Undergraduate School: University of Alabama
Undergraduate Major: Public Relations
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Status: Full-Time Day
4/24/13 - Well, Barristers’ is over, Crawfish is over, and classes are over. I am blessed to say that the last 3 years that I have spent at Texas Wesleyan have been nothing short of amazing. Of course I have learned a lot, but most importantly, I have met wonderful people that I can call my best friends. By far, for me, the best part of law school has been creating relationships with my future colleagues that I know will be long-lasting.
I’m done being sappy. I have officially picked up my cap and gown (yes, they are both unflattering), and am looking forward to getting my sash for the Journal, and my cords for the Fellowship. However, before I can even think about putting on that cap and gown, I have to get through my 3 final exams.
I have a take-home Oil and Gas exam that I am planning on tackling the first day of finals week. Even though a take-home sounds like a cakewalk, it is absolutely not. Because there is so much technical and scientific knowledge of the drilling process, Oil and Gas has not been the most intuitive subject for me this semester. Although I have already completed and done well on a memo that was worth 40% of our grade in the class, the grades all fell within a tight range, so I will have to work hard to distinguish myself. I can already tell you that I will spend FAR longer than the three hours that an in-class exam would be.
The second week of exams, I will take the Preparing for the Bar final, and then finally, my Education Law final, which is the last exam given. Ugh! It is also just two days before graduation – so of course the parties will already be started while I am hard at work on my final. However, if I know my friends at all, the fun will last far longer than my 3 hour final will. Cheers to my last set of law school finals and finishing up strong!
4/10/13 - So many “lasts” are coming my way. This week, we have our last Barrister’s Ball (basically, law school prom). Next weekend is the last Crawfish Boil that I will attend as a student, and in just a month, it will be time for graduation. As excited as I am to finally be done with school – goodbye case readings, memos, exams – knowing that it is accompanied by the last time that I will see so many people is very bittersweet. I know that in the next few months after we take the Bar, my friends and I will all start to spread out across Texas, and it may be quite some time before I see them again. I think it’s good to realize that, because it makes me cherish these “lasts” while I still have them.
With all the lasts, there has been a first in my life lately. This past weekend, the Journal of Real Property Law and the Law Review began our first annual kickball game. Despite having a few first-year disorganized kinks, it was a lot of fun to be able to see people outside of school and have some friendly competition on the field. I’m sad to say that the Journal was surprisingly not victorious this year, but I have faith in next year’s team (I’ll be sure to tell the Board-elect to get some soccer players on the staff).
I am excited to say that I have paid off my BarBri balance for my bar prep course this summer (with a little help from a tuition assistance program through BarBri, and a scholarship through the school), and I was able to order my study materials! Imagine my excitement when I came home to a somewhat large box on my doorstep that I could barely even lift. Literally, I had to scoot it inside. I better get over the sadness of being done with school quickly, because it appears it will take forever to get through all those study materials.
3/27/13 - By some unknown miracle, I have managed to fly under the radar for most of law school. In 2.5 years, I can count the number of “surprise call-ons” on about 8 fingers. Of course, I have volunteered, or I have known that I would be “on call” certain days, but I’ve only had a few instances of that moment of complete shock and “Oh my gosh, I did not understand this case at all and now you want me to tell you about it?” Well, this semester, my last semester, I seem to have a target on my forehead. All the professors want to make up for lost time, apparently. I’m not saying that the 3Ls should get a pass in our last month of school or anything, but a little pre-bar prep leeway would be nice.
Over Spring Break, I finally got my pro bono hours done! I spent a few days with my favorite Public Defender in Dallas and although it has been almost 2 years since I was there last, it was like nothing changed. People remembered me, and I got to go on fun lunches, and see old friends. It was a little shocking, though, because for over a year now the only clients that I have seen are Probate related, in an office setting—vastly different than speaking to your clients through a partition in a holding cell in the courtroom. It’s a good reminder that there are so many different types of law that I could do, and there’s no reason that I have to decide what to do now for the rest of my life.
This week, I got my loan check to pay for my bar prep course (very exciting!) and also my graduation invitations! I’m hoping I can finagle a family-style assembly line during Easter to get these invitations out ASAP!
3/6/13 - The votes are in! This week, the Journal of Real Property Board members selected the 6 student articles that will be published in our next 2 editions. It was all anonymous, and the other Note and Comment Editor and I were not allowed to have a vote, as we had been working with the papers and authors since September. When I got the email with the “code names” of the students’ papers that would be published, I was downright giddy. Not only did most of the students absolutely shock the Board with how well-researched and developed their articles were, but 5 of the 6 articles chosen were from my 13 “kids”! We held a luncheon at the school to formally announce who would be published, and I was just oozing with pride. I think most of the students selected were in shock – so I was plenty excited for everyone. But it is certainly bittersweet; my role on the Journal after two years is coming to a quick end…in fact, all we have left is a Journal Board versus Law Review Board kickball game!! (Details to come about how badly we will beat them and maybe I will make George cry).
There are only two classes standing between me and a week off from school (not so much off from work): Oil and Gas and Preparing for the Bar. Unfortunately, these aren’t just “zone out” classes….I have a memo due in Oil and Gas and a practice P&E (“Procedure and Evidence”) exam in Preparing for the Bar. Believe it or not, I think knowledge from my first two years has been leaking out of my head. Civil Procedure? Rules? Nope. Don’t remember any of those. Let’s just say these last two classes will really force me to earn a slight break.
2/27/13 - Like everyone else, I am counting down the days until Spring Break. As usual, it isn’t because I have any exciting trips planned—all funds are going towards surviving without a loan or a job very soon—but because I need some serious time to breathe. Although it is barely March, I am tired of speeding home in after work traffic, choking down some dinner while I refresh my reading assignments for my night class (I still hate classes after dark), getting home after 9:30 (do I sound whiny yet?), to then make myself stay up to read for classes the next day.
During all this, I have also been squeezing in reading multiple drafts of the 2L’s Property Journal papers, attempting to give thoughtful feedback that will be helpful, despite being fairly brain-dead myself. Oh – and trying to find a replacement for my job at work, as I will be leaving soon to finish up the semester and begin studying for the Bar. Thankfully, in the next week or two, a lot of these commitments are going to vanish. The students have turned in their final drafts of their articles, so all that is left to do is to “encode” them so I can submit each of them to the rest of the Journal Board to be read anonymously in order to select the papers for publication. I mean, I loved being a Note and Comment Editor this year, but it was a lot of work – fitting it extra reading on top of class reading is difficult. But I don’t regret it, and as my duties on the Journal come to an end during the next few weeks, I really am going to miss it! The second year of the Journal has been a whirlwind, and we were so blessed with an amazing Editor-in-Chief, who juggled crazy amounts of work, while pregnant with a toddler at home as well. I hope that it will continue to succeed next year and that I can continue to watch it grow!
2/13/13 - I’ve mentioned it before, but now I am going to commit: Senioritis is a myth. Here is the real reason that second semester 3Ls don’t want to read for class, have a glazed over look in their eyes, or just drop off the map completely: they (we) are too preoccupied with the 400 other stressors threatening to blow up their lives. Recently, I received a loan repayment schedule in the mail from my loan servicer. That was a rough day. It only got worse when I met with our financial aid advisor and realized that the letter (a source of a minor panic attack) only represented the required repayment for some of my law school loans. Oh goody. Not to mention, I will also need a bar study loan in order to get through the next few months and pay for my bar prep tuition. Major Stressor Number 1.
Major Stressor Number 2: I need to get my pro bono done by April 1. Despite working for both the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office in Dallas for 2 months after my first year, I was able to do so with a Fellowship Award, making it ineligible to count as pro bono work. This is just one of a million deadlines in the next few weeks.
Major Stressor Number 3: My mom, who had major back surgery over Christmas break, has now had a hip replacement. I am full of major Catholic guilt, torn between school, work, and being there to help her while she recovers. I couldn’t imagine doing this and having children of my own. Major props to all of the law students that manage to keep everything balanced without dropping anything. My fingers are crossed that next week will be a better one.
1/30/13 - This semester, I am trying to get a jump on summer bar prep by taking Preparing for the Bar, which is great because it helps me get familiar with the bar exam and allows me to get credits that count towards my graduation requirements. While we only meet for two hours once a week, we also have three Saturdays of class. Our first Saturday class was this weekend, where we learned a different way to approach multiple choice questions (which we will have to face on the MBE). This was really eye-opening for me. While I have always known that multiple choice questions are not my strong suit, I didn’t realize how much I will need to improve before July. I’m really glad that I can get a head start on figuring out my problem areas.
The other great asset that we have during Preparing for the Bar is the requirement to write several MPTs and practice essays, which will be individually graded by a graduate or practicing attorney (“graders”). We took our first MPT a few weeks ago in class, and the pressure definitely got to me. I sat there wondering, “How is this person typing so much? Why did they start so much faster than I did? Am I reading too thoroughly?” The trick is to skim for only what is pertinent in order to have enough time to organize your thoughts to actually convey them succinctly. I haven’t gotten my score back from my grader just yet, and even though I know there is a good chance that he will tell me how terrible my memo was, I’m happy that I get the next few months to work on getting better. Preparing for the Bar is not a required course for most students, but at this point, I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want the extra push towards getting ready.
1/16/13 - One of my good friends from school, who is also on the Property Journal with me, called me this week to ask if I shared his lack of motivation for schoolwork during our last semester. Yep, it is the second week of the spring semester, and senioritis (3L-itis?) has set in.
In case you are wondering, yes, I don’t really feel like reading, going to class, taking tests, or writing memos. I mean, I’m still doing all those things, but definitely with a “Can we get this over with already?” mentality. I think this is bad. It’s only going to get worse over the next few months, and I can’t even imagine doing bar prep all summer long. But, this phone call only confirmed that pretty much everyone else is feeling the same way.
School is feeling really empty these days. Quite a few people graduated early, and a handful of my friends are taking the Bar early, so they are only enrolled in one obscure class this semester. Now that we are all pretty much done with our required courses, I am no longer in a class of 90 people with whom I started my first year. But the upside is that I get to take a class of 15 people that I am actually really interested in…I am loving Education Law! I am clueless as to how to make this work for me after I graduate, but I would really like to pursue it. Since my parents have been involved in the school system for over 20 years, hopefully this is something they can help me figure out.
1/9/13 - Back to school for my last semester of law school, and with Alabama winning our 15th National Championship, I feel like it’s going to be a good one. During Christmas break, I finally decided on the final two classes that I will take at Texas Wesleyan this semester (only took me two months).
I am planning on working on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the day, and then taking Education Law at night. I have confessed before that I am not a fan of night classes, so to take a class scheduled until 9:15 PM is going to be rough for me. But I’m actually really excited about it. I grew up with two parents that were always teachers or administrators within DISD (Dallas Independent School District), and when I went to college, I entertained the idea of working for Teach for America when I graduated. However, my parents were pretty adamant about me not going into teaching. I have struggled to find an area of law that I would want to go into after I graduate in May, and I am excited that this class may help me decide if school law could be the one.
I am also taking Oil and Gas twice a week. Although I don’t see myself going into this, it is an area that is huge in Texas, one that I come across a lot with the Property Journal, and of course, is bar tested. I’m hoping that learning the basics will help to spark my interests a little, or at least get me ready for bar prep this summer.
12/18/12 - This is the first “working” Christmas of my life. I feel blessed to have a job and be getting real legal experience, but it is a strange feeling to go to work every day, instead of staying with my parents and decorating for Christmas. It definitely helps me from getting bored over the holiday break. I still get all of the important days off to be with my family, so I’m content.
Since I haven’t bragged about Alabama in a while, let me just say how excited I am that we are playing for our 15th National Championship! My dad is also a super-fan, so we were planning a father-daughter trip to Miami to see the game in person. Unfortunately, my mother found out a few days ago that she will be having back surgery just two days after Christmas, so Dad and I decided that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the trip knowing that Mom was toughing it out by herself at home. This is probably for the best, since the game is on the first day of school – and I suppose that I shouldn’t start my last semester by slacking off. I’m not ready to think about it being my last semester as a student (probably ever) just yet, so for now, I think I will just enjoy the holidays!
