Undergraduate School: Dallas Baptist University
Undergraduate Degree: Business Management
Hometown: Coppell, TX
Status: Part-Time Evening
5/15/13 - Summer is here and I am really enjoying it. It is nice to finally take a breath from the stress of finals and bask in the joy of being free from the responsibilities that law school requires. I don’t know about others, but I always have a hard time winding down from finals. What is really difficult about law school is that in most law classes you only have one final, and thus one chance to do well. Because of that high demand, finals are always stressful and it takes me a while to come down from that mountain. Slowly but surely I have been able unwind and have some much needed time with my family who I neglected the last several weeks.
Since finals concluded there has been no rest for the weary, as I immediately began helping my sister move and helped a friend with some renovations he is doing on his house. In addition, I am taking care of my sister’s dog for a while as she settles into her new home. I have wanted a dog for quite some time so I am excited to get a little test run and try things out. So far things have been going well, but you forget all of the responsibilities that come with taking care of a pet.
As for the rest of this summer, I am not really sure what my plans will be. I applied for several competitive internships but the ones I really wanted just didn’t pan out. So I’ve thought about taking a summer course or I may work a little and save some money. I am also hoping to also shadow some attorneys who work near me and gain some perspective as to what their practice looks like on a daily basis. As I get closer to the end I am starting to feel the pressure of deciding what I want to do when I finish. I have some ideas as to what I think I may want to do but there is still much needed soul searching left to do. Hopefully by the end of summer I can share some insight as to what that direction may be. Until next time …
5/10/13 - Done done done!
Finals are over and I couldn’t be happier. After we finished, one of my friends put it best: “1 year, 4 days, and 11 hours until graduation!” The last couple of weeks have been really stressful and it feels absolutely amazing to put another semester in the books.
Finals are always a peculiar beast. After three years of doing this you would think I would have it down, but I don’t. I still get stressed and have doubts as to whether I answered my exams correctly. If there is one thing I have learned over the years though it is that you can never trust how you feel when it comes to law school exams. Sometimes the exams I feel the worst about end up being my best grades. Similarly, there have been exams I felt really good about that ended up being a worse grade than I expected. The worst part about finals is that can you never truly guess as to how well or how bad you did on an exam. Instead, you must simply wait for weeks to find out how you’ve done. I have an “instant gratification” mentality and waiting for that long brings back the same feelings I had on Christmas Eve and waiting for morning to come—except in this scenario morning doesn’t come for 30 days. As the semesters go by you simply learn that this is the norm and waiting for grades isn’t quite so bad
Though I am not sure how I did on my exams, one thing is for sure, I am happy to be on summer break. I am looking forward to catching on sleep, seeing family and friends, and just being outside and active again. To all my fellow classmates, I hope you have a restful summer! Until next time …
4/24/13 - It’s hard to believe that I am almost done with my third year of law school. On that note, I am officially getting antsy to finish my last year of law school and complete my academic career. Overall this semester has been a really great one. Still, it has had its various challenges and its ups and downs—but overall, I have really enjoyed this semester. I especially enjoyed my externship working for the court this semester. Though I felt like I did not know what in the world I was doing for the first month or so, towards the end of my time I felt like I really found my groove. It was an externship that brought forth many challenges because in all honesty I had not done very much legal writing since my LARW (legal writing) classes. The experience was very rewarding as I learned much about various areas of law, and I can say with complete confidence that it made me a better legal writer.
My externship also opened my eyes to the importance of sound research skills. I cannot tell you how many times that I looked up cases that various parties had cited as a main proposition in their motion that simply was not supportive of their argument. It was eye opening to see how important it is to ensure that you have sound research backing up your legal arguments. You do not want to cite to a case that stretches another court’s opinion to oblivion leaving the reader of your argument with questions as to whether that was really what case or point was all about. That is definitely one thing that I will take away with me from this semester as it is vitally important to back up your legal arguments in a way that puts best food forward.
