Business – Management of Information Systems
12/16/09 - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around my house. Lights are up, kids are having Christmas programs, and my three year-old is refusing to wear anything but her Christmas overalls. Our washer is getting a lot of use these days.
We are also hoping we get a good snow here in the next week, but you never know with the weather in Texas. There is not much on the school front going on at this point. I have my books for the new semester and am anxiously awaiting the start of the semester, not just for the subject matter, but also because I am dying to know what my grades are. I could use that stress being gone. :)
So… this week and next will be pretty much just reading my first Contracts assignment for the semester, reading up on Criminal Law and trying to enjoy the rest of the holidays. Happy holidays to everyone, and I’ll see you next year!
12/9/09 - You know what the problem with the break between semesters is? You forget you have stuff like blog posts due. So I am running a bit behind. Not much to say this week. Finals are over, and I definitely know some of the things that I missed (hindsight is always 20/20). But such is the nature of the beast. Now we play the waiting game to see how we did. And you thought Christmas was going to be stress free! I already have the books for my new class and I plan on diving in sometime in the next week or so, at least for an overview, so I am prepared to hit the ground running next semester.
On a personal note, we are looking forward to our first Christmas on the farm, and the kids are hoping for more snow. We had some flurries last week, but nothing stuck. Animals are all doing good, but my dog doesn't like the cold. She is curling up underneath my blankets…so now I have to wash them. :(
From my family to all of you out there, have a great holiday season and Merry Christmas. It will be over all too fast.
11/25/09 - Today is a good day. I have been asking myself why I am putting myself through the stress of law school, and I found my answer today. I do it to give my kids the future they deserve. Being away from them at night is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Today I got to spend the whole day with them, caring for the animals and spending time together. It has been wonderful, and a nice break from studying.
This week hasn't been notable for anything other than the wonderful Torts review we had on Monday. It gave me a better idea of what I need to focus on in that class. So, my blog this week is going to be short because there's not much to say. My life, with the exception of today, has become a 24/7 study fest, with a few hours here and there for sleeping. Just a hint, to make sure you are ready and prepared always try to get a full night's sleep. It has been elusive for a few days, but I think I might make it tonight.
11/18/09 - Two classes left, not including finals. Memo 2 is turned in, hopefully significantly better than my last legal writing assignment. This point in the semester is a scary time for me, because no matter how much you think you are ready, you always worry that you aren't prepared…that you are going to miss some critical fact that could change your whole analysis (I am speaking from personal experience on this one). I've learned that the trick is to breathe and relax. Stress is a natural motivator in these situations, but let yourself stress too much and you will be so worried about missing something that you miss the obvious thing. While getting the obvious “gimme” question would only net you a few points, I guarantee that missing it will cause you to lose a lot of points.
The semester has been fun. Stressful, but fun. For those of you considering law school it is a wonderful experience, particularly at this school. The professors aren't nearly as scary as they seem and they truly care about helping the students as much as they can to understand the concepts and to know what to expect in class and on exams. Your fellow students are also a good resource, particularly to bounce ideas off of. Also, a piece of advice on those annoying students you encounter. You always have students who you may think talk too much, or seem to think a lot of themselves. Sometimes they are completely wrong, but other times, they do know what they are talking about, and having talked to some, I have found them to be a good resource for bouncing ideas off. Take care. Have fun. And above all...Breathe.
11/11/09 - Ok. I've now met with multiple people to figure out where I went wrong on my memo and my Torts midterm. I think I have it back in hand and my next work should be much better. The week in general has been pretty calm. Nothing really new, except for more intensive studying as we are now in the home stretch with only three classes left for each class. I'm staying late at the library and working harder but nothing really new. The heart is beating hard and worry is starting to set in, but meeting with the professors is a very big help and can help lay those worries to rest.
