forces me to play catch-up to get ready. My first scheduled final is on April 30, followed by finals on May 6 and 7. In addition, I have a “floating” take-home final that I can download and take within 24 hours at any time of my choosing during our final-exam period. To the extent I can, I will focus all my time and energy to prepare for finals, but I have already realized that I will not be able to not attend to Law Review for two-three full weeks. Looking back, my “overwhelming” final-exam experience from my first two semesters was quite a catch.
Last weekend I spent mostly working, but I allowed myself to take Saturday off to go to the Crawfish Boil and, in the evening, the musical “Into the Woods,” performed as part of the alumni events on the Texas Wesleyan historic campus. Sunday, the Law Review held its end-of-the-year dinner and recognized outstanding members, as well as those selected for publication next year. Huge congrats to my fellow bloggers Larisa, Anthony, and Sam!
Well, I better get back to the books. I just have to keep reminding myself that May 7 is only so far away . . . .
4/17/13 - Friday was my last day with the Court of Appeals. For this time, maybe I should add. After all, last time I thought I was done, I ended up coming back pretty soon. Just like last time, it was a very beneficial experience, but I am also glad to free up little bit more time to study before finals. On second thought, “free up” may be somewhat misleading, as my Moot Court team has begun working to prepare for our competition this summer. My teammates are currently researching the law at issue and will share their findings with me. Hopefully, I can put together a draft, even if only a rough one, over the weekend, so that we don’t have to start from scratch when picking it back up after finals.
Friday, after wrapping up my responsibilities at the Court, I went to Barrister’s Ball, also known as the “Law School Prom.” Last year, I was unable to go (read: I was stuck at home working on a school project), so it was fun to take part of the festivities along with most of my best friends from school. While classes are wrapping up and finals move closer, this is also the time of year when a fair number of social events/celebrations take place. I am trying to make myself available for most of them, but I also have to balance my pre-existing obligations (unfortunately, they tend to not go away just because I decide to do something else). With that said, I will split my time this weekend between working on the Moot Court brief, helping out at the Crawfish Boil, and attending the Law Review dinner.
If you are a future student, I hope to see you at the Crawfish Boil on Saturday. If you spot me, please come over and say “hi”. I would love to meet you!
4/3/13 - I decided to go with a fall schedule that allows me to knock out 4 out of my 5 remaining classes. The price to be paid: 4 finals in 5 days. The prize: an extremely flexible and quite light spring 2014 schedule. While my finals will be very close to each other in December, my semester schedule looks quite pleasant. My classes are spread out, and one of my classes will meet only one evening per week. Besides, Criminal Procedure, Wills & Estates, Professional Responsibilities, and Sports Law make for a pretty interesting mix.
I am particularly excited about Wills & Estates and Sports Law. Before I decided to go to law school, I sat in on Professor Alton’s Wills & Estates class. I really enjoyed the experience and meeting with Professor Alton, and I have wanted to take the class with him every since. Having taken several evening classes this year, I was looking to return to more of a day schedule next semester, but Professor Alton’s class is offered only in the evening. I don’t want to wait and see what the situation will be my last semester and risk missing the opportunity.
During my first semester of law school, when asked what area of law I wanted to practice, I often answered that I was interested in sports law—just because I have always played and enjoyed sports. When I learned that I can satisfy my oral skills requirement by taking Sports Law, I felt that I kind of owe it to myself to bring some sports back into my life—even if it’s in academic form.
Today, I was part of a panel for this year’s 1L students, sharing my experiences from last semester’s interviewing process. If you were not able to attend, know that the 2Ls and 3Ls are more than happy to share their thoughts and advice—all you have to do is stop us in the hallway or send us an e-mail.
3/27/13 - Wednesday night before Spring Break, I hit “submit” and made my Oil & Gas memo a part of the past. The next morning, I was on a flight to Jamaica. The trip was just as much of a well-needed break as I was hoping. I mixed beach naps with waterfall climbs, great local food, and live reggae music. For six days, the only bit of work I did was read through the rules and an outline for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which I’m planning on taking next week. Of course, once I got home, I had to play catch-up, but I would definitely do it all over again.
The incoming Law Review board is full of excitement, and we have been working non-stop since before Spring Break to familiarize ourselves with the necessary processes and get ready to take office in May. Last week the Law Review hosted its 5th Annual Energy Symposium. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the symposium last year, but this time I was trying to learn as much as possible to be ready for next year. There were several really interesting presentations, and I look forward to start working on the 6th Annual Energy Symposium.
We have only about three weeks of class left before finals. As always, I wonder where the semester went, how I will find the time to get ready for finals, and what to take next semester. At least I am happy to honestly say that the final exams do indeed become decreasingly intimidating over time, probably because we are getting used to them, their structure, and any associated stress and because our GPAs are harder to upset for every semester that passes.
I’m still working on setting my schedule for the fall semester. Based on the courses I have already taken and the courses I want/need to take, the classes offered do not provide much room for flexibility, and I will probably have to make a decision based on a preference of courses I want/need to take over a manageable final-exam schedule. I’ll figure it out over Easter weekend. Speaking of Easter weekend, I’m so glad we get Friday off because I have to catch up on some sleep…
3/6/13 - This has been a busy but very rewarding last couple of weeks. The last six days before the Law Review paper was due, I performed some major reconstructive surgery on my draft. Because of the late changes, I was working all the way up to the deadline. Looking back, it was definitely worth it, as I am much more satisfied with the product I ended up submitting than with the product I was working on only a week earlier. While I don’t ever feel like anything I submit is truly done, I am learning to work with deadlines rather than perfection.
I am excited to share that I will have the honor and privilege to serve as the Editor-in-Chief for the Law Review next year. The current board held interviews last week and announced its decisions on Saturday. My fellow soon-to-be board members and I have received a lot of information over the last couple of days and have hit the ground running, and I am fortunate to be part of such a great group of people.
Besides from final edits, my Oil & Gas memo is close to complete. Before I can jump into the swimsuit and head to the Jamaican beach for a few days, I have an extensive to-do list to get through today.
Enjoy your break and be safe!
2/20/13 - We are roughly half way through the spring semester. It is funny how I have been working on this Law Review paper since early fall semester, always making sure that I am in a better place than I need to be at each scheduled deadline and checkpoint, and still find myself panting trying to get it to where I want it to be by 11:59 Monday night. I have received some very valuable feedback, which I greatly appreciate. While it at first is discouraging to hear someone poke holes in your “brilliant” product, that is exactly what needs to be done. I am planning on dedicating most of my out-of-class time and this weekend to make sure that the feedback I received is put to good use. My goal is to experience not only a sense of relief but also a true sense of satisfaction when I submit my paper on Monday. After all the hours I have invested in this paper, I owe it to myself to give it once last push, one final effort. Regardless of whether my paper is selected for publication, I want to know that I “left it all on the field.”
When not working on my paper, I have done some preliminary research for my Oil & Gas memo. I hope I have collected enough information to start the writing process as soon as I have submitted my Law Review paper. The Oil & Gas memo is due right before spring break. Notice the word “break.” I will spend the first part in Jamaica. I am very excited to visit a new place and experience another culture! And, of course, I look forward to a well-needed change of pace before getting back into the semester grove.
I am not quite there yet, though, but it sure will be a lot easier to push through the next two weeks knowing the reward waiting around the corner.
2/6/13 - I am sure you are all wondering how the Houston competition went. Well, I made it as far as the nice welcome reception on Wednesday evening. When I woke up Thursday, I did not feel great, and I soon realized that whatever stomach bug is going around had gotten me. I went back to bed and pretty much stayed there until it was time to go home on Saturday.
Unfortunately, I missed out on what would have been a great experience, but my more positive side keeps telling me that at least I was already missing class because I was in Houston. With that in mind, the glass looks half-full to me. I do appreciate my friends having my back while I was gone. I received plenty of notes covering all the classes I missed.
Last Friday, I could finally spend my first full day with the Court of Appeals and was able to get some work done. Getting started only made me more excited about the different challenges presented by a complex case (“complex,” of course, compared to what I have worked on before).
We are already almost 5 weeks into the spring semester, and it is starting to get a little hectic. My Law Review paper is due in the end of February, and I have a memo due for Oil & Gas shortly thereafter. I anticipate that the entire semester will be busy, but I also think that everything will feel a little easier once I have submitted my Law Review paper since that has been on my to-do list since August last year. Speaking of that to-do list, I better get back to work!