12/12/12 - Finals are finally over, and although I only had to take finals in three classes, they were STRESSFUL. I spent quite a few days in the library before finals started, for entirely too long. But as bad as finals were, nothing could compare to taking them in the fall during my 1L year, where statistics were constantly bouncing around, and we were being reminded that our first year’s academic ranking was the most important. I am far more relaxed this time around, but still anxious enough to spend days eating nothing but scrambled eggs and wearing sweatshirts while I trek to the library.
Luckily, finals are over and it’s time for winter graduation! I have a few friends that decided to graduate early, and I can’t imagine what next semester will be like without them! I’m really excited to go to graduation parties this weekend in order to celebrate the last 2.5 years of hard work, but it is really bittersweet. I can’t believe I will be in their shoes in 6 months…am I ready?
I may not be ready, but I least after passing the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam) I know that I am at least ethical enough to practice in Texas. George and I had made a pact not to post on our blogs that we were taking the 2 hour exam until after we knew that we had passed it. Well, congratulations, George! We’ve made this teeny tiny step in furtherance of our futures. Phew!
11/28/12 - Thanksgiving is over and it was very successful. Every year I try to make sure I’m really involved with the preparation since I know I will have to take over some day, and thankfully, this year, I didn’t have the dread of finals starting the week immediately after the holiday to distract me. Of course, now is the time to worry about finals.
I have to work for a few days next this week while I am studying, but I have been making countless flashcards for a few hours every night. In theory, I should be fine. I’ve gone to class, I’ve been mentally present in class (for the most part), and I have a few more days to sharpen the details. I’ve been having a more difficult time making myself study, and I think it’s because senioritis (3L-itis?) has set in and I’m just annoyed with school in general. What I need now is a way to power through the next week and a half and relax over Christmas break! Here’s hoping we can all make it through!
11/14/12 - I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving next week, not necessarily because of the food, or the family, although those will both be great things that I have been missing, but mostly for the chance to rest. These last few weeks of school have been completely jam-packed, and I am just about at my limit. Even though I will need to study for finals over the brief break, it will be nice to sleep in a little bit and not constantly be rushing to work or class.
The Journal of Real Property Law had our big Water Law Symposium last week, and although it was a stress-filled few days of last minute details prior to it, the event itself was a huge success. We hosted esteemed experts in water law from all over the country (one even from Canada), and they all agreed that it was the best Water conference that they had ever been to (which is saying a lot, since it is their primary focus). It feels good to have it over with, although Professor Eckstein was quick to remind us that it was time to begin thinking of our topic for next year’s symposium.
We are down to our last assignment in my Estate Administration Drafting class, and it may be the worst and most confusing assignment I have done in law school. Although I am fortunate enough to work for one of the best probate attorneys in Fort Worth, I have never had to do an Account for Final Settlement for an Estate. After barely struggling through one on a fictitious assignment, I’m not sure that I would ever want to do one in real life, especially in only a few days, and especially without a legal assistant to help me run the numbers. Have I mentioned that I am terrible at math? Or that I have never taken an accounting class in my life? Math and accounting are the equivalent of being stabbed in the eye with a fork. Although I am sure that I did most of it incorrectly, I’m just glad to have it over.
10/31/12 - Today was supremely average. I went to my regular classes, had a meeting with a student about her student article, sent about a million emails, and yet, it was subliminally panic-filled. It’s kind of like a giant to-do list hit me in the face in a completely overwhelming manner. First, I discovered that although I “locked in” a rate for my bar prep course during my 1L year, now that I have learned more about the different options, I think I want to go with a different course. Of course, since I didn’t “lock in” this different course, I was informed that I could save myself a few hundred dollars if I signed up by October 31st, with a payment of $3,500.00.
Um, okay, I don’t know what kind of dream world others are living in, but I don’t just have a few thousand dollars lying around that isn’t already spoken for (you know, for rent and such). This situation only brought to mind that I will have to apply for additional loans to pay for the review course, and to help me pay for my living expenses for those few months. The whole idea of accumulating more debt is just terrifying, but it’s really inescapable.
A more imminent threat is exams. Despite my extensive calendar-ing of every detail of my week, I neglected to put my finals in my planner…this is living on the edge for me. So, it wasn’t until today that I realized that all three of my finals will be in the first week, with Evidence, the most work-intensive final that I will have, coming up first. I’m sure everything will be fine, especially since we really lucked out this year, with Thanksgiving falling earlier in the month, because we will get a “dead week” between then and the beginning of finals. But, today was definitely a reality check that I need to get myself in gear for what is to come.
10/17/12 - Well, after months of anticipation, my best friend finally had her baby girl last week. Of course, I have seen plenty of babies before, but never immediately after they are born, and not any that I am emotionally attached to. So maybe I am a little biased, but she is the most precious bundle that I could ever imagine. Part of me wants to just stop going to school and work so I can hang out with her all day! I guess that would be a terrible idea since I’m so close to the end, but it is definitely my back-up plan after a lousy day.
This weekend, I am flying to Birmingham, Alabama to participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” Walk. I am walking on a team formed in memory of my friend who passed away in January from leukemia. With any luck, we will be able to join LLS and walk with them in her honor every year. Although she is never far from my mind, I imagine seeing her friends and family for the first time since her funeral will make me miss her even more. I think it might be kind of a hard weekend, since losing her is still so fresh, but I am glad to show my support for her family and raise money in her honor.
Although I am looking forward to my trip, going out of town stresses me out. I am going to be missing two of my afternoon classes (which is a first for me this semester), and one day of work. I really don’t want to get the mentality that I don’t have to read since I won’t be in class, because then I think I will feel like I am playing catch up for the rest of the semester. I’m trying to get everything done before I leave, but it is definitely running me ragged. Good thing I will have about 2 hours each way on the flight to do nothing but read.
10/3/12 - It’s pretty unreal to me that despite taking fewer classes than I ever have before, and being on the somewhat downhill slope in school, I am busier than I have ever been. Consequently, the weeks are flying by. After just two days of classes per week, the week is basically over and then it’s on to preparing for the next week (not really, but that’s what it seems like). I think it may also be because the two days of classes are so long. I find myself having a distant memory of what occurred on Tuesday morning, even when it’s only Wednesday afternoon.
That being said, I think it’s good for me. Of course, I would rather not wake up at 6 AM, sit in traffic from 7:30 - 8:15 in order to travel the whopping 7.6 miles to school, spend 9 - 9.5 hours there, then sit in rush hour traffic on the way home, but, isn’t this what life is all about?! It’s not so bad as long as you have snacks for the day (literally as many as if you are going to be stranded in the desert), good music for the traffic, and enough sleep to keep you from resorting to too much caffeine. I’ve also been successfully in making sure I am somewhat presentable every day—sweatpants are really tempting at 6 AM, but I think if you look awake, you have a better chance of feeling awake. No promises for winter.
I received a transcript of my deposition from a few weeks ago. As much as I panicked about it and tried to compose myself before giving any answer, surprise surprise, at least in transcript form, I come off as a typical dumb-dumb. I mean, seriously. It’s amazing how people can make you feel like you just don’t remember anything, didn’t pay attention to anything useful, remind you that you are not qualified to be making assessments about the situation, etc. I’m am just so excited to return my signed copy and affirm that yes, I do sound silly, and I should stop making fun of testimony that I read in case law, because I could soon be in the same position.
9/19/12 - I had a really unique experience this week. I had my deposition taken as a witness to something that happened two years ago, just before I started law school. I have never seen a deposition taken before, so it was quite a big deal for me. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that I was nervous and intimidated. My boss gave me some informational materials that he ordinarily gives to clients that are scheduled to be deposed and want to know what to expect. He was very excited for me to get the opportunity to see what a deposition would be like for my future clients, so I could tell them that it wasn’t that bad. Well, now that it’s over, I guess I can say that maybe it wasn’t too terrible, although the huge lights, camera, and microphones did NOT help to ease my apprehension. I can only imagine how nervous I will be if the case goes to trial and I have to testify…yikes.
Something equally terrifying is how quickly time seems to be moving along. We were notified that cap and gown fittings and graduation composite photos would be taken next week at school. Next week??? Isn’t it still September? Don’t I have over seven months until graduation? I just feel like I’m already being ushered out of the school and into the world. How could I possibly think about how many announcements that I want to order for graduation in May, when I haven’t even done my reading for my morning class tomorrow? I think everyone needs to slow down a little. I mean, I’m just trying to wrap my head around what is and what isn’t hearsay.
9/6/12 - Things are just moving along so rapidly, it feels like I have been in school for at least 3 months now! We have wrapped up our third week of school, and it would be great to just be able to take a deep breath and soak up everything that I have learned. I think I am supposed to be experiencing some kind of 3L-bored-to-death/senioritis, but I haven’t even had time to do that.
When I met with our Financial Aid advisor to change my status to part-time, I remember asking him, “What do I do with the other part of my time?” Uhh…what other part of my time? Every day that I am not at school, I am at work, and both days, I am tied to my cell phone answering Property Journal emails. I am really excited to be a member of our Editorial Board, and I want to do a good job, so I feel like I have to answer every single email the second I get it so that the other members know that I am attentive. I mean, keeping up with 13 people and 13 Journal articles is a big time commitment! Hopefully I can provide helpful guidance throughout the year.
Not to imply that I haven’t been able to have any free time. Last week, I tried to get a little ahead on my Evidence reading (near impossible, because Evidence is very tricky), because I had a few friends coming in town for the Alabama vs. Michigan game at Cowboys Stadium. First of all, even though I have been to the stadium, it still blew my mind. It is completely massive! Secondly, I can’t think of anything more fun than having thousands of Crimson Tide fans practically in my own backyard. Sometimes, being back in Texas, I feel so far removed from my school and its traditions that it makes me really sad. This weekend completely remedied that! Now, all I need is to catch up on a little sleep from all the excitement of winning and being on the road to 15!!
8/29/12 - My LAST fall semester is in full swing and it is already so busy, despite it being only the second week of school. Even though I am taking fewer hours than I have ever taken before, it seems like I barely have time to blink.
I am in four classes this semester, and only go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Although that doesn’t sound like very much, it makes for two very long days. I am up by 6 am and don’t get out of class until 5 or 6 pm. Luckily I have a break after Evidence until my afternoon classes, so I can get a little bit of reading done. I am working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the afternoon, so really the only time that I ever have during the day is in the mornings before I go to work. It is exhausting, but good practice for when I have a regular, full-time job.
We had training for the Property Journal new students this weekend, and I am so excited to report that we now have 35 students on the Journal! This is really exciting because so many people involved with the Property Journal graduated in May, leaving us to work with only about 10 people over the summer. The Board is wasting no time in having the 2Ls get their feet wet—they are already working on selecting their topics for the note or comment that they will submit to be published in the second edition of our Journal. As a Note and Comment Editor, I have been assigned 13 new staffers to assist. I will be helping them develop a thesis about their topic and work on their papers throughout the semester. This is a huge time commitment, but I really want to be a good resource for everyone. It’s pretty obvious that I will be getting good practice in time management this semester!
Most importantly, college football season kicks off this weekend with Alabama vs. Michigan played in Cowboys Stadium! It seems like just about everyone from college is coming in town, so it should be really fun. Roll Tide Roll!
7/25/12 - I went on vacation to the beach in Florida for a week, and apparently I must still be mentally checked out. My blog this week is late - yikes! But it is worth it to have been able to go to the beach with my family and not think about work or school for an entire week. I think while I was there, I decided I just wanted to live on the beach and eat oysters every day. I mean, there are jobs for lawyers in Florida, right??
But of course, my vacation had to end and now it is back to reality, where I am just a regular student waiting for grades from summer school, dreading and anticipating the start of the fall semester, working a few days a week, and busy reading write-on applications for the new additions to the Real Property Journal. Things certainly have not slowed down even a little bit, which I guess is a good thing, because I wouldn’t want to be bored.
I am really excited about the second year for the Journal. We’ve got a great pool of candidates to choose from, and hopefully, by this time next week, we (and they) will know who is selected and what we can expect in the upcoming school year. I think good things are in store!