On a personal note, I feel sorry for my mother-in-law because she is not only watching my kids, and my sister-in-law's son this week, but over the weekend she visited her oldest son, and brought his three children down for a visit. So that is a total of seven kids for her to be watching this week. Crazy, isn't it? It has been fun chasing the oldest out of the muddy areas that haven't dried up from the rains, and keeping both my daughter and her from digging holes and burying their cousin's toys. All the animals are doing well, and the cows are going strong now, so we are looking forward to the barbecue next year. (Shh...don't tell my daughter) :)
11/4/09 - Sorry for the late entry, and for the fact that it is going to be short. I have to get back to work on my memo and my briefs, which I’ve fallen behind on. It’s been yet another hectic week.
On the school front, I've learned that I am a hypocrite. I have been sitting here telling you that legal writing is not like your writing classes in college and then I get my memo back and realize that is exactly what I did. It is a hard transition, so do your best to get it right from the beginning. Then you should be good to go. Needless to say, I am making the corrections on my second memo, and hopefully I will do better on that one.
We also got our midterm grades back. I suggest that when you arrive at that point, meet with your professor to go over your exam so you know where you messed up, particularly if you are lucky enough to have a midterm.
On farm notes, we had some more cows come our way through a fortuitous situation, and they are very healthy, so we are not likely to lose them. I'm looking forward to a celebratory barbecue after spring finals. :)
10/28/09 - Another week, another headache from studying and worrying. There is finally an end in sight. We have three and a half weeks left of class, and I have finally been called on in Torts. What is not so wonderful is that my briefs this week have been less than perfect because I have been stressing on the LARW memo we have due in November. The stress was increased when I realized during LARW that my initial draft for the new part of the memo is completely off from where the professor wants it. Thankfully, I think I have it fixed. I will fine tune it tonight.
Back to that note about the less than perfect briefs – try not to make this mistake. It is painful to get through, especially if you are not very comfortable talking in front of everybody, like me. I do fine on scripted presentation, but the nature of case presentation in class is that it goes off script.
On a non-law school note, we are down from three to just one cow. The two calves came down with scours and the remedies we started within a day of discovering this were unfortunately not enough to save them. To those of you who may end up owning livestock at some point, don't let your kids name them. They will be devastated if you lose one. The positive thing is that our remaining calf is doing very well.
10/21/09 - Another week, another memo...Panic will probably set in next week.
After Torts last night, a bunch of us realized we felt better after the in-class review of the midterm than we did before. I actually think I got most of what McGrath was looking for, so that is a good thing...I think.
We just got our Legal Writing Memo Two on Tuesday; this one has more cases and statutes involved, so it is a lot more detailed in what needs to be done. I've been struggling with the draft the professor wants by Tuesday, so hopefully the weekend will give me a chance to get it figured out. I also discovered this week that I am lacking some key cases I wanted in my Contracts outline, and as many of you may realize, that can spell disaster come time to study for exams. Must fix that ASAP.
On a non-school note, we have three new additions to the farm, which we got as a gift from a friend. Our friend delivered three calves to us last week. Unfortunately, when they are this young and from an auction, they have a 50% mortality rate, so the odds are against all surviving. One is already sick, but we think we might be able to get him better, so I have to stop by TSC today and grab an antibiotic for him. Fun stuff, isn't it?
10/14/09 - What a week...It has literally been crazy for me (Like any other week hasn’t been lately, right?). So I spent most of the week cramming on my legal writing memo, reading and re-reading cases trying to make sure I didn't miss a key element in my analysis. I still think I missed something, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it was. But it's done.
And I've taken a brief respite (like two minutes) before I need to study for the Torts midterm coming up on Monday. Just a hint for those of you considering law school…be prepared. About half way through the first semester, the work load will double, and you will wonder when you will have time to sleep. I've heard plenty of stories this week of lost sleep and being up until all hours writing the memo, editing the memo and checking the citations. Crazy thing is, it was like that across the board for the people I talked to. So just be prepared for that.