1/23/13 - Considering how extremely busy my fall semester was, I am in no position to complain about my grades now when I have them all and have had a moment to reflect upon them. The semester was a beating, and I am very glad that I turned out okay.
I am starting to get into a weekly routine. With all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the mid-week is obviously my busiest time. As my classes have now met a few times, I am starting to figure out what classes I am able to read ahead for and which ones I have to prepare for closer to class time.
Two Fridays ago, I visited the Court of Appeals for orientation and paperwork purposes so that I would be able to dive in last Friday, which was my first day. Well, I ended up going to the afternoon Appellate Seminar at the law school last Friday, so my first day with the Court wasn’t that much of a dive. All there was time for was a shy “maybe I’ll get my toes wet.” Still, it was good to be back, and I look forward to try my hands at some work of higher complexity than my last time around.
It will be a little while before I can really get started with my work at the Court, though. By the time this blog is posted, I am probably in Houston to attend my first Moot Court competition. With the assistance of my two teammates, I wrote the brief last semester. Now it is their turn to perform, as they will argue the issues. They have practiced a lot lately, and I have been sitting in the times I have been available. It has been very interesting to observe the process, and it will be even more interesting to see how we do in Houston. The competition does mean that I miss my next Court Friday and 4 classes. I have been fortunate enough to not miss a class up until this point, but there is a first for everything. I have asked around nicely for friends to take notes for me.
Keep your fingers crossed for us at the competition!
1/9/13 - As often before, a long-anticipated break passed way too fast. It was great to have Mom here. Between Christmas and New Years, we drove down to San Antonio and spent some time on the Riverwalk and visiting the Alamo (another step closer to qualify as a Texan!). We also stopped in Austin on the way to visit the Capitol and the Texas Supreme Court (which was closed for the holidays, but at least I now know where to go in July). The last week of the break, I was fighting a quite persistent cold. One of those that don’t keep you in bed all day, but significantly reduces your energy and interferes with whatever you are trying to get done. I still managed to make some progress on my Law Review article (I believe the correct term really is “comment”—not “article,” but it is easier to motivate yourself to plow through endless piles of research if you are working on something that sounds a little bit more significant than a “comment”).
Last semester, I tried something new and did not have any classes before 3 PM. This semester, I am changing things up again by having all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The amount of reading for those days is obviously…quite large; I just have to make sure to plan ahead (and, preferably, follow said plan). Having survived my first Tuesday, I am sure it will work out. Due to the large amount of heavy law books to drag around at the same time, I caved in and joined the rolling book-bag club.
I will still be doing Moot Court, as I think I benefited greatly from my practical brief-writing experience last semester. For similar reasons, I am really excited that I will return to the Second Court of Appeals this semester. I learned so much during my time there last summer and really look forward to further develop my research and writing skills.
I am still waiting on most of my grades from last semester. The one I have I am happy with, but I will postpone my performance evaluation until the remaining grades are accounted for.
12/18/12 - That cruise was just what I needed! No phone, no e-mail, no Facebook, and—most importantly—no “have-tos” for 4 days. The departure was delayed, but that was nothing that a $50 spending credit didn’t take care of. It was wonderful to wake up each day and, if I felt like it, make a decision about what to do. If I didn’t feel like making a decision, I found a nice lounge chair/bed and visited nap land. The most intense part of the trip was probably the sand volleyball in Progreso, Mexico. I can’t go for 4 days without letting out at least some competitive steam!
Mom had safely arrived when I got back. She was 4 hours delayed, not because any Swedish snow but because rain in New York. Now we can all start preparing for both Swedish and American Christmas (one of many great advantages of mixed cultures and traditions).
Seeing the fall semester—my third semester of law school—slowly disappearing into the distance in the rear-view mirror, I look back at 2012 with satisfaction. I have worked hard and placed nearly all my focus on law school in an attempt to get the very most out of this experience, and so far I have been fortunate to see my hard work pay off in more than one way. Sometimes I have come close to thinking that I have been pushing myself too hard, but as long as everything is done for an articulated purpose, it is easy for me to find the energy and focus to get the job done. I just need to make sure that I balance my purposes: I can tell that my body is no fan of the steady decline of physical activity it has seen lately. I have to make exercise a priority in 2013.
For now, I have 2 weeks of fun with family and friends to look forward to, and it is exactly what I need to get ready for the spring semester! I promise, I will not touch . . . barely touch . . . eh, well, I will at least not let the law books be the #1 priority over the break—that law review comment is not going to write itself . . .
Happy Holidays and all the best for 2013!
12/12/12 - I am officially halfway through law school! Monday night at 9:30, the proctor of my Payment Systems final announced, “Time’s up,” and my 4-finals-in-8-days experience came to an end. It was tough. Having had to fight to keep my head above water all semester, this round of finals was just as painful as I anticipated, but at least I can look back knowing that I left it all on the field.
My preparations were not ultimate. A couple of days before my Business Associations final, I suffered a paper cut when making flash cards for Texas Trials & Appeals. As if that was not enough, my lucky Red Bull was nowhere to be seen. A Band-Aid and a replacement Red Bull later, I found myself back on track.
In case you did not know, 8 days can feel like an eternity, but still pass ridiculously quickly during law school finals. It takes me a while to actually grasp that I am . . . do I dare to say it? . . . done. I always find particular joy in placing each course’s books on the shelf following the final—it gives a nice sense of closure, and I am sure my family is excited to regain access to the living room table (assuming they remember we actually had one). In only a few days, I will be on my Caribbean adventure, as far away as I can get from studying, e-mails, phone calls, and texts. Assuming that the snow in Sweden (actual snow, not to be confused with the word “snow” generously used around here) does not cause any major delays, Mom will be here to greet me when I return. The good times are rolling!
I know that none of you doubted my ability to focus, but I still want you to know that FIFA 13 has remained wrapped. That, if anything, should tell you how insane the last 2 weeks have been.
11/28/12 - I have had my last class for the semester. That means that I am “only” 4 finals from being halfway through law school, 15 days from a Caribbean cruise, and probably 5–10 lbs from being in shape.
During my 1L year, everything related to my course and final exam schedule was laid out for me in what appeared to be the most advantageous way possible. Most significantly, my final exams were generously spaced out, and my schedule allowed time for recovery, video games, and a fair amount of sleep between the finals.
1Ls: Enjoy it while you can. I remember in the spring that I was trying to piece my fall semester together, mainly taking into account the time and days classes met and the final exam schedule. I finally settled on a schedule with no classes before 3 PM and 4 finals in 8 days. I am not complaining, because I have heard of many similar or more compact exam schedules.
Monday evening, Business Associations kicks off the party, followed by Constitutional Law on Tuesday afternoon, Texas Trials & Appeals on Friday, and Payment Systems on Monday. I figured that it wouldn’t be too bad to start back-to-back since I have a few extra days to prepare before the first two finals. Then I have two-day increments to recharge before each of the following two finals (as well as before making the Caribbean unsafe for 4 days!).
Speaking of exams . . . we received our Con Law midterm grades this week. I performed fairly well and should probably be happy with my grade, especially considering the dense material and my extremely hectic semester. The exam was worth 50% of our grade, and there is plenty of material to master by Tuesday.
I know I said that I will reward myself with a cruise after finals this year instead of a new video game. Well, studying while keeping an eye on online Black Friday deals, I didn’t have to work too hard to convince myself that I should have both. FIFA 13 arrived in the mail today. It will be a true test of character to see how long it will remain wrapped.
See you on the other side . . .
11/20/12 - Last weekend was busy, but it was a good busy. I spent all day Friday reading for this next week's classes. In the evening, I attended a rehearsal dinner before staying up until 4 a.m. working on the Moot Court brief. I was fortunate enough to get to spend Saturday as a groomsman at my good friend’s wedding (congrats Whitney and Kyle!).
On Sunday, while the happy couple took off for the Bahamas, I made final edits to the brief. The brief problem was assigned on October 8. Monday, endless of hours and 48 pages later, I submitted the final version for the competition. In late January, I will learn how it turned out in the eyes of the judges. No matter the result and disregarding the late nights and many hours spent, it has been very rewarding to push myself through this process. My two teammates and I were allowed to discuss the problem only between the three of us, so this was the first time I wrote something on which I could not receive professor feedback. I feel a nice sense of completion having submitted the brief.