Another lesson I learned throughout this semester is to make sure you are arguing all of the correct areas of law. In reading over several motions this semester I was surprised by how many motions lacked legal arguments that really could have helped their clients. These were all invaluable lessons that I learned this semester that you simply cannot learn in a classroom. Sometimes it takes getting out in the real world to really learn and grasp a concept. I feel privileged to have had this opportunity and I look forward to what is next.
4/10/13 - The semester is winding down and I have to say that I am ready to put this semester in the books. I will still have a year of law school after this semester, but I can tell that I am already getting a bit of “senioritis.” You see, I have literally being going to school nonstop since the age of five. I worked two jobs through most of college and I have also worked while in law school.
Still, I know it is going to be a shock to my system once I have finished my education once and for all. To be honest, there will be a part of me that will really miss going to classes, as I love the challenge of academia. Nevertheless, I am more than ready to finally put my skills to the test and actually start my career. Being a night student, many of my classmates have families and have already had an established career for many years. In many respects, I am the “odd duck” of my particular entering class. Now that I am just a few weeks away from entering my last year of law school, I am can finally see the horizon. I know the real work has yet to begin and the challenges of being an attorney will likely hit me in the face. Yet, in spite of all that is unknown, I am really excited to close this chapter and begin a new one. Though the road I’ll take is still not clear, I am ready to take that leap of faith.
3/27/13 - It’s hard to believe we are in the home stretch of the semester. I don’t know where the time went but finals are around the corner. This semester has been a really interesting one. I am just now starting to prepare for finals, and I am hoping this weekend I will be able to catch up on my outlines so that I can begin to seriously prepare. I have spent so much of my time focusing on Law Review and my internship that it will be an adjustment to shift my focus towards my classes. Still, I feel like I am in a pretty good place as I have been diligent in going to classes and staying on top of my coursework throughout the semester.
This past week the Law Review hosted our 5th Annual Energy Symposium. I was on the symposium committee so I spent a lot time helping prepare for the event. It was really exciting to finally see everyone’s hard work pay off and see everything come together. The symposium was really successful and things went rather smoothly. I also had the opportunity to meet several prominent attorneys, which ended up being a great networking opportunity.
Next week will be the first official meeting for the incoming Law Review board. I am really excited as I think we have a great group of people on the board for next year. We had an unofficial meeting shortly after everyone was elected to the incoming board and I could tell from the beginning that we were all going to work very well together. No doubt we all a very ambitious group of people so I sure there will be some high goals set for the upcoming year. I am excited to serve as a Notes and Comments Editor and I am really looking forward to seeing what the new school year will bring.
3/6/13 – Finally, Spring Break has arrived!
I cannot tell you how nice it feels to finally have a break. This semester seems like it has been in overdrive from the minute it started, and I am very much ready for a break from the craziness that consumes my day to day. The last few weeks have been some of the most stressful of this semester. Between my law review article being due, and a memo in Oil and Gas due the following week, I feel like I have been locked in my apartment writing from morning to night. Since I spent so much of my time working on my Law Review article, I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to work on my memo. Instead, I ended up researching for four days straight and then writing and editing for three days. I have to tell you, by my ninth draft I was ready to throw in the towel. Though it was stressful, there is no better feeling then turning in that final draft.
Even though Spring Break is a break from classes I will still be busy catching up on classes and doing a little work for the Law Review’s 5th Annual Energy Symposium. I am on the Symposium Committee, and since the event is around the corner, there is much to be done so that the event goes off without a hitch.
In other news, I ran for a board position for the Law Review and was selected to be one of the Notes and Comments Editors. I was very grateful for the opportunity and I am really looking forward to taking on a more leadership type role with the Law Review. We’ve already had an informal meeting with the new board and I am very excited about the ideas and enthusiasm that the incoming board has for the following year. Until next time! …
2/27/13 – Well, things just seem to be steamrolling ahead these days. I just turned in my Law Review article this week. I had been working on the paper for several months so I was relieved to finally turn it in. As stressful as the paper was, I enjoyed the process overall. Having just finished the process, I do have some tips/advice for those who may be writing a Law Review article in the future.