On a positive note, I was apparently mistaken when I said that we lost the last two goats. Though I have yet to see them again, I have been assured by several people that they have seen them, and they are alive and well...so that was an upbeat bit of news this week. Now if I can just figure out when to sleep...
10/7 - So this week we got our second Memo Assignment. Let the stressing begin. And as if being in law school wasn't enough stress for someone, I had an accident on the way to Contracts and ended up being forced to go to the hospital by my wife (which I know was for my own good, but I hate hospitals...can’t stand them).
Rest assured, I am alright, but the accident is an annoyance I didn't need with the memo hanging over my head in addition to our second Torts midterm coming up in a couple weeks. I spent the weekend sick, but I was able to use the downtime to work on bringing my Torts outline up to date. I do have some tweaking to do on it, which you'll learn is a constant for us as law students. The outlines always need tweaking. Something new comes up and changes the premise of an entire section. It’s fun, but it can also be hard to keep up with.
And that brings me to my last point for this week. Stay current in all your classes, but especially your Torts class. If you miss even a little bit this far into the semester you are going to be scrambling like there’s no tomorrow. Our readings essentially double in the amount of cases and information we need to absorb. Exciting, fun, but burdensome if you don't stay on top of it. With one exception I am valuing my calendaring. I am able to get my studying done, and my assignments done for the most part on time. I am working on one last thing that seems to keep being a day late. I’ll let you know next week if I get that one resolved.
10/1/09 - Got two new words for you: Don't procrastinate. In life, in law school, in anything you do. It will come back to bite you. I spent most of today, October 1st, working on my Declaration of Intent for the State Bar. It was also due to be postmarked today. Took me the better part of the day to research everything I needed to know from my employers that I worked for years ago (for two months, and a couple temporary assignments) to figuring out my credit report and anything that I needed to report from there.
To top it off, none of the stuff I expected to be delivered yesterday came, so I have to supplement the declaration with my law school applications in addition to my birth certificate from California. As it is, I barely made the deadline to mail it. I need to learn downtown Fort Worth better. Add to that the work for Contracts and LARW and you have one big mess, so I wasn't really able to do the last minute review I tend to do before class.
On the other side of things, I have good news. We are finally able to move into our house, and boy are we glad. Now I'm able to get out of having eight people crammed in where only a max of 4 should be.
As exciting as this is, I feel a need to reiterate something I have mentioned before. When planning on starting law school (or are currently enrolled) DON'T MOVE HOUSES. Marbles will be lost. Now I'm off to read the cases for our new Memo assignment in LARW. Cheers.
9/23/09 - This week has been remarkably slow for me. I have spent most of the week catching up on my studies, after having fallen behind so badly due to the move. I finally feel like I am caught up. It has given me some time to reflect on a few things that are not necessarily pertinent to study, but rather life. First, after looking at the picture on the website, I realize I do not photograph well. Never have…
Second, we are creeping up on the halfway point of the first semester of law school. I have to say that I would not have made it even this far if it were not for my wife. She has been my rock, my sounding board, and she does the cute smile and nod thing when I ramble on about stuff in which she's not really interested (read Contracts here). :)
When you are married in law school, it can be a difficult stormy time in your life. You rely more on your spouse than is fair, and she or he shoulders the load of life's mundane requirements while you are in school. Make sure they know how much you value what they are doing, and how much they mean to you. It is an easy thing for them to lose sight of while you are in school, and the foundation you have with them needs to be bolstered. Only you can strengthen that with their help. Cherish them and the rest of your family as they tolerate and support the adventure you are on.
9/16/09 - A week after the midterm and I have one lesson for you. Don't hang out after the test and discuss it with your classmates. You'll question everything you did.
To add further stress and excitement to my life, I spent the entire week following the midterm stressing over the Memo for Legal Writing. I printed out cases, read them, marked them up made my notes and started working out my argument. Thankfully Prof. Kelly is very nice and willing to help his students out. I sent him my sample rule statement and he shredded it. The lesson here is that writing in law school is entirely different than any writing you have ever done. I come from a creative writing background, with an English degree. Here it means squat.