Despite the fact that the brief will not be graded, I cannot help but feel anxiety similar to that I felt after submitting my first memo a little over a year ago. While a poor job does not affect my GPA, I want to show the people who invited me to write the brief that they made a good choice. While the process was a fairly heavy addition to an already busy schedule, I hope I will have the opportunity to do it again. Practical experiences are very valuable and I will take every chance can get to gain some hands-on exposure while in law school.
Word on the street is that we hopefully have our midterm grades from Con Law early next week. It will give me an idea about where I stand. Having had my last Payment System class for the semester, things are definitely on their way to wrap up and, with the brief out of the way, I can turn my attention to preparing for finals. Some classes will require more preparation than others. A year ago, I bought myself a new video game as a reward. This time, a 4-day Caribbean cruise awaits me in the horizon. If that doesn’t motivate me, I don’t know what will.
11/7/12 - Wow, every time I think I have the best summer experience possible ahead of me, the summer somehow manages to become even better. Since last I wrote, I have been offered the opportunity to spend the second half of the summer with Justice Lehrmann’s chambers at the Texas Supreme Court. After my time with the Second Court of Appeals last summer, I know and appreciate the value of judicial internships, and I am really excited that I will gain some invaluable experience from the highest civil court in the state!
As if this jackpot summer wasn’t enough, I will somehow still be able to make it to my friend Sebastian’s wedding in Sweden right before school starts back up in the fall. Keep in mind that I was an English major, but I don’t think it is mathematically possible for the pieces to fall in place more perfectly for the summer.
In other news, I figured out a schedule for the spring. I hope and believe that it will be manageable. I will be taking Evidence, Marital Property, Federal Income Tax, and Oil & Gas, and I plan on keeping up with my several other commitments. If it sounds like a busy schedule, that’s because it is. Still, I can’t in my wildest imagination see how anything could be nearly as busy as this semester and, in the end, I see a purpose in everything I am doing.
At least I can start scratching “big things” on my to-do list: the Law Review comment draft was well received by my assigned editor, the spring schedule and next summer are completely set, and I now “only” have the Moot Court brief keeping me from studying for finals. Speaking of the Moot Court brief, I spent last weekend putting together a 21-page draft. As painful as it was to push through that in a short period of time, writing usually becomes significantly easier once you have passed the first hurdle. I plan on another round of progress the upcoming weekend. The brief is due November 19, and I am looking forward to some well-needed sleep after that!
10/24/12 - After a 3-month process, I am thrilled to have secured a great position for next summer! I did initial research and drafted applications early in the summer, sent out applications in early August while in Sweden, and have been interviewing since late August. I have said it before, and I will say it again: this process, while sometimes draining, has been very rewarding. I have had the opportunity to meet many highly successful professionals. Had you asked me 3 months ago, I would have never even dared to hope for the positive response I received on my applications. Not only have I met many great individuals, but I have also had the chance to visit some very impressive law firms. When the interview process was wrapping up, I was very fortunate to have offers from several very good firms, all of which were great opportunities. While I soon realized that I could not go wrong with any of the firms, I am very excited to have made the decision I made, and I really look forward to the summer!
We are now in week 10 of class, and I have submitted my first, rough, 12-page draft of my Law Review comment. The final product is due late February, and this project will satisfy our writing requirement. The next draft deadline is not until January, so I plan on spending a fair amount of time on this project over the break, and now focus my efforts on the Moot Court brief, which is due November 19th. I spent a fair amount of time this weekend researching the problem. Now I “only” need to wrap my brain around what I have found. While this constitutes plenty of additional work, frustration, and stress right before finals, I have no doubt that I will benefit greatly from the process.
It is also time to decide on a schedule for next semester. I have the general structure clear to me, but I am still figuring out what combination of classes will provide the best and most manageable schedule.
10/10/12 - Because I had already planned for some downtime with some of my study-group members, and it occurred to me that last weekend marked the half-way point for the semester, I decided to gently apply the brakes and allow myself to spend the entire weekend with a more relaxed mindset. I am really glad I did, because the last couple of weeks have been draining. I had several deadlines and a big midterm coinciding with the conclusion of the interview process for next summer. Friday night, I went to an outdoor theatre production, and I spent Saturday evening with at least part of my study friends (with everyone’s different schedules, it is even harder to get all of us together this year). By the time Sunday came around, I was glad to see that my batteries seemed to have recharged—at least enough to get me through a few more weeks.
The midterm was . . . well, I am not quite sure what it was. Once I get it back with a grade on it, it will either indicate that I managed to figure out how standing, the Commerce Clause, and the Taxing Power work, or it will show that I only thought I had figured it out. At this point I can only cross my fingers and hope for the former.
With interviews and the midterm out of the way, I caught myself wondering what I would do with all my new found spare time. Should I allow myself to enjoy a guaranteed six hours of sleep every night? No, I can spoil myself with that luxury over Christmas break.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to become part of a Texas Wesleyan Moot Court team as a brief writer, and I will soon start working on a brief that is due around Thanksgiving. The actual competition will be held late January. While this commitment adds to an already full plate, those of you who have ever seen me at a buffet know that I will figure this out as well.
9/26/12 - Has it really already been two weeks since the last blog? For those of you who wonder, a packed schedule appears to have the same effect as a final exam: you work and work without stopping, and when you occasionally look up, you wonder where time went.
Interview season is about to come to an end. Throughout this process, I have had the pleasure of meeting many interesting, successful, and experienced professionals. I can already see that I have grown significantly over the last few weeks alone; I have gained both perspective and confidence and, while I recognize that I have three more semesters to complete, I am eager to start my legal career. My next step on that path will be to make some important decisions about next summer.
In other news, it is that time of year again. Each of my two previous semesters, I have had one midterm exam, and one midterm is what I am facing this semester. This time, Constitutional Law is on the agenda, and I am evenly splitting my emotions between hope and despair. Being from Sweden, I had absolutely no knowledge about the American Constitution before this course—other than it gives every Texan the right to carry at least a couple of guns or something like that. Either way, I do not plan on arguing the point with someone who probably carries one. Since late August, my understanding of the Constitution has vastly improved, and I am carefully optimistic that I have grasped enough to do well on this exam. At least I am not as freaked out now as I was about a year ago.
After this hectic week comes to an end, I am looking forward to a social with my study group the following weekend. We have all added to our plates this semester, but I am glad that we still find the time to enjoy an occasional book-free visit.
9/12/12 - We are already halfway through week four of class, and I am slowly settling in with my schedule. It is a different experience to blog only every two weeks and without the first-year excitement that accompanied most experiences last year. The situation is quite similar to when I first came to the U.S. and reported back to family and friends about my daily visits to Wal-Mart; after a while, it’s just not that exciting to hear about what I did all day, every day. It will probably take me a little while to find my new angle for the blog, but I will get there.
One observation I have made so far is that it is amazing what a little perspective can do for you. Having been away from the school for just a couple of months, and now seeing a new group of 1Ls in the hallways, the personal growth I experienced and the distance I traveled last year have become so much more obvious. I keep catching myself trying to identify my group of friends from last year in this year’s 1L’s. Who is the new Braxton? Probably no one. I am pretty sure there is only one Braxton.
Before I sign off, a quick update on my job quest for next summer: I am fortunate enough to find myself with a couple of interviews. The interviewing process obviously adds to what is already a close-to-saturated schedule, but this is a very exciting time, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will lead to an exciting future.
8/29/12 - My time in Sweden came and went and, before I knew it, I hit the ground running in Fort Worth again. Having grinded through a week and a half of my 2L year so far, the contrast to my first year could not be much clearer. The general structure of my life is very different this school year. I no longer work outside of school and have moved off campus to instead live with my family. If that were all the changes, this year would seem like a breeze compared to last. But, not surprisingly, I have become more involved at the law school and probably will actually find myself busier this year than last.