I turned 24 a few weeks ago and could not stop telling people that I thought it was going to be the best year of my life. Things are falling into place with school, I will graduate at this age, my best friend is having a baby…everything is going according to plan and I am equally as excited about my new role on the Journal and working with the new group!
6/27/12 - This is a really crazy time for anyone associated with our law school. Crazy in a good, out-of-the-blue, exciting way. This week, it was announced that Texas A&M and Texas Wesleyan would be partnering together for our law school, with hopes of making our law school into a top-tier institution. Rumors of the partnership were all over Facebook on Monday, and by Tuesday morning, a press conference to announce the possibility was being held in our Conference Center.
Needless to say, it’s all anyone can talk about at school. I think we are all looking forward to the positive changes that could come with attending a school that is more widely recognized by name. I’m not sure that anything is set in stone yet, but we are all anxious to find out what this means for the students…will I graduate from Texas A&M Law School at Texas Wesleyan next year? Will I be an SEC “double dipper” (since A&M has recently joined the nation’s best conference)?
It’s really hard to top that kind of news. This summer has been rushing by, full of work to keep me plenty busy. I looked at my calendar the other day and realized that summer finals are in less than two weeks!!! What could I have possibly learned?? Not that it will ever matter after this summer, but I think for my personal learning style, school in a condensed format was a bad idea. There is really no time to let concepts marinate in your mind, because before you know it, you’ve moved onto something completely different. I think I will be able to get it all meshed together before my two exams, but it will be tough.
I have mentioned before that I have the privilege of working with my best friend at our office. She and I are both Legal Assistants, but as she has been there for a year, she has been the Senior Legal Assistant since I started in February. She found out within the last few months that she is pregnant and due in October. Of course, I could not be any more excited for her and am ready to take my place as the baby’s honorary aunt, I am nervous about her leaving and taking over her role. It seems like every day at work I learn something new, and while I know that it goes with the territory, it’s a little bit like taking off the training wheels from your bike. It’s hard to know when you’re ready. Luckily, she has a few more months to mentor me. Maybe by my next blog, I’ll be ready to take over (fingers crossed).
**A Note on the Letter of Intent between Texas A&M and Texas Wesleyan - Legal Disclaimer**
5/30/12 - It has been about three weeks since school let out, and you could have fooled me. It feels like there was absolutely no break between the spring semester ending and summer school beginning. I guess there was, but not really for people who have jobs. You know what I hate about summer school? Everything. Especially the fact that I have to read and do problem sets during what is supposed to be our time off from school. Unfortunately, in order to pay for my living expenses this summer, I needed to get a loan, and the only way I could do that was to take 2 classes. Maybe two classes doesn’t sound like much, but since they are for only 7 weeks instead of the usual 14 during the regular semesters, each class meeting is twice as long and double the material. Maybe that’s why it feels like I have been in summer school for a month already, and it’s only been two weeks—because we have covered that much material. Only 5 weeks to go! You can do anything for 5 weeks, right?!?
I guess I should be grateful that I am not busy doing Bar prep with all of the recent graduates, because they are literally at school every day as well, for much longer than the 4 hours that I’m here. It’s hard to believe that I will be doing the same thing in just a year. I went to graduation just a few weeks ago to give my 3L friends a proper sendoff, and I could already picture my class receiving our diplomas. It’s crazy how fast school is going by. At least in my case, I’m pretty sure this is going to be the last time in my life when I am in school. Since that is all I have ever really done, it’s an intimidating thought. Maybe I should try to make the most of summer school…
5/9/12 - Wow! All I can say is that I am ready for a nap. I just finished my last final of my 2L year. It was a 24 hour take home final, and let me just tell you, it took me about 13 hours. I have been working off of very little sleep during the past two weeks of exams and I’m looking forward to going to bed at a reasonable time tonight. Not to mention, my apartment could use quite a bit of spring cleaning—I was roughing it these past few weeks.
All in all, I think finals went okay. I had two open note finals, two take home finals, and one closed note and book final. While it seems more comforting to be able to use your book and notes during an exam, it can be a lot more stressful because it can trick you into thinking you don’t need to prepare as much. I fell into that trap last semester and got a grade lower than what I expected. This time, I made sure to learn my notes front and back so that I wouldn’t waste valuable time looking through the book. I think that strategy worked much better and that I will see results that reflect it.
That being said, I certainly did not have an easy time with my closed book final. I practically had to memorize the applicable code book, and I’m not entirely sure that it went well. I’m going to try not to worry about it for the next few weeks until grades are posted.
But that doesn’t mean I can forget about school. I get a week off before summer school starts, which lasts until July. I am taking a class with my Legal Writing professor from my first year, one of my favorite professors at the school. I am excited about that, but jeez, Professor Burge, did you have to already post the syllabus?! I can’t even think about a new class just yet.
It’s a good thing that finals are over now, because Mother’s Day is this weekend and I need to make up for all the unanswered phone calls and the times when I’ve taken out my frustrations with her. I’m thinking a lemon tree says all that…maybe?
4/25/12 - Last weekend was certainly a busy way to signal the end of the semester. The Fellowship hosted our very first “Project Community”, an idea that blogger and public interest fellow Jeremy Carroll (like me) helped to create during the fall semester. Jeremy and a few other fellows wanted to dedicate a day of service with various organizations to ensure that the law school is actively giving back to the community—something we are really proud of considering we are members of the Public Interest Law Fellowship. The Fellowship and other students served at Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth, and I can only say that it was such an enriching experience. I am hesitant to even give any details out about what UGM does, because I think everyone should go check it out themselves. But I will say that it was just full of amazing people with inspirational messages, doing great work every day. We had around 100 students (rough estimate) that worked with various organizations, and I can only hope it will be even more next year.
After we got back from Project Community, the Annual Alumni Crawfish Boil was beginning. The Property Journal and Law Review hosted a margarita booth. To anyone that took a drink that I made, I am not a bartender. Sorry! But it was a lot of fun. We had a live band that is extremely popular in Fort Worth, lots of crawfish and shrimp, and even a bounce house for the kids (at least I think it was mostly kids in there). It was such a good way to relax a little and get some sun before “dead week” and finals crunch time.
Now, we are halfway through with dead week and finals are looming ahead. I have two take-home finals and three in-class finals this semester. I will do two of the in-class ones next week, and also one of the take-homes. Thankfully, my boss is very understanding and gave me pretty much all of finals off work, so I can concentrate on doing well. I am one lucky (and busy) girl!
4/18/12 - I have really felt the weight of taking five classes, working three days a week, and being on the Property Journal for the past few weeks. Even my mother, who can always be counted on to tell me that I look pretty or in shape (even if we both know that I don’t) commented about the dark circles under my eyes. I officially feel like a raccoon. I guess it is a combination of being a little burned out from the semester, and the professors attempts to squeeze in the last bits of information before school ends, combined with the Journal’s increasing assignments of editing articles that we plan to publish this summer.
I’m not sure which one it was, but one of these stressors was the straw that broke the camel’s back last week. I can’t believe that I actually cried a little bit when I realized that my year was so booked up with summer school, work, and the journal that I would be missing our big family reunion that happens every other year. I have six half sisters on my dad’s side, living in various states with their own families, so it is rare that we can all get together, and I am devastated that I will be missing it for the first time ever. I know that it is silly, because as many of my friends have reminded me through my meltdown: this is what being a grownup is. Many grownups don’t get vacations either.
Well, fine. Maybe they are right. But it still feels as if I will have a full year before I get a break, and even then, I will be studying for the Bar. I just feel like there is huge train barreling towards me bringing the rest of my life. I know that I am so fortunate to be able to look forward to what will hopefully be a successful life because of the opportunities that I have had in my education…but, just for a few more months…I don’t want to grow up!
4/4/12 - As I was reading everyone’s blog from the last few weeks, I noticed that Stephanie had written about a professor that took some time the other day in class to remind us not to rush through life. I don’t need to repeat his advice in its entirety, but it really resonated with me. Like Stephanie, I am often so busy thinking about the next step and rushing to get there that I forgot to enjoy where I am. It hit me the other day that in just a little over a year, I will be done with school, probably for the rest of my life, and won’t see many of the people that I have become so accustomed to seeing on a daily basis.
I realize many of us will move away and get wrapped up into our own lives of starting a careers and families and we will probably forget all about each other. Just the other day, I was trying to remember the topic of our first memo assignment last year in Legal Writing…and I couldn’t. I think that is so sad. I’m going to make more of an effort to appreciate where I am right now because I know it is fleeting!
Something I hope to always remember, however, is the great lengths that the Property Journal has come! We had our very first symposium a few weeks ago on the topic of Wildfire Law—prompted by the Texas wildfires last summer. We had very enthusiastic and interesting speakers, discussing related topics such as the insurance side of the wildfires and the legal aid given during the fires. It was a huge success for us, especially as a brand new Journal, and it was such a good feeling to be a part of something that I have literally seen created and shaped throughout this year. It makes me even more excited for what is to come next year when I will be an even bigger part of the Journal.
3/21/12 - The week before Spring Break, I was reminded of one of the things I love most about going to a smaller school. Just randomly between classes, I heard people all over the halls saying, “Hey did you hear that one of our Moot Court Teams is advancing to the National Finals? I am so proud of them!”
It didn’t matter that this person didn’t necessarily know everyone on the team, and wasn’t involved in Moot Court at all. She was just excited for the positive recognition of our school. It’s really nice to be reminded how much of a community we are here. Of course, sometimes it is inconvenient to have the “everybody knows everybody” feeling, but usually it is pretty great to be a part of such a tight-knit group.
I think back to Spring Break last year and remember how stressed out I was, using my week to keep my head above water in school and researching my trial brief. This year, I didn’t really have very much to do besides normal class reading. And yet, I still took no exotic trips. It turns out that regardless of schoolwork, I am still a student living on financial aid.
My only exciting news is that the Journal of Real Property Law elected its new Executive and Editorial Boards, and I am delighted to say that I will be one of the Note and Comment Editors for the 2012-2013 year! Basically, I will be assigned a group of 2Ls who are working on their student comments and be the first set of reviewing eyes to their work. I will be the one to guide the 2Ls through their writing process, and hopefully help a few of them be in the running for publication. It is going to be a big job, but I am absolutely thrilled about my plans for my final year in school.
2/29/12 - A few of the 3Ls around here have been noticeably absent this week, due to the February Bar Exam. Whaaat? The Bar Exam? Ay-yi-yi.
The past year and a half have just been getting through school, finding temporary employment, and figuring out what classes I will need to graduate. Somewhere along the way, it must have slipped my mind that this is all a precursor to taking the bar and having a license to practice. Luckily, I will not be one of those overzealous few that decide to take the February Bar. I will instead take the July Bar after I have already graduated, so it gives me a few more months before I need to fully freak out. But the realization that I am not far from it is weighing heavily on my mind.
The summer class schedule came out recently, and I will be the first to tell you that I don’t personally believe in summer school. I think everybody needs some downtime and can use a break from studying—especially if you have gone through school nonstop as I have. However, in my 3L year course planning, I realized that I could lighten my load quite a bit so that I could focus more on the future during the fall and spring semesters if I just took two classes this summer. What. A. Bummer. I have now registered, although I can’t say for sure that I won’t change my mind later. I will be working this summer, and my family has a big reunion planned this summer that falls smack in the middle of school. I also have to consider my loan status and whether I will be able to take enough hours during the regular school year to still be considered a “full-time” student. Luckily, there are people much wiser here available to help me wade through the decisions.
Spring Break is in a week and a half!! I’m trying to push through so I can get some rest and relax. One of my best friends is getting married over the break, so we are having her bachelorette party this weekend to pump her up. At least I know there is one person around here that is a little more stressed than I am! (Congrats Erin!!!!)
2/15/12 - Well, I promised that I would give an update on how my new work-school schedule is going now, so here we are. I am in my second full week of working, and I think things have been going pretty smoothly. I was a little nervous on when I would get things done for school, since ordinarily I have had Tuesday and Thursday mornings to prepare for my afternoon classes. But so far, just by doing a little more on the weekends and making my break between classes on Mondays and Wednesdays more productive, things have been manageable.