First off, I recommend choosing a topic that you are interested in and passionate about. It’s easy to get caught up in what you think the Law Review Board might want, but you are going to be researching and writing this paper for months, so my advice would be to be to keep that in mind when choosing your topic. Second, I would recommend that you research a section at a time and have a really good road map of exactly where you want your paper to go. Third, don’t be afraid to just write without research because that’s where some of your most original thoughts may come. Fourth, keep in mind “what makes my paper different”? Or put another way, “what am I advocating for and what recommendation am I giving?”
As I wrote this paper over several months, I had to learn these steps at different times in my writing process. Part of writing a Law Review article is the learning experience of having to write such a paper. Still, don’t be afraid to talk to professors and get their feedback. For me this was invaluable.
Things have also been going really well at my internship. I am finally feeling pretty comfortable with my responsibilities. I also think my writing has become a little stronger. I have to admit though I am really looking forward to Spring Break. I am at a point where I have more responsibilities and expectations than I care to have. I think being able to rest up and catch up on things will be just what I need to finish this semester strong. Until next time …
2/13/13 - I got a reminder today that I have a mid-semester meeting that I had to schedule. Where has the time gone? I cannot remember the last time I have been this busy. I am writing for my externship, my Law Review article is due in less than two weeks, and I have a memo due in early March for my Oil and Gas class. Between that and busy work for classes and Law Review, I feel like I was dropped in the deep end and I am barely keeping my head above the water. At this point, I am just praying to make it to Spring Break when I can hopefully breathe for a little while.
Despite the busyness, things are going really well this semester. I am really enjoying my externship and I already think I am becoming a better writer because of it. My classes have also been fairly interesting thus far. I have to admit I am really enjoying my First Amendment class. The class is really small and it feels like we just have a discussion each class. I have always found constitutional issues interesting and first amendment is no exception.
This past weekend I did take a break from school to celebrate the marriage of two of my best friends from college. It’s funny how much you don’t even realize how much you miss certain people until you all come together. It was a beautiful wedding and I was very blessed to be a part of it. One thing that’s easily overlooked when deciding to go to law school is the importance of having a support system. I have been blessed with family and friends who have really been my rock over the years. It’s impossible for them to know exactly what I am going through, but I know if I didn’t have them in my life I wouldn’t be able to do this. Law school is a marathon and in order to “run the race with endurance” you really do need a support system of friends and family to encourage you along the way.
1/30/13 - A good friend from school drew my attention to a popular legal blog today. The blog posted a letter written by a law student (from a prestigious law school) about his fellow students. He basically said that he hated about 50% of his law school classmates and legal peers, and assumed the worst about another 30%.
I read that and could not help but feel pity for that law student. I also felt the need to respond and say that is not everyone else’s experience. I can say with complete honesty that I have met some amazing people and dear friends since I have started law school. In fairness, I will admit my deep friendships are with only a few fellow students. However, even my classmates with whom I do not have close friendships I respect and admire. That does not mean there are not any people who don’t get under my skin or annoy me at times. Yes, there are days when I am tired and just want to go home, and the last thing I want to hear is a fellow student asking a question that is more annoying than constructive to the class conversation. However, in all honestly, those days are rare, and the vast majority of people I have been able to interact with has been pleasure.
I think it is important for students to realize that law school can be a competitive environment, but that does not mean you should burn bridges along the way. The legal community is one that is built on mutual respect, and it does not take long to have a negative reputation. I have great respect and admiration for my fellow students and I can proudly say I do not “hate” any of my fellow students.