Last year, I usually arrived at school at 9:30 or 10 in the morning and rarely stayed later than 3 or 4 in the afternoon. To compare, I usually arrive at school about the same time this year, but I often don’t leave until about 9 pm, after spending 12 hours at the school in one visit. Last year, doing so seemed like something I would never be able to do. So far, though, I am really enjoying my second year and all that comes with it (long days, late hours, more activities than I can keep up with, etc.) in addition to classes and reading. As long as I see a purpose with everything I am doing, I know I will be able to keep up with it all.
In the spring, I was applying for internships for this summer and was fortunate to have the opportunity to gain experience from the Second Court of Appeals. The process starts even earlier for next summer. I sent out applications while I was in Sweden and am very excited to already have received some positive responses at the initial stage. Hopefully I will be able to report back with some good news down the road.
It is good to be back in school. I realized pretty quickly that I missed this place and the people I always see here. I am excited to see what this year will bring!
7/18/12 - I am officially on vacation! As I am writing this blog, I have been airborne for a little over an hour and am on my way to spend some quality time with family and friends in Sweden. The last year has been exciting, stressful, challenging, developing, and rewarding. It has not been relaxing, so for the next 23 days, I plan on dedicating all my time to recreational activities and relaxation.
I am also very excited that Joe is going with me on this trip! This will be his first visit to Sweden. We will make a day-long stop in Amsterdam on the way, see the Anne Frank House, and visit one of Joe’s former students, who now lives and works in Amsterdam. Then we will carry on to Sweden for two days in Stockholm and two days with my friend Sebastian before we arrive at mom’s early Sunday evening.
The last year flew by, and I think it will take quite a while for me to take it all in, to gain some perspective, and to get mentally prepared to do it all over again. Well, this time I will not feel lost the first week of school, look like a deer in the headlights if asked a question, or lose a significant amount of weight the first few weeks of school (at least I hope so).
I’ve been trying to think of some good piece of advice to give the incoming students. Just know that hard work and wise priorities always pay off in the long run. If you ever experience that hopelessly dark and empty feeling, just remember that it is never as dark as right before the sun rises (cheesy but true). If there is anything I can do to help you through what I’ve just been through, please do not hesitate to ask! I found that upper-level students are not only a great source of information but also very willing to help.
See you in August!
6/13/12 – On Monday afternoon, my last spring grade dropped in and concluded my 1L year. A quick peek in the rearview mirror, and I can proudly say that I have accomplished more than I ever dared to hope for; I am looking back with no regrets but would like to make it perfectly clear that I was far from alone on my first-year journey. Family and friends (unconditional love, support, and understanding), professors and staff at the law school (support, advice, and a never-ending willingness to help), co-workers (flexibility and support), fellow law students (no one understands better what you are going through than someone is right there next to you), SpongeBob (for obvious reasons)…the list can go on forever and is by no means all-inclusive. You know who you are, and I could not have done it without you. I was lucky enough to infiltrate a group of great people who gracefully let me study with them: Jonathon, Kyle, and Andrew. You guys rock (not only because you just never complain about my crappy jokes).
With grades posted, the next “checkpoint” to look for is the class rankings. While we are all eagerly anticipating those (some more so than others), my time with the Second Court of Appeals is flying by—I am already halfway through week four. I am still enjoying every moment of this experience, and it is the perfect icing on an overall really sweet year. (Yes, I just compared my 1L year to a cake, probably chocolate-flavored.) By the time I am writing my next blog, I will hopefully be enjoying the beginning of a long-wanted and, dare I say, well-deserved vacation. Until then!
5/25/12 - Finally began cleaning out my refrigerator today. Found some stuff that might have been in there since before the Civ Pro midterm… couldn’t help but wonder if that would be a “bright line” even for Professor Penrose. If you were in the same class this semester, you know what I am talking about.
In my last blog, I said that I was unable to provide an adequate and just reflection on my first year of law school. Some time has passed, a couple of my grades have dropped in, and it is slowly occurring to me that I am no longer a 1L. More and more often, I notice how much I have learned and grown since August last year. When I was all wrapped up in my readings, assignments, and exams, it often felt like I was just treading water. With some perspective, it is easy to see how far I have actually traveled.
My concern about not knowing what to do with myself was completely unfounded. Monday, I started my internship with the Second Court of Appeals, and it has been a great experience so far. The amount of information I am exposed to is huge, and I feel like I have learned plenty already during my first week. Also, everyone I have met at the court has been very welcoming and helpful. My only concern is that I “only” get six weeks with the court. I will definitely make sure to make the most of that time!
With two grades still pending, I would lie if I said that I wasn’t anxiously waiting for those. Even though I know that my I survived my first year in pretty good style, I won’t have that true sense of accomplishment and completion until all grades are in and the class rank is established. My ultimate reward for the last year’s hard work will be when I go to Sweden in July to spend some quality time with family and friends. Thanks to Internet, I can assure you that my blog will not suffer when I am abroad!
5/9/12 - I took my last final (Property) this morning. The moment I handed in my exam and walked out of room 201, my first year of law school was completed. How does it feel? Kind of weird.
I am not sure I will know what to do with myself not having reading assignments, memo research, and exam studying written all over my schedule. With the property, contracts, and civil procedure terms still making their way to the exits of my memory (I need to make room for at least a few good summer memories), I am back at my apartment trying to do some damage control. What emails are most important? When do I need to be somewhere? I should probably try to find some time to clean up around here. Who knows what I might find? Apparently I was responsible enough last night to write myself a to-do list, just in case I would go completely blank after today’s exam. I wish that sleep was the first item on the list.
I was planning on wrapping up my 1L year in this blog, look back and reflect, and share something insightful, but it is funny how I could not stop typing during my exam and now barely can lump enough words together to form a complete sentence. I will save my thoughtful reflections until a later opportunity, when I have had some time to actually reflect. For now, all I can say is that the only thing really remaining of my 1L year is the long wait for the grades. No matter what comes back, I feel like I gave all I had. It hasn’t always been pretty, but I got the work done. And it feels great!
4/25/12 - I have had my last class as a 1L. For the next two weeks, most of my waking hours will be spent studying for, thinking about, and freaking out about finals. First up is Contracts on Monday, followed by Civil Procedure on May 4 and Property on May 9. To make sure that we stay on task, my study group has set deadlines for when the different class outlines need to be ready, so that we can go over the materials together.
Just like last semester, I look at what’s ahead of me and feel overwhelmed. If I want to get through the next two weeks with at least some sanity left, I have to focus on one final at the time—they don’t look quite as intimidating individually. But I also can’t afford to put off studying for the later finals. In other words, between now and May 9 will be (a hopefully somewhat organized) chaos.
By the time I write my next blog, I will be fresh out of my Property final and hopefully able to describe a huge sense of relief. Last semester, my goal was to do well. It is hard to set a quantifiable goal in a setting where others’ performances can affect your outcome. So, I think I’ll stick to my goal to—two weeks from now—have the feeling of having done well.
4/18/12 - I think I did okay with my oral argument. Not comfortable in the spotlight, I started talking too fast and at points when I shouldn’t have. I felt like I had a good, thorough understanding of the facts and rules, but was not quite able to convey the information as successfully as I had hoped to. It was a great learning experience, though, and I am sure that every time I will do something similar, I will improve.
Today’s citation exam concluded our Legal Writing class. I found myself having less time than during last semester’s exam and had to prioritize getting through all citations pretty well over getting through some exceptionally well. I talked to some of my colleagues after the exam and found some comfort in the fact that I was far from the only one feeling a little crammed for time, and overall, I think I did fairly well.
A couple of admitted/prospective students have asked me what they can do to prepare for law school. One of the most common questions is whether you should read something already before school starts. When I asked a friend, a practicing attorney, the same thing before starting law school, he encouraged me to just enjoy myself, rest, and read One L, by Scott Turow. My friend told me that I would find the reality of law school so much less intimidating than that portrayed in the book. Of course, he was right. I am planning a re-read this summer following the completion of my 1L year. Should be really interesting.
4/11/12 - I was hoping to have my oral argument out of the way by now and to be one checkmark closer to completing the semester. Unfortunately, it was postponed last minute, so I will have to wait until late this week or next week to get that completed. With next week’s citation exam on the agenda as well, I am just not sure when I will be able to sit down and really start preparing for my finals. While I am not sure how I will be able to get myself to where I need to be, at least I can find some comfort in the fact that I went through it all last semester and came out okay. I figured it out then and hope to do so again.