I will be excited when I finally get the hang of things at work. The attorney I work for does all of his instructions by dictation, which is good because it leaves little room for error (not to say I haven’t made plenty of errors in the last two weeks). The only thing I am having issues with is finding time to eat before class. I leave work at 1 PM, and it is about a 15-minute drive to school for class at 1:30 PM. I’ve been able to eat really quickly before class starts, and I will probably get into a better routine as the weeks pass. Obviously, if that is my biggest complaint, things aren’t so bad.
Last weekend, a few fellow law students and I went to Professor Burge’s (our 1L writing professor) house to have dinner and play Risk, and experience which we had won at the Fellowship Auction. I have to say, not only have I never played Risk, but I didn’t really think I wanted to…I was so wrong. My best friend and I completely dominated. I was extremely proud of us for being able to even compete with Professor Burge and a few of the other power-hungry girls, and it was a pleasant treat to find she was the winner and I was the runner-up. It is always fun to get to know your professor outside of the classroom and really build your relationship as regular “non-school” people. The Auction is great because it provides opportunities to do that while helping out a school organization.
2/1/12 - Things are moving right along in my world this week. First, I have to tell everyone that it is Public Interest Week here at school, which means from Monday through Thursday we have all kinds of information, speakers, and opportunities available for students. The Fellowship, which I am involved in, is a huge part of Public Interest Week. It is basically an entire week to advertise to students that they can work in a public interest setting and still be paid over the summer.
The big news for me is that I am going to start working this Friday for a probate attorney in Fort Worth. My best friend has worked there for almost a year and has really enjoyed it, and recommended that I look into it if I were interested in working this semester. I have to confess: I have never worked while being in school. I am extremely nervous about taking on this responsibility, but it is time to face the truth: I’m 23, halfway done with law school, and it is time to put on my big-girl pants.
I am taking 5 classes, or 15 hours this semester, and also get a 1 hour credit for the Property Journal, so it works out to 16 hours. I will be working Tuesdays and Thursday mornings before I go to school at 1:30 PM, and then all day Friday. This sounds manageable, right? I think it probably will be. I do a lot of school reading on the weekends, so as long as I keep to that schedule, I think I will be fine. Details to come about my first day!!
1/18/12 - So, obviously I have been a bit down lately, and it is kind of difficult to get back into the swing of things this semester. I am trying to alter a few things, as one of my New Year’s resolutions was to focus more on school and finishing the last half of my legal education strong.
I have always preferred to be a handwritten note taker. My computer is noisy and heavy, and I would rather not take it to school. However, one of my classes this semester, Internet Law, uses online materials (shocking, I know). Rather than print everything out, I made a judgment call to just use my computer for both reading and notes. Since I also have two other classes on the same day as Internet Law, I decided that I might as well try taking notes on the computer for those as well. So far, it is a lot easier to keep notes in a constant outline form—something I will appreciate as time goes on. I am still getting used to it, so while I read and prepare for class at home, I take notes by hand and then I end up transferring them as we talk about it in class. This may be a huge waste of time, but I can’t tell yet.
My Property Journal article is still a work in progress. Our second draft is due this week, and a member of the faculty will soon be reviewing what I have spent countless hours working on…cue my anxiety.
1/11/12 - It is a new year, and a new semester, and the beginning of attempting to stick to my New Year’s resolutions (good grades and getting on a more regular gym schedule).
However, 2012 did not start out on a good note. I am so saddened to say that at the end of last week, one of my best friends from college passed away. Jessica was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2010, just a few months after our joint graduation party from Alabama. After seeing her through her diagnosis back in Alabama, and visiting her during her bone marrow transplant this fall in Houston, I never envisioned that she wouldn’t get better. Jessica was the most infectious, positive, and sweetest person I have ever known. She was very strong throughout her entire battle, but she developed pneumonia in December, and her immune system rejected her transplant.
I flew to Alabama this weekend, and our other best friend drove from Atlanta, picked me up from the airport. We made our way to Jessica’s tiny hometown for her arrangements. It was absolutely one of the most difficult weekends of my life, as it was for all of her friends and family. The National Championship game on Monday was a huge reminder of her, as she was a baton twirler (called a Crimsonette) for Alabama, and loved watching our team play. I know she had the best seat in the house, and she taught all the other angels “Yea Alabama” as she watched us win our 14th National Title. She will forever be in my heart, and I encourage anyone reading this to visit http://marrow.org/Home.aspx and be tested to potentially become a donor to help save someone’s life.
And of course, after going to the funeral and seeing her family, I had to come back and go to my first day of school on Monday. Between 10:30 AM and 5:45 PM, I have three classes: Wills & Estates, Internet Law, and Children and the Law. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only have classes from 1:30 PM until 4:15 PM, which are Criminal Procedure and Payment Systems. Initially, I think I am really going to enjoy Criminal Procedure, because the professor is the same one I had for Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law. I have done well in those classes and I connect with her teaching style. I am worried about Payment Systems, because I don’t generally connect with the business type classes very often. I have never been business or money oriented, because it seems very abstract to me. But, I like the professor and I’m hoping that I can find some way to get through it. We’ll see what week 2 brings.
12/14/11 - Since I read a lot of blogs before starting law school, I was familiar with the saying about your three years in school: “Your first year, they scare you to death, your second year, they work you to death, and your third year, they bore you to death.” Well, I was definitely terrified my first year; I don’t think I stopped being scared until April. Now that I have another semester down and am halfway through my second year, I can confirm that, yes, indeed I have been worked to death.
The weirdest part is that classes themselves did not exhaust me. Obviously, I had a lot of work for class. Constitutional Law was absolutely the most difficult class I have taken thus far, and as much as we learned, there is still so much that we couldn’t even get to. My other two “traditional” lecture classes were time-consuming as well. Although we could use our notes for my Business Associations exam, I literally worked to the final minute of the four-hour allotted time. I didn’t even have time to look over things.
Now, while just about everyone else has started their holiday break, I am deep into my paper for the Property Journal. I have a little more time to work on it (about 13 days), but dang. It is exhausting. Not only have I determined that I don’t have any original thoughts in my head, but it is so hard for me to get up in the morning and be motivated to work when I am exhausted. Not that I am complaining—this is a great opportunity. I just wish I could either push “pause” and rest up, “rewind” and do more work on it over the course of the semester, or “fast-forward” to the finished product. But I’m stuck on “play”, and it is slow going.
Christmas break will feel so much better because it will be a long time coming. At least I know that when I go home, I will have a wonderful family and a gorgeous, decorated house to look forward to!
11/22/11 - While everyone else in the country gets to be excited about Thanksgiving and having time off, law students see this holiday for what it really is: finals cramming time. Last year, when I realized that finals would start the Monday after Thanksgiving, I also realized the only day I could afford to hang out and not study would be Thanksgiving itself. This year, I don’t have a final on Monday, but I do have two finals later in the week. That’s great, because for the first time, my brother, sister-in-law, and two crazy nephews are driving in from Georgia to spend the week with everyone at my parents’ house. I know it will be really difficult to tear myself away from my family to study, but I know that’s the situation for most of the other students too.
I’m a little stressed out. I’m not sure how studying for finals is going to go. I am taking one class Pass/Fail this semester, and since it is my first time to take a class like this, I’m confused about how to study. Obviously, if I don’t study at all, I really would earn a big fat “F.” But how much work do I put into this? It will not count towards my GPA, but obviously I need to know the material. It is also the second exam I am taking, so it’s not exactly like I can put all of my other classes first. The most likely outcome will be that I over-study for the class and will be fine. Here’s hoping.
I was invited to an Alumni Awards Dinner this past week. Although I am not yet alum, Dean Jeffers graciously invited a few students from various student organizations. It was really nice to have a delicious dinner and witness the hard-working and dedicated people that Texas Wesleyan has produced. It kind of gave me a goal to be sitting at that dinner in a few years, after I accomplish something. Fingers crossed.
11/9/11 - So, I promised a post-Auction update. After months of hard work, the night of the Auction finally came. Unfortunately for us, it also happened to be the night of Game 7 of the World Series. What. A. Bummer. As expected with the game, attendance was not as high as we had hoped. I know that we could not have done anything more to prepare for the event, and I am proud of how much work we put into it. When everything was said and done, with Dean White’s matching, we made a little over $48,000. I can only say that I look forward to the new Fellows that will benefit from this money, just like I did last year.
As far as school is going, I have been really stressed out lately. School ends on November 21, and then there are just a few days to enjoy Thanksgiving before it is time to take finals. Additionally, for one of my classes, I also have a paper and a presentation along with my final. To make matters even more stressful, my Property Journal note will be due shortly after finals.
How can I possibly find the time to do all this? I don’t have an answer. Lately, I’ve been staying up later and getting up earlier, and am running low on energy. Everyone else must be, too, because it seems as though people are taking a “personal day” every week. I would love to take a personal day…but unfortunately I am plagued with what I refer to as “the Catholic guilt.” Any time that I’m doing something that I’m not supposed to, I just feel overwhelmed with guilt. So I know that even if I do take a day off to have a chance to exhale, I will just feel guilty for skipping class. But, the more tired I get, the more I think I could handle a little guilt for a break. Fingers crossed that I can make it through a few more days.
10/26/11 - In honor of the Texas Wesleyan Public Interest Law Fellowship Auction happening this week, my blog is going to be completely devoted to publicizing the Fellowship. First, I want to explain what the Public Interest Law Fellowship (PILF) is.
We are a student run organization dedicated to giving law students the opportunity to work in a public interest environment that wouldn’t necessarily pay or be able to afford an intern. Like me, many students are 100% dependent on loans. Loans keep me functioning during the school year, but, newsflash: you don’t get student loans when you are not enrolled in school. Not every student that is interested in doing public interest work can necessarily afford to work for free. The Fellowship selects a few deserving students each year and gives them a stipend in exchange for working in a public interest setting. How can the Fellowship afford to do this? The main event to raise money is the Auction. Every year, there is a silent and live auction to collect funds. In years past, Dean White has graciously matched what the Fellowship brings in from the Auction.
Since I was fortunate enough to receive a Fellowship this summer, I was eager to give back to the organization that helped me survive in a financial crunch. I am excited to report that the Auction Committee has been hard at work for months planning the event, and it is rapidly approaching! This year, we have great opportunities on the auction block for students to get to know their professors, including bowling, poker, pool, dinner, shopping, a Cowboys game, and so much more! Other items up for auction include a finals pampering basket, textbooks, bar prep packages, and even a reserved parking spot!!! We are especially excited to auction off an opportunity to further someone’s job prospects, by providing a lunch with the Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins. After all of the hard work and generosity that has gone towards the Auction, I know it will be such a success.
Finally, I have gotten to know the absolute best people through the Fellowship. Our wonderful President is one of the most hardworking people I have ever met, and I am so thankful to have developed a friendship with her. She is extremely involved in school and planning a December wedding!! Yay!
The event is THIS Friday, October 28, and I just KNOW that my next blog will have nothing but good news to report!
10/12/11 - Sometimes, I think it was a terrible idea to come to law school straight from undergrad. There are a few reasons. For one, we had an extremely lively, dynamic, and engaging guest speaker last night in Business Associations class, who, as an employer, said that she really didn’t ever consider hiring anyone unless they had a career prior to law school. I will never be able to say that I had a career before law school. I worked a few jobs here and there, but only in the summer and never anything serious. I feel like I am at a major disadvantage because I haven’t had a real career experience.
Secondly, and something that is big in my life right now, is that I am so young that I am still developing into the person I want to become. Every now and then, I try to evaluate myself and ask if I’m happy with the person I am becoming. I’d like to say “yes,” but unfortunately, law school is not necessarily the most self-nurturing environment. Things are constantly stressful and it’s easy to lose sight of becoming the best version of yourself. Not to be a downer, but it’s just something that’s been on my mind lately. I’m suddenly aware that every decision I make should be a step towards the future that I want.