1/16/13 - It seems like the semester started and I have already had keeping running to stay on top of things. I can honestly say this has been the busiest start to my semester since the fall semester of my 1L year. Starting my internship, working on my Law Review article, and staying on top of reading for my classes has become a formidable challenge. Fortunately, despite the busyness, I am really enjoying this semester so far. It has proved to be both challenging and interesting.
So far I have really enjoyed my internship. With each day, I am starting to get the swing of things and learning what is to be expected. Earlier this week, I was able to attend an Investiture Ceremony of a new United States Magistrate Judge. Seeing everyone speak on his behalf and talk about the nobility of a career in law was a great reminder. Likewise, it was a special moment getting to see someone take the oath of office.
In the coming weeks I have a lot to work on. For one, I am working diligently at my internship. I also have a lot to do before my article will actually start to resemble an “article.” Though I am passionate about what I am writing, my article has not exactly taken shape the way I thought it would. I keep telling myself “I have time,” but with each and every week time seems to be quickly slipping away. However, I am looking forward this long weekend coming up so that I can hopefully get on top of some things I have been putting off. Until next time!
1/9/13 - I can’t believe the break is already over. It seemed like I blinked and we were already starting a new semester. That being said, I crammed as much into my break as I possibly could. I went on long road trip, which was a lot of fun. Photography is one of my biggest hobbies and I was able to edit photos and make a coffee table book that I had wanted to do for months. I also was able to catch up on quality time with my family and a few of my close friends. Its funny how law school can be all-consuming, and the thing you miss the most is just spending more time with the people you care about.
I am still not sure how my previous semester turned out. I did well in one of my classes, but I still do not have grades in two of them. I have to say waiting for grades has to be one of the worst parts about law school. Then again, I am not the most patient person in the world! Though I am a little nervous about my other grades, I have been reminding myself that I did my best and that’s all that really matters.
I think this spring semester is going to be a good one—definitely challenging. I started my externship working for the Federal Court today. I think it is going to be a learning curve but I am really excited about the opportunities and learning experiences that it will bring. I also think I am going to like my classes a lot more this semester than the previous one. I am taking Oil & Gas, Criminal Procedure, First Amendment, and getting credit for an externship. Thus far, I have had a good first impression of my professors and I think the subjects are going to be interesting. Until next time …
12/18/12 - Road trip!
Yes folks, I am flying out of DFW Airport tomorrow morning to Reno, Nevada so that I can go on a ridiculously long road trip from Nevada to South Carolina. I could not be more excited to get out of town and go on an adventure. My friend Travis has been planning this trip for several weeks now. At times, the only thing that got me through finals week was knowing that I had this trip to look forward to. Though I am not giving school my full attention, I do plan on using my time wisely and continuing my research for my law review article.
I have always had a desire for adventure for as long as I can remember. I love seeing knew sights and getting back to the great outdoors. One of the hardest parts of law school is that I am cooped up and not able to be outside as much as I would like. I think the only thing that has kept me sane the last couple of years is that I have been able to go on a few backpacking and road trips along the way.
On a somber note, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by the senseless shooting in Connecticut. I was shocked and paralyzed of the news of this tragic event. Though I do not have kids of my own, I do have two little nephews whom I love as my own. The thought of losing one of them is unimaginable. As we enter the Christmas season, may we not forget how blessed we are to have our loved ones close.
Until next time … Merry Christmas.
12/12/12 - Oh glorious day! Finals are over!
I cannot lie, it feels great to have another semester under my belt. This past semester was particularly grueling. At times, I really struggled to manage staying on top of classes, researching and writing my rough draft for my Law Review article, and staying on top of all of my Law Review assignments. Still, I must say it feels great to at least be finished with the semester.
I am a little anxious on how I did on my exams. That’s always the worst part of law school finals - you can never really trust how you “feel” after an exam. Since we are graded on a curve, you could feel great about an exam and then not get the grade you were hoping for. Likewise, you can also feel awful about an exam and end up being pleasantly surprised when you finally get your grade. As hard as it is, I try really hard not to guess or presume what my grades are going to be, and I just hope that all of my preparation paid off in the end. It also helps to realize my life is not dependent upon what grade I get in a course. Yes, it is important and the end I want to do my best—but who you are and how great of an attorney you will be is not dependent upon a number (at least I refuse to believe that).