This weekend, I will play in an alumni soccer game at Texas Wesleyan and also get a floorball practice in to get ready for a tournament next weekend. Having played sports all my life, I will really enjoy these escapes from the hectic preparations from finals.
Over the last weeks, I have had the opportunity of meeting many prospective students at different events here at the law school. It is hard to grasp that only a year ago, I was the one asking the questions that I am now answering. Back then, I questioned if I would be able to do this. To those of you out there with the same doubts: I still don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that the challenges I have faced have helped me grow tremendously since August last year, and I have never regretted my decision.
4/4/12 - I submitted my trial brief with a good eight minutes to spare. This assignment only emphasized how drained I am at this point. As always, I was off to an early start, I had my full draft done and had plenty of time to edit. I am just moving and processing ridiculously slowly right now, and the occasions I find myself in the zone of productivity are becoming increasingly rare. It is frustrating, because the times I did find myself in the zone, I really enjoyed working on my brief. Looking at the big picture, I am really surprised that I have been able to keep going for this long. With only two weeks of classes left of the semester and of my first year of law school, I know I will be able to push through one way or another. First, I will go through my now well-established tradition of second-guessing most everything about my submitted assignment, but I have to do that quickly, because next week we are doing oral arguments, and the week after that we have a citation exam. As soon as I have caught up on some sleep, I need to start catching up on some outlining too.
Yesterday, I attended my first oral arguments when the Fort Worth Court of Appeals brought the Court to Texas Wesleyan Law. It was very interesting, especially because Judge McCoy was on the bench, and I only became more excited about my upcoming summer internship.
Now when we have the trial brief out of the way, and before we get too close to finals, my study group will gather for another social this Saturday. I am really looking forward to that!
3/28/12 - Well, I managed to get a first rough draft done for the trial brief. All it took was a late Saturday night and some coffee. Since then, I have met with Professor Kelly to discuss the assignment, and I think I am on the right track. The final trial brief is due one week from today, so this assignment will be my main focus between now and then.
Less than four weeks of classes remain of the semester. While that still seems like a fair amount of time to catch up with outlines, make flashcards, and meet with the study group, dead week will be here before we know it. My first final is April 30, and it feels strange that my 1L year actually is so close to being completed. A part of me feels like it was only yesterday that a large group of up met up at Lucky Strike one hot Thursday afternoon in August last year to celebrate “surviving” our first week of this adventure. I keep reminding myself that an even greater sense of satisfaction is waiting around the corner.
Earlier this semester, I was selected to become a member of next year’s Student Ambassador Recruiting Team (SART) Board. Having attended several law school events during the year I spent eagerly anticipated beginning law school myself, I had the opportunity to meet many of the SART members and found it very helpful and beneficial to interact with them. I am now excited to find myself on the other side and have the chance to help prospective and future students to make an informed choice. So, if you are a prospective or future student, make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time with current students who can give you first-hand advice. I hope to see some of you newly admitted students you at one of our upcoming events!
3/21/12 - For weeks, I was counting down to the arrival of Spring Break. Professor Carpenter concluded her Property class with the words “have a good break!” and, in a blink of an eye, it was . . . already over. While I have no idea what actually happened to the break, I do know that it was good for me. I now feel like I will be able to push through our last writing assignment and a few busy weeks at work.
While I did feel like the break was behind me before it ever started, I actually got a chance to drive down to Austin for a day with friends for SXSW, and I went to see a couple of movies. I also started planning my yearly visit to the motherland, something I am very much looking forward to.
Coming back from the break, I had definitely reached the final of my usual post-memo phases (see 2/8 blog). Scores on the memo, Civ Pro midterm, and a group assignment all dropped in right after the break. Although I really wanted to know how I did, I had finally distanced myself enough to stop worrying about something I should or should not have done differently. Overall, I am in pretty good shape for the homestretch of this semester.
My most immediate goal is to complete a draft of the trial brief by Monday morning. If I can accomplish that, next week will not be too bad.
3/7/12 - My interview went very well! I am thrilled that I will be interning with Judge McCoy from the Second Court of Appeals this summer. I went to my first law-related interview with high hopes but low expectations, and was a very happy camper when I received the offer earlier this week. Not only am I excited about this particular opportunity, but now that I know the details of my internship, I can also go ahead and start piecing other things together around it. Thank you Dean Arturo Errisuriz from Career Services for all your help and advice to make this possible!
I met with Everett Chambers, Director of the Academic Support Program, and he provided some valuable insight regarding my next couple of semesters. Currently, I am on the waiting list for one summer class. Being a 1L, I am low on the food chain, so if I make the class I just consider it a bonus.
Last weekend, I made it a point to catch up on some sleep, particularly to try and make my cold leave. I am glad I took that approach, because on Monday morning the power went out on the historic campus. I run one of the dorms, and we did not have any power back before Tuesday afternoon. The night between Monday and Tuesday I spent doing safety rounds AND trying to get ready for class in the dark. Property and Civil Procedure can be tough enough to comprehend without having to limit yourself to reading in the light of a glow stick and a flashlight!
So, now I am tired again. At least we have partial power now, and hopefully everything will be back to normal late this afternoon/early this evening. I just need to push through one more day, and Spring Break will give me a chance to breathe, gain some perspective on what we have covered so far, and hopefully catch up with a friend or two.
2/28/12 - This week has kept me busy. I was hoping to start catching up on some sleep, but instead I am fighting a moderate case of the sniffles (I am far from the only one at the school right now). Also, there has been somewhat of an upswing of things to get done at work. With only five school days left before my first Spring Break in law school, I am hopeful that I can keep the momentum going until then.
Today, we had an in-class writing assignment worth 10% of our final grade. You know the big memos we keep talking about? We were basically supposed to write a scaled down version in 75 minutes—definitely a new experience. I feel okay with what I handed in, but at least it is behind us now. Since we will face a similar task when the Bar Exam comes around, I appreciated the opportunity to try it out. Remains to be seen whether I still appreciate it when we get the grades back!
By next week, I hope that I will be able to—at the very least—lay the foundation for my course of study for the next years of law school. I am still very open-minded and undecided regarding what area of law I want to focus on. Sometimes I get jealous of friends who know exactly what they want to do, but I also realize that with a larger selection to choose from, I will have more flexibility when planning my schedule.
Tomorrow I have my first interview for a summer position! No matter what it does or does not lead to, I am sure it will be a very valuable experience. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
2/22/12 - I really enjoyed spending a couple of hours with my study buddies without actually studying. It was a well-needed break for all of us!
My main goal last week was to send out applications for summer internships by today, and I mailed them before the afternoon class. While I am hoping to hear something back, I will keep looking for other possibilities to pursue as well (I am pretty sure I have not been able to identify all interesting opportunities available to me). I only have two summers to gain some hands-on experience before graduating, so I hope to learn as much from those as possible. I have no idea what to expect regarding the first batch of applications, but I plan on being carefully optimistic.
Somehow it is already Wednesday afternoon again, which means that there is one more night of reading and one more day of class between now and another weekend. My experience with weekends in law school is that they are like mini checkpoints or safety zones. In the absence of class, I get a chance to start working on the upcoming week’s materials without the urgent feeling of “I have to get this done by tomorrow.” Law school instantly became more manageable when I started to approach it in these one-week increments. Truth to be told, I always have enough on my plate that worrying about what happens next week or the following would almost always (certain deadlines and major projects not included, of course) just make the present unnecessarily tough.
Yesterday, I attended an informational session on how to plan my course of study. After having been handed a schedule the first two semesters without having to worry about a thing, it is now time to make some active choices. It will be very interesting to see what kind of game plan I can come up with.
2/15/12 - Now we have the Civ Pro midterm behind us. While it probably will be late March before I know my grade, it is another checkpoint passed. I felt okay about the test, but I am still debating whether I applied the law correctly in one particular instance. I keep telling myself not to worry about it—if nothing else, at least I will know how to apply the law in that particular instance the next time I am facing a similar situation.
With both the memo and the midterm out of the way, for some reason, I expected to get a little bit of a breather. Instead I realized that that I would have to satisfy with “active rest.” Having intensified my search for a summer position, I found some very appealing alternatives over the weekend. Well, deadlines are coming up, so I am desperately trying to make sure that I get all my ducks in a row (Now, didn’t that make me sound at least like a semi-American?). I already have a couple of applications almost ready to go, and I am still looking for additional alternatives to increase my chances of landing a good position. The goal is to send out a couple of applications by Wednesday next week.