Now for the immediate future that I don’t want. Just kidding. I pick up my 24-hour, take-home Constitutional Law midterm on Thursday morning. I’ve done the work, I feel prepared, and yet… tomorrow I will be picking up something that I will spend an inordinate amount of time on, which will be 50% of my final grade. It’s a lot of pressure. Thankfully, Professor Penrose does everything she can to fully prepare her students. She hands out pages of hypotheticals and sent out the midterm from last fall so we could take it as a practice midterm. So, if I don’t do well, it is my own fault. Although she has taught the most difficult classes I have taken thus far, it is her classes I am always most prepared for. Wish me luck!
9/28/11 - Let me just admit my guilty secret: I am addicted to TV. The part of my day that I look forward to most is when I get to come home and enjoy my favorite shows. Well, now all my old shows have premiered and a lot of new fall shows have started, and it is just very difficult to balance my busy television schedule with law school. Okay, obviously school comes first, but I’m just saying…thank goodness for DVR.
Luckily, I have a schedule that really helps me get things done during the day. The three hour break between my classes on Mondays and Wednesdays allows me to go in the library and prepare for class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don’t go into school until 3 PM, which means I have plenty of time to prepare for my other classes. I finally feel settled into my schedule and that I have plenty of time to get my studying done. I guess you can get used to anything if you give it enough time!
Everyone at school has been freaking out about securing a job for next summer. Yes. Next summer. We just had the first day of fall last week, and it is already time to stress out about something that is 3 seasons away. I am trying not to let other people’s panic attacks enter my mind - by their standards, I am WAY behind. I still have no idea what I’d like to do next summer, or what type of law I’d like to practice, or even what part of the country I want to live in. I have to keep reminding myself: I am only 23. There is plenty of time to figure out my life. I just have to tune a few people out so I don’t get too anxious!
Alabama is the #3 team….Roll Tide Roll!!!!!
9/14/11 - I feel like I am in a slump. I have just been unable to get motivated for the past two weeks. I have been feeling a little too tired and too drained, and have been ending my days less productively than I aimed to when the day began. Why is this? It’s just the beginning of September, and school has been fairly manageable to this point. I’ve gotten into a study routine during the day so I don’t have to stay up all night. It could be the new additions this semester to my extracurricular life. As some of you may remember, I was fortunate enough to receive a Fellowship this summer, so I have a few commitments as a Fellowship Board Member in order to “give back” some of the generosity I received. We are currently working on planning the Annual Fellowship Auction at the end of October (more info to come, mark your calendars!).
Also pretty new in my life is being an inaugural staff member on the law school’s newly established Journal of Real Property Law. This summer, my best friend suggested that we both try to write on to it together; we don’t have any classes together this semester. I am excited to report that we both made it! The past few weeks, members were required to research topics we would be interested in writing notes or comments about, and let me just tell you…a summer without research makes you rusty. Not only did I determine that I need to reacquaint myself with my research skills, but also my skimming-cases-instead-of-writing-them ability. The new journal is going to be quite a bit of work, but hopefully I will feel more settled when I have had my final topic approved. I have literally been unable to sleep this week because I have been so worried about it. Maybe this weekend I can try to become a normal person again.
8/31/11 - Third week of law school, and it is still difficult to nail down a schedule. It seems like every week there is something specific going on that creates a hiccup in my day.
One special event I am so thankful for was my sister’s wedding this past weekend! It was on the beach in Panama City at sunset, and it was so wonderful. Naturally, as the Maid of Honor, I had a few responsibilities on my plate, so I flew out to Florida to meet the happy couple on Thursday, missing two classes. I was too nervous to miss class at all during my 1L year, but this year I feel like it won’t be the end of the world if I have something else going on - especially when it is my big sister’s wedding. Everything went great, everyone said yes, and I caught the bouquet (mom almost fainted).
Unfortunately, I get overstressed when I travel, so I ended up getting strep while I was gone. Luckily, I found a great doctor that gave me a “24-hour power shot” of medicine to get me through the wedding. However, by the time I landed in Dallas, I felt terrible. So even though I did all my work for Monday, I ended up staying home sick from school. I think I only missed 2 days last semester, and it makes me nervous that I have already missed two days this semester (and it’s only the third week). I think its all part of the importance of taking care of yourself and knowing when you need to take a break in order to be able to focus.
School has been pretty manageable so far. Constitutional Law is by far the most difficult class to grasp, and it is SO. MUCH. READING. We have anywhere from 30-55 pages twice a week, but I am a little comforted to know that our professor re-reads it along with us. I have been spreading it out over two days so I never have to sit down to read 40 pages the night before, and it’s been working out pretty well.
8/17/11 - As you have probably guessed, I will be blogging again this semester, this time as a 2L (yay!). Hopefully, things will go smoothly.
It is the first week back at school, and I have to say that I wish I had a few more days off - I’m already tired. As 2Ls, we did not get the luxury of having the law school make our schedule, so my classes are kind of weirdly spaced out. However, I am starting a routine and things are going well so far.
Mondays and Wednesdays I have Texas Pretrial Procedure at 10:30 AM. So far, this class resembles Civil Procedure, but I won’t assume anything yet. After that, I have a big gap before my Alternative Dispute Resolution survey class at 3 PM. For a while, I entertained the idea of going back to my apartment to let my dogs out during this break, but I think I will be better off not wasting all that time on a quick trip home (not to mention gas) and just staying at school. I will have about 3 hours to eat lunch and do some reading. It’s great, because I certainly have plenty of it.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little strange for me as well. At 3 PM I have Constitutional Law, which goes until almost 5 PM. I don’t really love the idea of starting my school day at 3 PM in the afternoon, but I particularly love this professor, so I am willing to work with the schedule. I have a break (perhaps for dinner?) until 6 PM, when my Business Associations class starts. That class doesn’t end until almost 8 PM! I’ve only had one meeting of that so far, but I must say that I don’t know how night students do it. I walked out of class at 8 PM, and expected it to be dark outside because it felt so late. I can’t imagine working a full day and then sitting in class for two hours. Luckily, my professor is wonderful and seems like he is really aware that people are tired. He is more like a coach, making sure we get through the material. I’m fairly content with classes so far, but I already can’t wait for the weekend!
8/10/11 - Here we are, yet again. It’s just a few days before school starts, and I am slowly getting back into studying mode. I went to the bookstore yesterday and picked up just under $700 dollars worth of books (thank God for loans), a few highlighters, and some pens. I decided against buying any of my binders or notebooks for fear of being too overwhelmed just yet.
I am so glad that I took a week off between my internship and going back to school. My last day was last Friday, when I did a few hours of cleanup work around the office and tried to get everything ready for the #3 prosecutor to pick up where I left off. I was even treated to a delicious going away lunch at Gloria’s before the end of the day. I will definitely miss being around all the action of the courthouse and having my own desk.
This summer was such a new experience for me. To give you just a snippet of a few proceedings that I watched, they included a high-profile capital murder trial, an animal cruelty trial, a few family violence hearings, and a child-abuse trial. Watching these has really piqued my interest to new levels and I have a heightened awareness of criminal proceedings happening around the U.S.
I started my first reading assignment yesterday - although it is just introductory material and only 30 pages, I fell asleep on page 3. So, I must begin again…probably from page 1.
7/27/11 - Well, after having my internship with the D.A.’s office for a little over a month now, I am finally getting the hang of everything. Unfortunately, my timing sucks. I am only going to be working here about two more weeks, and then it’s a week off before school starts. This summer has been my first daily 9-5 job experience, and it has taken some serious adjustment. I pack lunches every day, sit in rush-hour traffic, then I am too tired to make dinner every night, and I go to bed before 11. It’s like for the first time, I am a real adult. I’m definitely grateful for the experiences and the chance to see what a real live job is like.
Working at the courthouse this summer was the absolute best plan for me. No matter what day it was or which office I worked for, I met so many different attorneys and received business cards of people that may one day be my colleagues. I feel like I have made some great connections with people and it will be nice to see familiar faces when I am out on my own in the world.
Working in misdemeanor Family Violence has opened my eyes. I have become emotionally attached to more than one victim this month, and it really reaffirms why I wanted to do criminal law in the first place—to connect with people. I am really pleased overall with my internships this summer, and am feeling even more confident about my decision to work both for the defense and prosecution. I was initially hoping that it would help me “pick a side,” but instead, I can relate to both. I may not know where I will end up yet, but I have plenty of time before I need to figure it out.
7/6/11 - It is my second week working with Family Violence in the D.A.’s office in Dallas County. I am sitting at lunch at my desk while I write this blog, because my desk is basically where I live these days. It is so different from when I worked with the PD, because we walked ALL OVER the courthouse tracking down different attorneys, walking so much that my feet would just throb by 3 p.m. Now, all the attorneys come to us. Although it is nice to be able to stay put and have a desk, I do miss the constant interaction with everyone in the different courts.
I am assigned to a specific court with 3 ADAs. They are very sweet and super busy all the time. It can be frustrating because without having a license, there is only so much I can do to help with their workload, but so far it is going well. I will be here until just before school starts in August, so it will give me enough time to learn more and see a few cases be resolved. Mostly, I have been preparing discovery to turn over to the defense attorneys for specific cases. I have also spent time reading through files and attempting to make victim and witness contacts over the phone. I was really nervous about calling people at first, because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to gauge what questions would provide the most information, but so far it has gone well. Although I really miss all of my Public Defender’s office friends, I am enjoying the look from “the other side” and excited about the rest of the summer. Plus, anyone I miss too much is just a few floors up, including one of my best friends and my boyfriend. And I definitely love having Fridays off!
6/22/11 - Just a few weeks ago, I was writing about starting my internship with the Public Defender’s Office, and now I am writing to sadly say it is my last week there. Friday is my last day with my attorney, who I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from for the past 5 weeks. Luckily, since I will just be moving one floor up, I may be able to sneak down and see all of the friends I have made in the office, unless of course they regard me as the enemy.
I was pretty hesitant about interning with what some call “the dark side,” but now I could not be more grateful for the experience. I think when you see the justice system from the outside, it is easy to regard everyone as a criminal, and say that they need to sit in jail for the crimes they have committed. But through countless client meetings, police reports, and pleas, I can now see everyone as a person in their own unique situation. This has definitely taught me a lesson in judging people on what you think you know about them.
I have found myself getting emotional about the plight of defendants, most especially when they are young girls that are not much different than I am. I can’t help but wonder if I would be in their position if I, like them, had made a few wrong turns. I can only say how grateful I am for my strict parents who raised me with good values and worked to put me through school, so that I could have a chance to help people that may not have had the same opportunities that I did. Everyone around the courtroom kids me about growing out of the lovey-dovey emotional phase, but I hope even if I harden my heart a little bit, I can always keep a little sympathy and understanding alive, even in my attorney-client relationships.
6/3/11 - After a few days off for summer vacation, I am back to blogging and back to being busy. I had about one week off before my internship started after school ended. I know that sounds really short, but I actually got so bored. I read four books and caught up on my DVR, and then was ready for life to start again.
I have been at my internship with the felony division at the Dallas Public Defender’s office for a little over a week. I am learning a lot of practical day-to-day skills that I don’t think I could learn anywhere but on the job. I work every day, around 9 to 4:30, five days a week. That is a completely new experience for me. For the first few days, I experienced a type of exhaustion I had never felt. I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. every day in order to wake up at 5:45 a.m., because I needed to factor in time for commuting from Fort Worth. So far, I love the people at work. Everyone is so helpful and friendly and willing to answer every question I have. Being able to build relationships with people that I might work with in the future definitely makes up for the lack of pay.
All the interns with the PD are assigned to a specific attorney who usually works in a specific court. My attorney is absolutely wonderful. He is so nice and really walks me through everything—before I started I was nervous that I wouldn’t know how to do anything. Turns out, it’s not that big of a deal - we are all there to learn.
5/11/11 - Well, this is my last blog of my first year of law school. The year has been full of high moments and low moments to say the least. I have just one more final that stands between me and summer vacation—Civil Procedure. Although Civ Pro is probably the most complex class that we have had this semester, it is the final I feel most prepared for. Professor Penrose is wonderful about making the material relatable to her students, and over the course of the semester, she has given us at least 4 practice midterms or finals from past years. And like Property, our exam is a take-home. It will be released Wednesday morning and due Thursday morning. Although I feel okay about it, I am certain that I will work on it for well over 10 hours.