So what do I have planned for the break? A lot, actually. On Monday the 17th, I am flying to Reno, Nevada to help my one of good friends move from to Greenville, South Carolina. I love road trips and I really looking forward to seeing a lot of sights I have yet to see. I am also building a website for a photography business that I am hoping to start next spring. Photography has always been a passion of mine and I thought I might as well put a good faith effort in trying to do something I enjoy to help pay the bills. Lastly, I am planning to get a lot done on my Law Review article. It’s going to be busy but I’m still looking forward to a break from the daily grind.
Until next time…
11/28/12 - Finals are quickly approaching, and to be perfectly honest, I feel like I still have a lot of learning to do. This semester has been a little bit of a struggle for me to be motivated and to stay on top of my classes. Fortunately, my finals are spaced well apart and I still feel like there will be enough time to study (so long as I continue to put in long days). This semester has been interesting and I have enjoyed certain classes a lot. Still, I would be lying if I wasn’t ready to put this semester in the books.
Though I’m ready for Christmas break, I am fairly certain it is not going to be the typical break that I am used to. My Law Review article is quickly approaching and I am planning to write the bulk of it over Christmas break. Likewise, I am starting a new externship with Federal District Court Judge Solis in Dallas next semester. In preparation for my externship, I am hoping to brush up on the rules for civil procedure that I am expected to know and understand. In sum, I doubt that this break will be the relaxing “do nothing” break that I have become accustomed to. Part of me is a little disappointed about this, but the other part of me is really excited and thankful for the projects that I will be working on during the break.
I am doing one exciting thing during my time off and that is to help one of my best friends move from the West coast to the East coast. He has an entire road trip planned and we are going to several cities, parks, and places that are still on my bucket-list. Photography has always been a hobby of mine and I am really looking forward to documenting this road trip.
On a side note, I know of several people who are taking the December LSAT. Best of luck to those taking the exam. Study hard!
11/14/12 - I cannot believe there are only a few more weeks of classes. It’s a weird feeling. Part of me is tired because of all of the work I have had to endure this semester. The other part of me feels like the semester just started last week, and I have no idea where the time went. One thing is for sure—I am ready for finals to be over and to put this semester in the books.
I do have some exciting news that happened last week. A little over a week ago, I got an email about an internship opportunity for Judge Solis, a Federal District Court Judge in Dallas. I decided to apply for the position. Knowing that internships for federal judges are hard to come by, I doubted I would get a call back for the interview. Much to my surprise, I was selected for an interview the next day. I was a little nervous about the interview, as they have started to become my demise this semester. However, I showed up to the interview and felt like it went well. Much to my surprise, I got a call later that evening that I had been selected for the internship.
I am really excited about the opportunity and I know that I will gain great firsthand experience in an environment that few law students get the opportunity in which to learn. The internship will mostly consist of research and writing, however, I am also looking forward to the opportunity to watch federal cases and see firsthand how the process works in federal court.
Well, my Business Associations class is about to start so I had better go for now. Until next time…
10/31/12 - It’s that time of the semester when I start to feel the pressure. It’s about a month before finals begin, and that means the preparation and final countdown of classes is starting. My learning style is such that concepts and the topics discussed in class usually do not make sense to me until I really begin going over everything and start studying for final exams. Thus far in law school, I have been able to learn everything and do well on my exams. Still, the pressure never seems to really cease. I still get nervous and I still feel the weight of learning and memorizing rules so that I am prepared for my exams.
My study partner and I have developed a plan that we have stuck with throughout our first two years in law school. Our goal is to usually have our outlines up to date as much as possible the final weeks leading up to finals. Likewise, beginning about a month out from exams, we start studying on the weekends in preparation for finals.