Week six of my second semester of law school is almost over and, for the first time, my study group will be able to meet away from school, with all members present, for strictly non-school-related purposes. We have tried before, but I have always had to work. Needless to say, I am looking forward to our social plans for Saturday.
2/8/12 - Memo 3 is behind us. I feel okay with my final product, in light of how busy the last few weeks have been. I am assuming I will go through the usual post-memo phases:
• First, I will think about everything I should or should not have done before handing it in.
• Then, I will be eagerly waiting to receive some feedback and find out what the grade will be.
• Finally, I will feel that memo is so far away in the rear-view mirror that I prefer not to think about it, and just go on about the present as if the memo never existed.
Obviously, as soon as I receive notice that the memo has been graded, it will have my undivided attention again.
Tomorrow we have a review for the upcoming Civ Pro midterm. It accounts for a big portion of the semester’s grade, and I will be doing my best to prepare well over the weekend. We found out yesterday that our midterm will be a take-home exam that needs to be completed by Tuesday afternoon. My study group will meet before the weekend to go over all materials covered so far, and I want to vastly improve my course outline.
However, that will not happen right now. I was short on sleep last week and, despite starting on the memo early, I found myself having to stay up late last night/early this morning in order to get it finished. In other words, it is nap time!
2/1/12 - Note to self: five hours of sleep night after night will result in slight confusion, a sense of lack of control, and mood swings.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when the afternoon class was canceled yesterday. It gave me a chance to get back to work early and start knocking out some out-of-class work before it was too late into the evening. I was really appreciative of the fact that I was in bed already by 1:30 AM.
By the time the next blog is written, I will have handed in memo 3 and be setting course for the Civ Pro midterm instead. Having outlined the information I plan on using for the memo, I feel fairly good about where I stand, but I also know that I need to invest some quality time between now and then if I want to produce something good.
While I am really tired and cannot stop looking for spring break to appear on the horizon, good things are happening right now too. The Inauguration Gala was great! It was the first time ever I was wearing all parts of a tuxedo at the same time, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to talk to some law faculty and staff away from the law school, catch up with friends from the main campus, and meet many new and interesting individuals.
I was also helping with Secretary Albright’s book signing the following morning. She was very nice, and it was a true pleasure to meet her. I rounded off my Inauguration participation by carrying the Swedish flag at the Inauguration Ceremony. Hopefully, no one noticed when the flag got caught in a tree branch outside. Nothing a quick, forceful pull couldn’t resolve.
1/25/12 - I have been really tired for the last week. Other than Friday night, I haven’t really had a chance to slow down. While I am grateful to have a quite flexible work schedule, I still have to get things done, which has led to a bedtime past 2:30 AM too many nights lately. I hope to be able to use the upcoming weekend efficiently to avoid another mid-week mental drain.
I believe that I have made some good progress with the research for memo 3 (hopefully it is more than mere wishful thinking). My next step is to selectively narrow down my research. My goal is to at least have some form of fairly thorough outline by the time Monday comes around.
I have also started looking into my options for the summer. Being an international student, I am under certain restrictions when it comes to employment and internships. Hopefully, I can still get an opportunity to gain some valuable practical experience. My resume is ready, so now I just need to start putting it to work. The only thing that is missing is the class ranking. I have never paid much attention to class rankings but understand that their importance can be quite significant in the law world.
Tomorrow night, I will attend the Inauguration Gala for University President Frederick Slabach. I am sure it will be quite an experience, and I am really looking forward to it. I will be helping out at this Friday’s Inauguration as a flag bearer. After that, I think it will be time for the nap I have been trying to find time for all week…
1/18/12 - My final grade is posted, my first semester of law school is officially in the rearview mirror, and I am very happy with my journey so far. And it’s not just the grades - I have met many new, very intelligent and interesting individuals, and I have made many new friends. But, most of all, the personal growth I have seen since August is quite significant. Like Professor Snyder said one day, “If you dropped out of law school now, you would never be able to wash of the stain.”
I had some trouble getting back into the rhythm of law school the first week, but I am slowly starting to establish a routine. While the schedule in general is pretty similar to last semester, the workload has shifted to other days of the week (at least while I am trying to balance my work obligations with my constantly refilling to-do list for law school).
Besides the always-required class preparation, memo 3 needs to be my main focus over the next few weeks. We have received (and are still receiving) training on how to do our research (and hopefully we are finding something that will prove helpful for the memo). I started poking around last week, an initiative that mostly led to frustration. I am planning on doing another, and hopefully more successful, attempt this weekend.
On Thursday, I went to kickboxing for the first time since June. It was painful, but I quickly noticed how much I had missed it. It will be a well-needed stress relief during the spring.
1/11/12 - What happened to the break? One day, I have a full month off to look forward to. Before I know it, we are almost through our first week of the spring semester. I had the pleasure of having the majority of my family here for about three weeks (one brother is working in Dubai), and I really enjoyed the opportunity to show them around the law school, introduce them to some of our great professors, and give them a better picture of my adventure in law school. After they all had departed for this time, I only had two days to try to switch from “relaxed family mode” to “trying-to-be-on-top-of-everything school mode.” So far, the spring semester has been a fairly smooth ride, but I know that the semester will grow increasingly demanding (memo 3 was assigned today).
I guess I should take a minute to talk about my spring classes. Again, we have four courses on our plate - Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and the second of three Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing courses (this is the source of our memo assignments). Since the only class we have had more than once so far this semester is the writing course, I have not been able to really get a feel for the other courses yet. But I did get a good first impression of all the professors, and I was happy to notice that the completely helpless, I-am-never-going-to-be-able-to-keep-up-with-this feeling that I had after my first day of Torts in the fall had decided to stay home this time. I believe that all the courses this spring will be very interesting, and I will gladly share some more elaborate impressions after a few weeks, when I have had a chance to spend a little bit more time with my new acquaintances.
Speaking of new acquaintances, the two sections have seen some major changes since last semester. About half the sections have switched places, and I just had started to be able to tell with decent certainty if someone was in my section or not. Now I’ll be more confused than ever for a good while.
I am still waiting for my last grade to drop in. There was something special with logging in and seeing my first law school grade, like some form of closure. It made it so much more official that I did, in fact, make it through my first semester. My goal was to do well (whatever that means), and so far I am very happy with the results of my work.
12/14/11 - It’s been almost a week since my last visit to the school. Around noon last Thursday, the Legislation & Regulation final was completed, and so was my first semester in law school. It has been quite an adventure and very rewarding, but now I am looking forward to a much-needed break.
Looking in my rearview mirror, Orientation appears very distant, and so does the first time I got called on, the first memo, and my minor anxiety attack before my first exam. It really shouldn’t be that surprising; we have progressed quickly and covered a great distance. When you finally have the time to look up and reflect, you will realize how far you have gotten. It is amazing what even baby steps can do in large numbers.
I have really been looking forward to this break. This is probably not a big surprise to anyone, especially if you are in law school yourself. My mind is definitely in need of some less strenuous activities. Also, tomorrow my mother, my brother, and his girlfriend are flying in to Love Field. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even visit me while they’re here!
Having them here will only make the break even better. One of the main advantages of being from one country and living in another is that I get to celebrate two Christmases. On the 24th, Swedish Christmas is on the schedule (with meatballs, Donald Duck, and all other essentials) and, on the 25th, we’ll do it all over again, American-style.
Over the last two days, I have thoroughly cleaned my apartment, and I think it is ready for an inspection by mom now. If nothing else, it is nice to experience an alternative to the organized chaos that has come to be associated with aw school.
The schedule for the spring semester is already set, but I think I’ll hold off on discussing that until the first January blog. Right now, I just want to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment of having completed my first semester in law school. Hopefully, I will also have the pleasure of reporting some grades I can be proud of.
God Jul & Gott Nytt År!