Finals have been a different experience for me this semester. Last semester I was extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect. This year, I didn’t really have a chance to be nervous. A few days before our first exam was the tornado outbreak, which many people know hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama extremely hard. Needless to say, I was really distracted and glued to the news and Weather Channel. I found it really difficult to study because I felt myself constantly getting emotional. To make things worse, I attended a funeral and memorial for a friend that I lost in the storms. It is safe to say that my studying definitely suffered due to my emotions. I am worried that my lack of preparation will show in my Contracts II grade. However, I am not going to bother beating myself up for it. Unfortunately, life sometimes reminds you that not everything needs to be taken so seriously, and I am going to focus on the good things rather than dwell on the bad. If it turns out that things didn’t turn out as planned this semester, life will go on, and I’ll do better in the fall. Right now, it is more important to me to impress Penrose with my exam, and to get excited about starting my first internship in less than two weeks.
4/27/11 - It’s dead week, also known as the week before finals. But it doesn’t really feel like dead week, since we had class on Monday and Tuesday, and the final Citation Exam on Monday (a nightmare). Today is my first full day without class, and I feel so generally exhausted from this semester that it is hard to get into a study mode. To be honest, I would probably be more useful if I weren’t in my apartment and studying at the library instead…unfortunately gas prices are so ridiculous that I am cutting down on unnecessary driving.
Like last semester, our finals schedule is extremely manageable. I know this will be the last time we have such a spaced out finals schedule—for every incoming 1L, enjoy it while you have it! On Monday, we have our Property final. My section has a take home exam, like last semester. Then, Thursday, we have our Criminal Law final. The following Monday, we’ll have our 90 question multiple choice final in Contracts, and on Wednesday until Thursday, our Civil Procedure take home exam. I really enjoy take home exams. Aside from the obvious reasons, I generally prefer essay style exams over multiple choice. Multiple choice exams seem so preposterous to me - they don’t allow students to make their best arguments, just the best one presented.
I’m most worried about Contracts and Criminal Law. At times, Contracts is a little too abstract for me to grasp. And Crim Law is just so much information that came in such a short period of time. I am doing Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) lessons for each chapter in both classes…See you in 69 hours!
As some people reading this may know, I graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa last May. The recent tornadoes there completely devastated not only Tuscaloosa, but much of the South. I am heartbroken to say that I lost a good friend who I have known since I was little. My prayers go out to the Harrison family and all others who were affected by these catastrophic storms.
I know many people are praying, but would like to know of other ways to help. If anyone is interested, the Red Cross is taking donations. To donate, visit the Red Cross website or text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to give $10. The West Alabama Food Bank is also working hard to feed residents who have lost everything. If you are interested, you can text "FOOD" to 27722 to donate $10 to West Alabama Food Bank. Many people, many of my friends and neighbors, are still without electricity, or water that is safe to drink. Thousands of homes are destroyed, and in Alabama alone, at least 248 people were killed, including students. Please keep everyone affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers. It is truly devastating to see pictures and videos of a town that was my home for four years, and not recognize a thing.
4/20/11 - I am on cloud nine right now. A month or so ago, I applied for a Fellowship Award, which gives a student working in an unpaid public interest position over the summer financial help for living expenses. I originally applied and requested $1,000 for the summer. My parents have been adamant that they are willing to help me out financially during that time.
However, due to some unforeseen circumstances (as usual), I realized two weeks ago that I was going to have to fend for myself more than I had originally planned. I have been completely emotional for the past few weeks, and have even considering forfeiting one of my two internships so I could work full time for half of the summer to pay my rent. By some absolute blessing, I received a phone call today and was told that an original recipient was not taking the award and that I was next in line to receive it—$2,000. This is one of those moments in my life where just yesterday I felt completely hopeless and was pinching pennies at the grocery store, and today I can breathe a sigh of relief. I am so thankful for unexpected miracles, especially ones that could not have come at a better time.
This week has been pretty easy. We really have no new readings and have just done general wrap-ups in class. Perfect timing—all of the good TV shows are coming back on this week! I’ll just be practicing my citations and watching Glee!
4/13/11 - Finally, the trial brief is turned in! After weeks (months?) of stressing out about it, it is finally off my back and submitted. Later on today, I have my first oral argument in law school, so I can’t really relax just yet. My whole writing class is dressed up and looking business-y today - I have to say, we look pretty good! Hopefully, we can all manage to pull it off.
I’m also able to relax a little bit because we finally got to sign up for our classes for next semester. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get into all of the classes that I wanted, but thankfully I didn’t have any problems. I will be taking Constitutional Law, Business Associations, Professional Responsibility, Texas Pretrial Procedure, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Two of my classes will now be at night. Usually, I have a lot more energy during the day and like to relax at night. But, some of the classes that I wanted were only offered at night. Hopefully, I can surprise myself and learn to be just as productive. Does this mean I get an excuse to sleep in ‘til noon?
I had such a good time at Barrister’s Ball! It was so great to relax and everyone looked beautiful dressed up! My Civil Procedure professor was voted 1L professor of the year. This weekend, I am going to the Dallas Military Ball with my parents. Two formal events in two weekends…my boyfriend sure is a good sport!
4/6/11 - I am really stressed out this week. Classes have really gone into overdrive and professors can’t help reminding us that we only have a few class times left before finals. Less than 10! Not to mention that our trial brief is due on Monday and is worth 50% of our grade this semester in LARW. As if that weren’t enough, the following class, Wednesday, we will be doing our first oral arguments in front of the class. Thankfully, the subject of the argument will be our brief, which we have all gotten to love a little and hate a little over the past few weeks. I don’t feel prepared enough at all! Unfortunately, I think my preparation for all of my other classes has suffered over the past two weeks since I have been so focused on getting my brief done. I will be so happy to finally turn it in and allow a little weight off my shoulders, then I can focus on the other classes that I have been neglecting.
Thankfully, there is something exciting to soften the blow of the weekend and next week. This Friday night is Barrister’s Ball at the Fort Worth Club. Barrister’s Ball has basically been described to me as “law school prom” - even better than regular prom, since everyone can legally drink. I will give myself the night off to enjoy it, but first I have to wake up early to register for classes, then go to a double Property class…goody!
3/30/11 - WHOOSH. That is the sound of me exhaling in a teeny, tiny sigh of relief about at least one project on my to-do list. Finally, I nailed down my summer plans: I will be experiencing both sides of criminal law with an internship with the Dallas Public Defender for the first half of the summer, and an internship with the Family Violence Division of the District Attorney’s office in Dallas for the second half of the summer. Both are unpaid (sigh) but I knew that was the most probable situation. But, both come with great perks that make up for the unpaid part—free parking and Fridays off! And, of course, real life experience.
Although it may seem really contradictory to work with opposing sides, I still think it is far too early in my law school experience to pinpoint exactly what I want to do. I am really relying on these separate experiences to help me decide which side I feel more comfortable on. I know where I always stood instinctually, but after being in school, my outlook has changed a little. But I am definitely looking forward to the opportunities that this summer is presenting.
Unfortunately, no sighs of relief for making progress on my trial brief. I was sick last week and missed class for the first time in law school—and I still feel so behind! Right now, rather than being able to push ahead, I am just getting done with the immediate needs…unfortunately.
3/23/11 - I have a theory about a 1L’s Spring Break. My theory is that it really isn’t a break at all. It’s a week to catch up with all of the assignments and outlines that you are expected to already have a handle on. It is more accurate to call it “spring work,” because I don’t know anyone who took any beach trips or breaks from schoolwork. Personally, I spent the first four days at home helping my mom, because I promised we could accomplish one house-related project during the week. The project turned out to be redoing a bathroom, so we spent a few days stripping wallpaper that had 18 years of glue attached before we could even begin to texture and paint the walls. The next few days I spent were dedicated to school. I lay by my pool exactly one time, read two non-law books, and took my dogs for one trip to the dog park. Oh well. Our writing professor assured us that our future Spring Breaks will be much more fun. Fingers crossed.
I had my first in-person internship interview today! Actually, to be honest, I’ve only ever had summer jobs before, so it was really my first real world interview. Of course I left two hours early out of nervousness and couldn’t sleep last night. But it went extremely well, and although I have not officially figured out where I will spend my summer working, I had a wonderful opportunity presented and I am looking forward to my experience!
3/9/11 - This week is all about pushing through until Spring Break. Everyone is tired, anxious, and super busy, and we all need the break to come a little bit faster. Unfortunately, I have no exciting plans other than sleeping in and catching up with my family. But perhaps fortunately, I have no exciting plans to get in the way of outlines and research. I’ll try to set aside some time to at least read a non-law book.
The trial brief assignment for LARW was released last week. We basically have to write a 16 page brief requesting a motion for a new trial, along with a few affidavits. This means we are again in research mode for the next few weeks. Good thing next week I won’t have school to interrupt me…
Thursday is the last real day standing in front of Spring Break for my section. It is going to be the longest day by far. We have Civil Procedure in the morning, then a Criminal Law practice test during lunch, then double Criminal Law classes after lunch, to make up for a missed snow day. As much as I enjoyed the snow days, I am not enjoying double classes and double reading. It messes with my weekly reading schedule, and really puts the pressure on to be more productive on the weekends. To be honest, I can’t wait for summer. Maybe then I’ll actually remember what a “weekend” is…
3/2/11 - On Friday night, six other girls and I drove out to Professor Snyder’s house for dinner with his family and a tasting of some homemade liqueurs. Not only was it great to hang out with everyone and have a semi “road trip,” but we had so much fun with the family! We do not get the opportunity to see and talk to our professors out of school very often, and it was really nice to be able to relax and laugh in an informal setting. I definitely am glad that we chose to bid on an evening with Professor Snyder, and he is welcome to invite us back to dinner anytime!
Finding an internship is not happening as quickly as I would like it to. I think Stephanie said it a few weeks ago; the reality is that there just are not enough jobs for inexperienced 1Ls. The saddest part is, most of us aren’t even asking for paid jobs. I am fortunate enough to have parents that are willing to take on some of my financial obligations for me over the summer, such as rent and groceries. But, that is not always the case with everyone. I have a few friends that are not counting on getting summer internships, and instead are taking summer classes. Not only will summer classes put you ahead, but they will also ensure that you have financial aid for tuition and living expenses. For now, summer classes are my back up plan.
2/23/11 - The past few weeks have been pretty busy. Even though they are usually hectic because of reading and outlining for school, this past week I have had to dedicate more than a few hours to applying for internships, working on my resume, finding a way to say that I don’t have any legal experience but you should still hire me, correcting past memos to use for writing samples, and writing cover letters. All that is on top of regular reading and reading for make-up classes.
And of course, just to pile on even more stress and things to put on my to-do list, yesterday, Career Services gave a lecture to the 1L students about registering for classes next year. I admit, I enjoyed being spoiled and having my schedule and classes chosen for me. Now, when I make my schedule, I’ll have to decide based on my grades, what type of law I’m interested in, the exam schedule (yes, it is possible to be scheduled to take 3 exams on the same day if you don’t pay attention), what professors I would like to have class with, and what times of day I want to have class.
This weekend we are finally getting our night at Professor Snyder’s lake house for dinner and homemade drinks with his family. Six other girls and I bid on this night at the Auction back in October, so it will be nice to finally relax and enjoy!
2/16/11 - The research memo is turned in! After having it for far too long, especially with 5 snow days, we finally got it off our backs and turned in on Monday. It is such a huge relief to know that I don’t have to go home and immediately start working on it anymore. Since it was so drastically different from all of our other assignments (we had to do our own research), it was a lot more difficult, at least for me. I found myself second-guessing all of my sources and finding holes in my research as I wrote my paper. But, in the real world, when we have to write memos, no one will be there to give us all of the research to consider. We’ll have to go find statutes and case authority on our own. So although I hated the Memo and how much it turned me into a crazy-stressed person, I know it was a good lesson that I will need for later in my life.