To that end, I strongly suggest you take advantage of the Legal Writing professor to which you are assigned. They are fountains of knowledge. They are also the source of the bulk of the work you will do during your first year. Professor Kelly made a good point - if you were paying several thousand dollars for lessons of any sort from an expert in their field, and you were given unlimited chances to conference with them, you would take every opportunity you could to avail yourself of their expertise. Law school is a huge monetary investment. See your professors during their office hours, email them, call them if you want. They are more than willing to help you understand the nuances of the lessons you are learning. Trust me, it is worth it in the end. I felt much better about my memo after I talked with Prof. Kelly about it.
9/9/09 - Ok. First I want to apologize for this entry being a little late. I finally finished moving out of the old house (yay!!!) and had to jump straight into studying for the Torts midterm we had last night. During this time we have unfortunately lost another goat to coyotes where we live, so we are down to the two females. My daughters are horribly distressed at this, but I have promised them once I finish this first semester we will get the situation right…not sure they believe me on that one.
This week has been a brutal one, with wrapping up the move, a trip to the hospital, and of course, our first test. The midterm was scary, and I think for a lot of people the fear resulted from not knowing what was coming. I was far from confident in my abilities due to the aforementioned lack of proper study time, and I know several of my classmates had the same apprehension. Afterwards our Academic Support group got together and discussed the test, and many of us left thinking it was not as bad as we feared, but worse than we had hoped.
This test was a bit unique in the law school environment as it was a multiple choice test, where most are essays. In most courses, one test determines your grade for the whole class. Scary thought for those of us who bank on being able to make up the score later. The key lesson from this - don't let fear psych you out in law school. Study, don't stress, and trust yourself to do your best.
9/2/09 – So…here we are at the two week mark. Things are still moving at light speed, and I reiterate to those of you contemplating going to law school, regardless of where you go: Don’t start moving right before school starts (I still am moving…argh).
As for school itself, it is great, scary and exhilarating. I walked in thinking I knew certain things, and those preconceptions have been turned on their head (e.g. the idea that the Legal Research and Writing course would be “cake”). Forewarning: Beware of the Interactive Citation Workbook exercises (ICW) and don’t leave them until the last minute.
When you start you’ll hear some horror stories about your professors…take those with a grain of salt. They are genuinely interested in helping you learn and understand what is going on in the cases you are studying. That being said, I wouldn’t risk being unprepared in Prof. McGrath’s Torts class or Prof. Spurlock’s Contracts class. I have yet to encounter the professors’ bad sides, and pray I never will, but there is always that fear of being unprepared when they call your name.
8/26/09 – Well this is that part where I introduce myself, so my name is Jon Martz. I am a part-time evening 1L here at Texas Wesleyan Law. Three kids, 1 wife, 30 acres and 3 goats. I think that about covers the biography.
Here we are - we made it. For those of you questioning if you actually belong here, let me assure you that you do. You met the requirements and the school decided they wanted to help you become a lawyer. Now it’s time to focus on what matters…making it through the next year.
I have one piece of advice for everyone in general, but 1Ls in particular: Don’t try to move a house during the first few weeks of law school. You’ll go nuts. Due to an unfortunate matter of timing, we finally closed on our new property in Farmersville (for those of you wondering… it’s ones of those areas that is technically part of Texas, but everyone jokes is in Oklahoma). We closed on it the week before orientation, and couldn’t start the actual move until that week so… it’s still on-going.
On top of that I am still looking for a job after being laid off last May. So the unfortunate conjunction of circumstances (Prof. Kelly might cringe at that opening) makes it difficult to add the monster stress that is LAW SCHOOL, but it is well worth it. This is where we belong, guys. Let’s make the most of it.