12/7/11 - It was kind of weird not to blog last week, as blogging has become a part of my weekly routine by now. Last blog, I was still unaware of what experience a final a lá law school would bring. Between then and now, I have sat through four hours of both Torts and Criminal Law exams. When I tackled Torts, I left the room feeling okay about the test, but with a runny nose and sore throat. Of course, my cold would break out right as finals were getting started. While I have had worse colds, the cough that accompanied this one made it impossible to get any good sleep. Consequently, several days passed before I was able to study effectively for the Criminal Law exam. Again, I felt okay when I left the room, this time both about the test and the cold.
While we had a whole week between the first two finals, the last one, Legislation & Regulation, is scheduled three days after Criminal Law, and that would be…tomorrow! Yes, that is right, in less than 24 hours I will have officially completed my first semester of law school. I am sure it will take me a lot more than 24 hours to actually realize that. I have already installed my Xbox Kinect, and it is eagerly waiting for me to be done so that I can come play.
Alright, time to have a banana and finalize that course outline for tomorrow’s test. See you on the other side!
11/22/11 - I managed to give myself somewhat of a break from studying this weekend. At this point, I am more than happy to take whatever I can get, and I was able to squeeze in a movie night (back-to-back Hot Shots), a family night, and dinner with an old friend. By the time Sunday came around, my energy had started to return, and I spent most of the day improving my Torts outline.
Monday, we had our last official Torts class for the semester. Kyle and I went to the Stockyards for a steak to acknowledge the completion of our five weeks without shaving. Didn’t lead to the anticipated increase in number of flashcards produced, but it was nice not having to care for a while.
I really appreciate that all my professors have made it a point to either offer a review session outside of class or work it into the scheduled class time. I just got back from reviewing Legislation & Regulation and Torts. With Torts being our first final, I doubt that any other class will have my attention between now and early afternoon on Monday. I am kind of glad that we take the Torts exam first - there are so many ins and outs in Torts, and I feel like I stand a better chance before I get too tired of preparing for finals.
14 weeks ago, finals felt very far away. Now, they influence almost every decision I make. Hopefully my work over Thanksgiving will give me reason to be thankful later!
11/16/11 – Today, we had our last Criminal Law class. Week 14 is about to be over, and the only remaining obstacle before a well-needed Christmas break is my first round of law school finals. My feelings about these finals change on a daily basis, and I am sure my confidence will fluctuate heavily between now and then. I did end up doing well on the Criminal Law midterm, and that makes me feel a little bit more comfortable when trying to figure out how to tackle the upcoming four-hour examinations in Torts and Criminal Law. We finish up Torts on Monday and have a review session on Tuesday. After that, we have “off” for Thanksgiving. I am really just looking forward to being done with classes so that I can find the time to prepare for finals.
I held myself to working ahead on my memo, but I realized that even though I had a complete draft pretty early, I kept going back and spending a lot of time editing and revising. Finally, I realized that I would not get anything else done before the memo was handed in, so I went ahead and submitted it online. It remains to be seen whether this was a good idea…
Tomorrow, we have a citation exam in our LARW class. It has been really hard to get out of bed this week, but I just need to push myself through tomorrow too. I am hoping that I can give myself a little bit of a breather and allow myself to catch up with at least parts of my social life this weekend. My mind cannot retain much more information right now, but this is when I need it as most. This is the chance I have to recharge before finals, so I better use it wisely.
11/9/11 - Lately, I have been more tired, more irritable, and have had a harder time concentrating and focusing than usual. I can tell that we are nearing the very end of the semester and that all my body wants to do is sleep for a couple of days, at the very least. With only one week of classes to go, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, though, it feels like it could be a train.
Our second legal memo is due on Tuesday, and it counts for twice as much of our grade as the last one. Two days later, we have a citation exam. On top of that, finals are waiting around the corner. Professor Aziz described our time between now and December 8 (when we take our last final) as “one month of hell.” I have done my best to keep things manageable.
Specifically, I made it a point to get off to a good start on the memo. We had 13 cases to read to familiarize ourselves with the issue of patent validity. I have always wondered how lawyers can recite large amounts of detailed facts and rules, but after having spent quite a large number of hours on turning this issue inside out, it is much easier to understand. You just grow together. Every day, I find myself able to go back and make changes and edits, and although my draft is improving on a daily basis, I am sure it will remain a draft until right before deadline.
This weekend, I plan on working more on my outlines for Criminal Law and Torts, as well as familiarizing myself with all the study aids available. Come next week, I want a somewhat structured game plan to follow – some form of organization to help me get done what I need to get done.
11/2/11 - Around noon on Monday, we received an e-mail informing us that our memos were graded and would be available to be picked up after our afternoon class (Criminal Law). Needless to say, many students were out the door the moment the class was over. A part of me wanted to rush down to Professor Kelly’s office to see how I did. Another part really didn’t want to face the chance of possible disappointment. I went to my locker and dropped off all my stuff. By the time I went to pick up my memo, the hallway outside Professor Kelly’s office had cleared.
My hard work had paid off! I received a grade that I was very happy with. Having sometimes felt like I am swinging in the dugout, I now feel like I am in the game. Our second memo counts twice as much toward the final grade, but I now feel more comfortable and confident approaching the assignment (due in less than two weeks).
Two weeks, that’s all we have left of class (if we round off a bit). Today, I took a practice exam for Legislation & Regulation, tomorrow I am getting fingerprinted for a background check by the Texas Board of Law Examiners, and on Monday morning, I will receive my Criminal Law midterm grade. Writing a legal memo and taking a multiple choice/essay exam are two completely different things, and I can only hope for some positive feedback on my approach to that part of law school as well.
10/27/11 - I very much enjoyed my well-needed escape to Arkansas. Having heard stories about how to survive road trips as a law student, I spent the drive reading through cases for the newly assigned memo. All together, I managed to budget my schoolwork quite well over the course of the weekend, and I came back both rested and prepared for week 11.
We have still not received any real law school grades, and I am almost at the point where I don’t want to know. Only three weeks of class remain, and as tempting it sounds to receive a confirmation on the work I have done so far, I don’t even want to try to imagine the panic attack a less than satisfactory grade might produce when we have barely any time to correct or improve on our study techniques. I am doing my best not to worry about it and simply try to focus on what can be done right now.
Tuesday, I took a Criminal Law practice exam. I am still developing my organizational approach to a law school essay answer, and the more practice I can get before finals, the better. Next week, I will try to work a practice exam for Legislation & Regulation into my schedule.
On a side note: my fellow 1L Kyle and I have decided to grow playoff beards by not shaving again until after the last class of the semester. This “project” will save us valuable minutes every day that instead can be spent making flashcards. Pure brilliance.
10/19/11 - I found the Torts practice exam pretty helpful. Overall, I am pretty happy with how well I did, but I still need to improve before the final exam. The practice test indicated some of my strengths and weaknesses in Torts, and it also allowed me to make a sloppy mistake (which I would much rather get out of the way now than when it really counts). Since I am still eagerly waiting to see how I did on my Criminal Law midterm and the LARW first memo, for now, I will let the practice exam score tell me that I am at least doing something right.
Tomorrow we will be assigned the second memo, which counts for half of our LARW grade. I will really have to make it a priority to not put that off just because it is not due until close to mid-November. On the other hand, we only have just over four weeks of classes left, so I really shouldn’t be putting anything off at this point. I have come a long way on my Torts outline and find myself in a much better position than only a week ago.
This weekend will provide a welcome interruption from my law school routines. I am heading out to Rogers, Arkansas. While Dad is going to his high-school reunion (I won’t say what year), I will bring my books and simply enjoy a different environment as I prepare myself for next week and, hopefully, get off to a good start on the memo.
Maybe, just maybe, I will have received an actual grade or two by next week…
10/12/11 - The last two weeks were hectic. First, I spent a week preparing for (and one night worrying about) the Criminal Law midterm. Then, I went through pretty much the same process with my legal memo, which I handed in yesterday. All I can do now is wait (and keep up with schoolwork while waiting, of course). After completing the midterm and handing in the memo, I felt relief and a great sense of completion. After all, these are the first real checkpoints along my path to law school graduation. Whatever grades and feedback are returned to me, I will soon at least have some form of confirmation of how I am doing.
As the weeks pass by, law school becomes more and more of a routine. I don’t think I really understand that we only have five weeks of class left before we face our first round of law school finals. It feels like the first of these remaining weeks will give us a chance to catch our breath, just before we dive into the hectic world of the second memo.