It has been hard to get back into the swing of things. Today, Wednesday, is the first Wednesday we have had class in 3 weeks! On Wednesdays, we have 3 classes instead of our normal 2, so I could get used to skipping them.
Last week was my dad’s 72nd birthday, and unfortunately, we were all so busy that we had to postpone a celebration until this weekend. I am looking forward to being memo-free and finally celebrating with my dad!
2/9/11 - I have a piece of advice for pretty much everyone, law school or otherwise. DON’T RELY ON TECHNOLOGY! And if you do, be smarter than I was, and back up EVERYTHING - from your computer, to your iPod, to your cell phone. Despite the gift of four amazing snow days last week, I had terrible luck! In the span of three days, I washed my iPod while it was in a jacket pocket, my computer picked up a crazy Spyware virus and completely locked up (while I was working on my memo), and my Blackberry, which was hooked up to my computer for quite a while, possibly got the same virus and would not turn on! All that, combined with not being able to drive anywhere because of the ice on the roads resulted in a complete meltdown.
Of course, I didn’t back up anything on an external hard drive. Of course, I had nothing saved to my SIM card, only to my phone. As for my iPod, well, that was just poor timing. Thankfully, we have an amazing IT department at school – they fixed my computer in under two hours, saving me many tears and about $200. The point is, now that I have my computer in working order, I have been clicking “save” every five minutes.
We have another snow day this week! Good thing I have enough work to keep me busy!
2/2/11 - There is only one thing on my mind that I really need to share: I’m writing this blog while lying on my couch in pajamas because WE HAVE A SNOW DAY!! Actually, we’ve had a few snow days this week! They could not have come at a better time, either. Absolutely everyone in school has been sick and needed a few days to recover. But most importantly, the dreaded Memo is due next week and I really view these off-days as a miraculous gift from God to all of the 1Ls. I am considerably less stressed after having extra time to get my head on straight. Even though I know we’ll have to make up all of our missed classes eventually, it’s totally worth it. Not to mention my section’s Property class is canceled on Friday, so section 2 will have just two days of class this week! School is pretty enjoyable this way.
My brother, who is in the Air Force Reserves, has been in Hospital Administrator school in Wichita Falls. He graduates on Thursday night, and I promised him that I would be there. Unfortunately, the weather may not allow this. We have gotten a few inches of snow, and under all that snow is ice. I’m not the most confident weather driver, so if it’s still icy, I won’t go. On the other hand, if I do, my boyfriend will have to manage taking care of all three of our dogs while I’m gone. Good luck!
1/26/11 - When I was reading the other 1L blogs from last week, I was really relieved to read that everyone was echoing my sentiments of being exhausted really early on in the semester. I have been kind of worried about how tired I am feeling lately, and second-guessing my decision to go to law school straight out of undergrad, rather than take a year off like many of my friends decided to. I had myself pretty convinced that I wasn’t tired of school and could definitely handle more without a break, but I have to admit that I have been feeling burned out. Thankfully, now I realize that I’m not the only one, so I won’t beat myself up as much.
This week is Public Interest week at school. Today I got some information from the Dallas District Attorney’s office from the family violence section, as well as information from the Public Defender’s office (I know, seems a little contradictory). I really feel the push to get my internship applications in by the first few days in February. I know the positions will fill up pretty quickly, but it is so hard to find the time between the readings and classes and of course, the Memo.
This Memo will be our first research writing assignment. For the past two, our professors have provided the sources we will need. I think I got too comfortable! Research is time consuming! At least I know all the other 1Ls are in the same boat.
1/19/11 - The second week of school is almost over and unfortunately I’m having trouble getting back into school-mode. For some reason, this week even the most simple readings and assignments have taken me hours. I am still on vacation time, moving at a lackadaisical pace, finding it harder to get out of bed, and even more difficult to get motivated for school. I think having a long weekend was a bad idea, because it just tricked my body into thinking it was Christmas break again.
So far, I think that Civil Procedure is the new “Torts,” at least for me. This will definitely be the most challenging class for me to study for, because the readings are often complex and the concepts are difficult to grasp. I am really going to have to use this weekend to step up my game and regain some focus.
It is also time to apply for internships and figure out summer plans. It seems crazy to me to already start looking for work this summer—after all, we just started the second semester. But in reality, many opportunities have deadlines at the end of January. Most positions with the District Attorney’s offices will be filled up in the next few weeks. Obviously, I’ll need to update my resume and work on a few cover letters this weekend to prepare to send out. I just have to get over this laziness first! It is going to be a busy weekend of reading and getting organized!
1/12/11 - The spring semester has started, and this time, the first week of school is moving at an accelerated pace. All of the “easing us into law school” is over and professors are wasting no time piling on the reading and another Memo assignment! After this hectic first week back, I’ll be looking forward to the weekend and counting the days until Spring Break—already.
All of my final grades except one are in…I made it through the first semester! There were many days, maybe weeks, where I was convinced I would fail out and be the statistic that I heard echoing in my head: 10% of the 1Ls won’t be back for the spring semester. Well, I don’t know if it is a testament to Texas Wesleyan Law, our first year professors, or the students, but thankfully, most everyone in my class is still here. I am pretty satisfied with my grades and will have a better idea of which study habits worked well for me and which ones didn’t in time to prepare for my next set of finals. I am just glad that the excruciating wait for grades is over. They flowed in, one class at a time, on the same day last week. My friend Kylie and I were at the mall when we were notified that a grade was posted online. Needless to say, we rushed to the nearest FedEx Kinko’s to use a computer to find ours. Just as we were celebrating with appetizers at happy hour, our Memos were graded and waiting for us at school, and the Torts grades were posted. We scrambled over to school and yet another FedEx Kinko’s to again check our progress. The day was a complete emotional rollercoaster! Hopefully in the future, I’ll be able to handle it all a little more calmly.
This semester, we have a few different classes that I already know will be challenging. We are done with Torts and Legislation and Regulation, and now we have Civil Procedure and Criminal Law. I have heard from older students that Civil Procedure is really difficult, and it will be more (even harder) readings than we are used to. I’m nervous about it, and I’m concerned about not keeping up on my reading as much as I would like to. But, if last semester showed me anything, it’s that even if a class seems impossible, I can manage to find a way to get through it.
12/15/10 - My first semester of law school is officially over. It has been almost a week since we finished finals, and I have had a huge range of emotions these last few days. I have gone from second-guessing every answer and essay, then feeling pretty confident, to again having regrets. Our TAs urged us not to talk about the exams after we finished them because it would make us crazy with worry…but who can resist clustering outside of the classroom asking everyone what issues they wrote about and if they got a long column of “B” on their answer key? But no matter how many people put exactly what you did, there are just as many people that didn’t. So although I’ll admit that I ignored my TA’s advice, I’ll try to avoid talking after exams too much next semester.
The most maddening part of school being over is that we have to wait weeks before getting our grades. Most 2Ls and 3Ls have said not to expect grades until after January 1. Some have even said that in the past, there will be a few classes that don’t have grades in until after the spring semester begins…which means some people could decide not to come back even after they have started the semester. The second worst part about school being over is I am so BORED. I have almost finished reading my second book (completely non-law related) and I have caught up on all of my TV. It is so odd to transition from having a jam packed day beginning at 8 AM and ending whenever I finished my reading, to having no obligations and no reason to set my alarm in the morning. Not that I’m complaining. I certainly need a break to rest up for next semester. I’ll just have to get used to relaxing for a few weeks.
My focus for now is Christmas shopping! Unlike every other year, I am so behind on my shopping. I don’t even have a list of what to get. And along with shopping, I’m looking forward to spending time with my amazing people in my life who I have neglected for months! Merry Christmas!
12/8/10 - Week 2 of finals and I am almost done! After two weeks of no classes and no scheduled activity besides studying, I am ready for it to be over. I finished a 3 hour, extremely lengthy Contracts exam. I sent in my take-home Property exam that was supposed to be 3 hours, but actually took me 15 hours. And this past Monday night, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, I took my Torts final exam. I don’t know if it is because it is so fresh in my mind, or if it was because I knew that Torts would be my hardest exam with the most amount of information, but I am TIRED of school! All that stands between me and a break is a Legislation and Regulation exam this Thursday morning.
I know a Property take-home exam sounds breezy, but I was not anticipating a very high degree of difficulty in comparison to my other in-class exams. If anything, it was more excruciating, because I had 27 full hours to obsess, write, rewrite, overanalyze, and flip-flop on my essay. But on the upside, I felt confident about my final product, so maybe take-home exams are not that bad after all.
Law school finals have been unlike any other exams I’ve taken. I have always put in a lot of effort in studying, but studying for law school is supercharged. There is no way I could ever go into a test unprepared! That being said, Legislation and Regulation calls!
11/23/10 - I am taking a break from listening to my Kaplan Exam Prep lecture about Contracts. I’m only a few hours in, and I have more than a few hours left. I’m also using this break to make more coffee. Can you tell what time it must be? Almost exam time.
We just had out last day of class on Monday, and now it is time to study every day for two weeks, with the exception of Thanksgiving. The Monday after Thanksgiving, we will have our Contracts exam, and our Property exam on the Wednesday of that week. I think I am in denial about how much I will be studying. Basically, the advised study schedules imply that every day, with the exception of exam days, we will be studying around 10 hours. Now I feel silly for complaining about briefing and writing memos every week…I would much rather brief than study every single day for 10 hours!
Also, with the exception of Torts, since our final exams are our only grades for each class and the first opportunity to take a test in each course, I am not quite sure which studying methods will work best for me. I have always been a supporter of flashcards, but now I am positive they will work for these classes, since it is rules and concepts that I need to memorize, rather than arbitrary terms. I’ll give this lecture a few more hours and see how it goes. Wish me luck!
11/17/10 - Memo 2 is GONE! It is officially out of my hands. Thankfully, after at least 3 weeks of working on it, and 15 pages later, I no longer have the weight of 50% of my Legal Writing grade on my shoulders. We won’t see our grades until January, and since finals are nearly here, January is just fine with me. After we take our citation exam tomorrow (which is worth 10%), we will be done with Legal Writing for the rest of the semester. Although citations are NOT fun or very exciting, I am so glad to at least have one class out of the way.
Once we turned in the Memo, it has just completely felt like this week is dragging on forever. I think that people have been so focused on turning in the last huge writing assignment of the semester, so now everyone is already in weekend mode. I definitely see the appeal, because this whole week of classes has just been kicked into overdrive, with professors trying to cram in bits of information before the final. But, thankfully, all of my classes are doing a “review day” or extra reviews after class. They are much needed. I’m also going to a Contracts review on Saturday morning put on by one of the bar prep programs. Although I will be tempted to sleep in, after taking the practice test, I will be pushing myself out the door bright and early Saturday.
11/10/10 - This week, in our last Academic Support session of the semester, our amazing TA gave us a schedule for the rest of November through the end of exams in December. Scott is one of those people whose intelligence and work ethic is almost intimidating. But he very considerately gave us a study schedule tailored to the order of our exams.
Basically, we need to have our outlines done by the last day of class, Monday, November 22. Every day until exams is dedicated to studying for a particular class. Silver lining: we get Thanksgiving off to eat turkey and have family time. Although I am really looking forward to having time with my family, I know that it will be difficult for them to understand that I can’t do the normal things that I would usually spend my vacation doing with them—shopping, going to movies, and hanging out, because any minute that I’m not studying, I feel like I’m losing an opportunity to learn more and gain points on my exams.
Our Memo 2 is due this week, and although I have made huge progress, I can’t help but second-guess myself the entire way through. I have never had so many grades riding on so few assignments or tests, and it is definitely an adjustment.
Law Day was this Saturday, and a lot of the 1L bloggers were there for lunch and to give tours for prospective students. So, if you came, it was great to see you on Saturday!
11/3/10 - All I have accomplished today is a countdown to when I can go to bed tonight. It’s cold outside, it’s been rainy for two days, and school is overwhelming me. But, since I still have about 7 hours before I will go to sleep, I’ll try to be a little productive.