Oh, I almost forgot. I am still planning on keeping my word regarding revisiting the notes from Torts. I have already started, but I have decided to take the practice exam on Saturday instead of Thursday. The combination of the midterm and the memo caused me to lose a lot of sleep, and I plan on doing some catching up. Law school definitely requires quite a balancing act.
10/5/11 - Last week, I had pretty much only one thing on my mind: the Criminal Law midterm. I made it a point to study on a daily basis, I meet with my study group, and I worked my way through a fair share of practice problems. I felt pretty good about the test when the weekend came around. Then, Sunday night, the doubt came, and I began to question my ability to pull this off. Had I prepared enough? Would I blank? Did I actually understand the material, or just think that I did? I didn’t fall asleep until close to 3:30 AM Monday morning, and I woke up two hours later. Luckily, I managed to go back to sleep for another two hours.
When it was time to head to school, I was still nervous, but my confidence had begun to re-establish itself. The second wave of doubt came during the Torts class, where quite a few chairs were empty. A much as I am trying not to see this as a competition, we all know that our grades to some extent are based on how well we do, and to some extent on how well our classmates do. Would the people who skipped Torts that morning get the edge? I decided that if that was the case, there was nothing I could do about it. I spent the lunch break getting some fresh air in the Water Gardens while looking over some of my notes.
Afterward, I felt pretty good about my performance. It will probably take a while before I learn about the actual results and find out if my gut feeling is at all accurate. In the meantime, most of my focus will be directed to our legal memo, which is due October 11.
9/28/11 - It is funny how some things appear to go from nonexistent to obvious over night. After my initial note-organizing session after week three, I have really tried to keep up with each class. While I have successfully managed to keep up with the readings and briefings in every class, it suddenly occurred to me that I have neglected Torts (no pun intended).
I ordered some extra reading material to help me understand and comprehend the materials, as well as distinguish many of the concepts from their sometimes different application in Criminal Law. As I stopped for a second the other day to see where I was in every class, I realized that the Criminal Law midterm (October 3) and the Legal Memo have consumed my out-of-class time lately. Lesson learned: I must make it a point to keep revisiting every class on a regular basis, no matter what is going on in the other classes. I will make it a point over the next couple of weeks to revisit the covered Torts materials to make sure that I feel confident with everything.
By the time I write my next blog, I will have taken my first law school exam, and I will have started at least outlining the Legal Memo. I will also hold myself to reviewing and practicing all the Torts materials so far before the practice exam on October 13.
It’s on my blog. Now I just have to get it done—or my blog won’t be trustworthy at all.
9/21/11 - Many friends ask me how law school is going. Usually, I answer something along the lines of “I am really enjoying it” or “I am still there.” The truth is, I really don’t know how law school is going. I know that I am working hard and doing my best to memorize what needs to be remembered, and understand what needs to be understood. While I am relieved not to have exams and quizzes on a weekly basis, the downside of this process-based learning is that it is much harder to objectively label the quality of my work. Only one of my classes has a midterm (Criminal Law), but we will also have the opportunity to take a Torts practice exam. Additionally, we will soon receive feedback on our first part of Memo I from Legal Analysis, Research and Writing (LARW). Soon I will have a pretty clear idea of how law school is actually going…
After the weight loss I experienced during the first few weeks of law school, I am happy to report that I am almost back at my normal weight. A combination of good exercise, a decent diet, and large consumptions of heavy knowledge got me back on track. It is funny how small changes can express themselves so clearly - I have already noticed an increase in energy. I received two very specific pieces of advice before starting law school: 1) if you brief every case, you will do well and 2) do not completely neglect your out-of-school interests, or you will go nuts. So far, I feel like I am keeping up with and comprehending the material, and I haven’t gone nuts yet. Subjectively speaking, of course.
9/14/11 - The craziness of the first weeks has begun to settle down. The craziness we are facing now is completely different. While our briefing and legal reading/writing skills already have improved significantly, the expectations placed upon us have increased in regards to both quantity and quality of work. The honeymoon is over. The first part of our first legal memo was due Tuesday and, before we know it, the Criminal Law midterm will be knocking at the door.
After surviving the first month of law school, I have now begun to notice something. Before the semester started, I was repeatedly told not to reinvent the wheel, to do precisely what was asked (not more, not less), to trust the process. While I, on numerous occasions, have felt that I am just treading water, desperately fighting to keep my head above the surface, I have started to see how the different parts are coming together. Slowly but surely…
This may come as a shock, but I did find time for an out-of-class experience. Last week, I went to a social to learn more about the Intellectual Property certification opportunities available at Texas Wesleyan Law. I ran in to some of my fellow classmates, and it was great fun to actually get to know some of them away from the classroom. Even though we talked a lot about school, it felt like everything slowed down for a while. It was like we were in the eye of the storm, knowing that the stress level would be back to “normal” (according to the official 1L definition) the very next day. It was, but I wouldn’t ask for anything different. Instead, I am proud and humbled to be a member of this group.
9/7/11 - Labor Day came as a blessing. After a three week continuous flow of information, I was looking forward to some down time, a chance to relax and allow for all the information I had been exposed to sink in. My most positive genes were even hoping for a chance to lie on the sofa and watch some SpongeBob.
I figured it would be a good idea to reintroduce myself to my notes from the first few weeks of class. Knowing perfectly well that I had neglected them, I promised to give them my undivided attention until we were somewhat comfortable with each other again. It took me about 10 hours to get through all the notes, but now that I am feeling pretty good about them, I will make it a point to re-visit my notes on (at least) a weekly basis.
I also spent a good chunk of the weekend learning the fundamentals of legal citations. For those of you who don’t know, I am citation nerd. They kind of give me the same thrill as equations. Not that equations give me that much of a thrill, but they are definitely the most interesting aspect of math. I guess I find it kind of therapeutic to carefully apply the citation rules one by one on my quest for the perfect citation – almost like Sudoku. Besides, I can trace my steps much more easily when citing than when trying to comprehend all the aspects of consent in Torts.
Before I sign off: Kudos to William from IT for spending his Saturday night to make sure that my school e-mail was brought back to life!
8/31/11 – On Sunday night, I was doubtful - there is only so much information that can be retained at the same time. Am I really already willing/able to start deleting childhood memories to make room for statutes and legal definitions during the third week of law school? At this rate, I thought, I would probably not remember a thing prior to my 18th birthday by the time I graduate. Can I really do this?
Then I remembered that I experienced a similar feeling this summer. For some reason, I had decided that jumping out of an airplane was a good idea. Shortly before lunging out from 13,000+ feet, I was asked what I was thinking. I responded that I still didn’t think I could do it, but that I was still sure that I would.
So here I am again, not really sure that I can, but sure that I will. I just have to do it the same way: one step at the time.
Torts and Criminal Law keep pitching new concepts and angles at us at a quick pace. I’m still not really happy with my ability to retain and follow in those classes, but I keep adjusting my approach and study techniques to find what will work the best for me.
In other news, I finally found the time to visit the fitness center again. Great de-stressor and energy-booster! I also noticed that I had lost 4 lbs (probably through sweat when called on in Torts the other day). Still working on the seating confusion, hoping to be in the right place in time for the Criminal Law midterm in October. Happy Labor Day weekend!
8/24/11 - I am a 1L! For the last two weeks, life has been kind of upside down. Not in a bad way, not at all. But, no matter how much time I invest in keeping my apartment in order and leave it clean in the morning, it still looks like I have been throwing things around for weeks when I go to bed, even when I have barely been home all day.
While I am a full-time law student, I also work part time, and I have been spending most of my time coming from something or leaving for something, just dropping my books, notes, and work all over the place.
The first week of law school was extremely intense, since it was also a very busy work week. I was down at law school from 10 AM – 3 PM, worked until 9 or 10 PM, and then sat down with whatever was most urgent. I probably averaged 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night, and my mind was overheating trying to process all new information. I was thrilled when it was announced that Criminal Law would start a week after the other courses. I don’t know how I would have managed more that week.
Now, I am about to wrap up my second week, and I have experienced all the courses and met all of my professors for this semester. I am excited! Every day, I leave the law school with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. All my professors have their own approach to things, but that just helps me pay attention. I managed to balance school and work better this week, and I am getting to know more of my classmates every day. Challenge for next week: remember where I sit in each of my different classes. No one said law school was going to be easy…