Our LARW professor had us schedule conferences to discuss our first memo and any issues we may be having with the second. I got my first memo back today and I am satisfied for the most part…except that I realized that the second memo will literally be three times the amount of work as the first. UGH. Thankfully, my professor is willing to give helpful guidance along the way, but since my conference is scheduled for this week, I am really feeling the pressure to get some legitimate arguments on paper. Good thing I have these 7 hours of awake-time.
I’m finding the practice exams to be really helpful. In the last two weeks, we have taken a Torts and a Property exam, and today we took Contracts. Taking the practice test made me much more aware of how much studying I need to put in for Contracts for the next few weeks!
Six other girls and I bid together and won a night at Professor Snyder’s lake house at the auction! I have never seen so many people commit their money as freely as I did on Friday. Where are all of these deep pockets coming from?
10/27/10 - For some reason, this week has been very stressful. Our professors have begun to do finals preparation during class, and it is raising my anxiety level. I think the discussion has made a lot of people feel kind of lost with some of the major concepts of the class. Not only is this making everybody really stressed out, but I also think most of my classmates are suffering from lack of sleep. I know I am. It seems like school is taking over everything else in my life: dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and going to the gym. During orientation, older students stressed how important it is to maintain healthy habits and keep up with the rest of your life. I really see how easy it is to neglect everything else in order to get more studying done. I need to try harder to remember that school is not my only priority!! As mundane as it is, folding clothes is important too.
The Fellowship Auction is this Friday. Obviously this will be my first one, but I have heard from older students that it is so much fun. I’m really looking forward to it because I know that this is the last weekend any of us will really get to enjoy until after finals are over. Also, our professors are encouraging us to go out and have a good time—so I don’t even have to feel guilty for having fun instead of studying all night. It will be much needed!
10/20/10 - Yesterday, the Academic Support program hosted a Professor Panel, where the 1L professors came to the lecture hall and invited all of the 1Ls to ask them any questions regarding classes, exams, or study tips. It was really helpful. All of the professors emphasized the importance of doing your own outline to help yourself learn the rules for each class.
They also went over what they specifically preferred to see when they graded exams; for example, they discussed the most important part of the “IRAC” method (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion). Nearly everyone said that the most important part of an answer on an essay exam was your application of the rule. Being able to have all of our professors on a panel, open to answer any questions to help us succeed, is such a reflection of the type of learning that Texas Wesleyan promotes. Not to be a cheerleader or anything, but the professors here really do want everyone to succeed. It’s refreshing to have them work so hard to help me do well. I am not sure if I would have had the same opportunities anywhere else.
Academic Support is also starting practice exams this week. We’ll have a practice exam each week for one specific class. This week is Torts. (Funny, it seems like I just took a Torts exam last week. Hmm..) I think the practice exams will be extremely helpful to prepare for finals. We’ll see how it goes!
10/13/10 - In undergrad, when a teacher administered a multiple choice test, most students gave sighs of relief. Because in undergrad, a multiple choice test meant that you had some chance of coming up with the right answer. In law school, it is the complete opposite. Just like most of us dreaded taking the LSAT, many law school students hate multiple choice exams. Why? Because we always believe that we can come up with a better answer than the ones that were given. Personally, I feel like I could have done much better on the LSAT if I was allowed to explain my reasoning.
I say this because today, my section had our second Torts midterm. Our first one was multiple choice, and I second-guessed myself through the entire test. The trick to multiple choice law school exams is that there are the right answers, and then the best answers—which I can’t stand. Thankfully, our midterm today was in essay format! Again, if I had said this in undergrad, the class would have grumbled. But everyone I spoke with before the test was grateful they would have the chance to make their own arguments and back them up instead of just circling an answer at will. I feel so much better about this test than I did before. Spirits were much higher today after the test than they were last time…I think some people even managed to squeeze in time for happy hour today. Congratulations section 2!
10/6/10 - For many of my classmates, this week has been the calm before the storm. However, for some of us, this week is more like the panic before the storm. Next Tuesday, our final draft of our entire completed Memo is due. The completed Memo will be about eleven pages, chock full of pertinent information, and absent of excess words. Not to mention that the next day, Wednesday, will be our second Torts midterm. The essay midterm is the last grading opportunity before our final, which makes it all the more daunting.
While looking at my planner this week, I realized how ominously soon Tuesday and Wednesday are. I am trying to plan each day meticulously to help subside part of my panic…which is only sort of working. I will admit that I have had a few breakdowns this week stemming from stress and anxiety. After next week, finals will be just around the corner, and hopefully I will be able to stave off my exhaustion in order to study.
But, I do have some weight off my shoulders! Last week I finally mailed in my declaration of intent to study law, along with my $190 check. After endless pages of questions and box-checking, I am so glad to have finished it and sent it in by the deadline, and be able to check off something on my to-do list. Hopefully that will be the theme of the weekend, and I can finish up my memo and do some serious studying!
9/29/10 - Yesterday, we received back the first part of our Memo assignment for Legal Analysis, Research & Writing (LARW). Our TA ensured that we would be prepared to read our professor’s comments. She told us that in the past, her classmates had received comments such as “Have you gotten tired of editing yet? Because I have” and “Argh!!!!” I was prepared for the worst, but was certainly hoping to receive a little positive feedback as well. However, sometimes people will tell you that positive feedback can be rare in law school.
Well, although my paper looked like a coloring book of comments, as did everyone else’s, I only got one “Ack!” Thankfully, mixed in with that was extremely helpful advice, and even a few positive comments. I am so relieved that I don’t have to spend my weekend rewriting my Memo and just need to rework a few paragraphs. And although I was initially nervous about my LARW class, I think it may end up being the most useful aid I have ever had in school. Sometimes, harsh comments are necessary for improvement, and I know I will be grateful for the experience. Actually, after reading the comments, I like my professor even more!
My time management skills are really improving. My friend Kylie and I have been going to the gym most days after class, and it gives me more energy for the rest of my night. And we even get some readings done on the treadmill. Thank goodness for student discounts at the gym!
9/22/10 - Law school is all about time management. What this really means is taking time that you would ordinarily use for other things (maybe things you enjoy doing), and replacing those things with extraordinary amounts of reading, highlighting, briefing, and outlining. In my life, this means living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because if I don’t cook, I have an extra 45 minutes to study. Thankfully, I have wonderful, overly concerned parents just an hour away, and a mother who always tells everyone, “you’re too thin” as she hands them a Tupperware full of leftovers (Thanks, Mom, the spaghetti is delicious). But seriously, I have started thinking about my life in terms of “What class can I read for during this?” Lunch is a time to get a head start on the night’s reading, and sitting in the waiting room at the vet is the time to finish your Property reading.
Speaking of the vet, as many of my classmates have pointed out, even though you are incredibly busy in law school, life still manages to get in the way. For instance, one of my dogs got sick this week - 2 hours and $200 later, I am still catching up on the reading I didn’t get to finish that night. Thankfully, she will be just fine, and I have lunchtime to finish Property. After a seemingly long and very expensive week, as usual I am looking forward to the weekend to play nurse to my dog and study.
9/15/10 - The general feeling overcoming me this week is exhaustion. I am really nervous to actually admit how tired I am, partly because exhaustion makes me vulnerable, but mostly because it is only the middle of September. How can I be so burned out when we have only been in school a little more than a month? Does this mean that I won’t be able to keep up with my classmates? The only part that is really comforting at this point is that exhaustion is the general consensus around school. Everyone has this droopy-eyed look, evidence of too-few hours of sleep. Most people are running on pure caffeine mingled with stress. For the sake of all of my classmates, I hope we can find a few more hours in the day to spare - right now, keeping up with school is similar to treading water.
Our first memo assignment was due this week! Although it is a huge contributing factor to my exhaustion, I am so relieved to have turned it in. I actually feel confident in my work and I know that with the amount of effort I put into it, I will be pleased with the outcome. But we’ll see if I still feel as confident when we get them back…with comments.
As usual, I am desperately craving the weekend. My brother, who lives in Georgia, is coming to town this weekend and I can’t wait to be around my family! And hopefully catch up on some sleep!
9/8/10 - I literally just finished taking my first law school midterm. I thought I would feel a sense of relief and accomplishment, yet all I feel is stress about what I possibly did wrong. I found it difficult to study for Torts. Although I know the basic rules for intentional torts, most applications are situational, and it was hard for me to prepare when the answer would be determined on a case-by-case basis. I think the most efficient way to prepare for exams is to be in class and actively listen to the discussions. I know that it was just the first test, but I still can’t help feeling anxious about my performance.
Luckily, I have an exciting weekend to look forward to. Our first memo is due on Tuesday, and I can’t wait to be consumed by the writing! Even though it is only five pages, each sentence must contain meaning and have a purpose. A memo is not like an ordinary undergraduate paper, full of fluff and useless phrases. It will actually be harder to keep it under the five page limit to ensure productivity is achieved with each sentence.
Thankfully, I am also fortunate enough to be going to the Rangers game on Friday when they play the Yankees, and I have tickets to the Dave Matthews concert in Dallas on Saturday! This is exactly what I need in order to alleviate some of my stress. I’m just going to have to harness some concentration for this memo assignment.
9/1/10 - I can’t believe it’s already September! It seems crazy, but the weeks in law school are flying by. My Legal Writing section is already getting started on the first memo assignment, and some of us are even fortunate enough to have a Torts midterm next week. My anxiety from the first week is already creeping back. Am I really prepared for a midterm already? Hopefully, I will be. I guess we all know how my Labor Day weekend will be spent…
One of the most stressful aspects of the past two weeks is seating charts. We don’t have a seating chart in my Torts class, so people get there ridiculously early to ensure they have a prime seat for the two hour class. My friend Kylie literally leaves lunch 40 minutes early to make sure we have decent seats. It sounds crazy, but it’s cutthroat!
This week I accomplished something really colossal. I finally drove to school without using my GPS. I know this sounds ridiculous and trivial, but I am completely directionally challenged, especially in a new city. I’m not saying I can get back to my apartment without a little instruction, but it is definitely my next goal. Fort Worth is an amazing city, but the one-way streets can be very confusing! I should probably invest in a map.
Alabama football kicks off this weekend! I’m sad I can’t be in Tuscaloosa for the game but I will be watching during my study breaks! Roll Tide!
8/25/10 - I have just about made it through my second week in law school, and I’m surprised to say that it has flown by. I’ve gotten into a routine with my readings, but I’m still trying to find a way to get ahead with my assignments. I love most of my classes, and although they are packed with complex information, we actually get to laugh a lot. My professors make jokes every day to help us learn cases, and it really lessens the stress I feel from all of the exhausting nightly readings. I can honestly say that my planner has never been so full with things to do! I’m going to have to start scheduling naps.
I am grateful for the people I have met in school so far. I was lucky enough to make truly wonderful friends before classes even started, and I think at this point I talk to them more often than my family. They have become my “law school family” and I can’t imagine how much closer we’ll become within the next three years. The genuinely inviting people I met while visiting Texas Wesleyan Law were the most significant reason I decided to attend in the first place. Coming from a huge school like Alabama (Roll Tide!), I never had the sense of being more than a number. Now I am able to make connections and get to know everyone—students and faculty. It’s comforting to know so many people are working hard to help me succeed.
8/20/10 - I can’t believe that my first week as a 1L is coming to an end! I have been anxiously waiting for school to start, and now that it’s here, I am so much busier than I could have imagined! I need another summer vacation!
Like most of my classmates, I experienced first day jitters…big time. My heart was pounding out of my chest, as I was filled with dread that I would be called on and not know an answer, or worse, even understand the question. Thankfully, I was only called on once the first week in my writing class, and although I may have struggled in creating a response, I managed to keep my cool and not embarrass myself too badly.
The biggest challenge for me so far in law school is realizing that some of my tendencies will have to change. In life outside of law school, I am a multi-tasker. I can’t do anything without music or the TV on. Not anymore! I need full concentration to understand my readings and cases. My biggest problem is finding that I need to completely adjust the way I read. I have always been a speed-reader and can usually devour lengthy books in a few hours. Now I find that it takes me an hour to comprehend 15 pages in a law textbook. I think I will find my footing in the next few weeks, but I am looking forward to the weekend to try to get ahead with my reading!