We buy several supplemental study aids and start practicing multiple-choice questions as a starting point to determine our understanding of the material. Usually, we try to start with easier questions and then as we get closer we will practice multiple-choice questions that are considered harder (such as bar-exam multiple choice questions).
Next, depending on whether our classes will have an essay exam or not, we will start practicing essay exams and honing in on our “issue spotting” skills to make sure we recognize the various legal issues that could be brought up. This has been our strategy for preparing for exams, and though at times it’s frustrating and the last thing I want to do, I know it has made a big difference in my being prepared.
On a completely different note, I’m on my way out the door to VOTE! Regardless of your political ideology, I encourage you to exercise this right because many brave men and women have fought and lost their lives for such a cause. We owe it to them to show our appreciation and thankfulness that we live in such a democracy.
10/17/12 - I think one of the keys to doing well in law school is not studying more but studying smarter. How do you study smarter? I think there are several things that come in to play.
For each course that you take, it is your responsibility as the student to figure out how the course is going to be tested, and you should adapt your studying accordingly. I think some people, myself included, get caught up in studying the same exact way for every course. Certainly staying organized and outlining is important, but it’s also important to have a specific game plan for every class.
For example, you need to figure out whether your final exam is going to be all multiple choice, a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and essay, or simply just an essay. Likewise, is the test open book or closed? All of these questions should have a big impact on how you approach the class and how you study for it on a day to day basis.
It is also important to figure how your professor grades and what his or her quirks are. What is going to make you stand out among your peers? Most of the time, you can figure this out by a professor’s demeanor in class and based on what past students have said about the professor. However, sometimes it is necessary to speak to your professor to get a better idea as to what is expected of you on exam day.
Also, I think a key to studying smarter is learning how to deal with stress. It is always easy to tell which students are handling stress and which students are not. Law school is also the great equalizer in that it rewards hard work over intelligence. They way I attempt to deal with stress, sometimes successfully and other times unsuccessfully, is making time to have a life outside of law school. I think you have to find a way to balance your responsibilities, and also find time to relax and be around people who can take your mind off the mundane of what at times can seem like an unending mound of responsibility. For me, I try very hard to study diligently and stay organized – the only way I can do this is knowing that I’m also going to put my responsibilities to the side and to spend time with people I care about. Some may disagree, but I actually think is a key to studying smarter.
10/3/12 - I thought I would continue the theme of my last blog by giving some practical advice/insight in how I use my outline to study for final exams. I have a friend who is a 1L student this year at Texas Wesleyan, and I was talking to her and one of her friends about outlining. It was during this conversation, when they started asking me how I use my outline to study, that I realized it is not often explained to beginning students how to really use your outline as you prepare for final exams.
A Couple Common Myths About Outlining:
- I have to memorize everything in my outline. This is not true at all. My outlines are usually close to 100 pages, if not more, once I have completed them It would be impossible and impractical to memorize everything. Instead, what you should be doing is memorizing certain rules in your outline for the various subjects you are likely to be expected to know for an exam. For example, in Torts you should know the definitions (rules) of Assault, Battery, Trespass, Negligence, etc. However, that should only be a small portion of your outline. The rest of the info in your outline is helpful information you have pulled from the case, notes, and/or supplements to understand these rules so that you can apply them in your analysis (which is the most important part of any essay exam.)
- If I study and go over my outline 1,000 times I will be ready for my final exam. False. Your outline is not the only thing you should be studying. Instead, it should be a tool that you use in preparing for final exams. Having a good outline alone is not enough to do well on a final exam. You also must look at supplements, find multiple choice problems, practice essays, and look at old exams. One of the times I use my outline is when I first start practicing multiple-choice problems. If I do not know the answer to a question, I will find that section of my outline, go over it, and then go back to the problem to see if that helps me answer the question. Likewise, the process of making the outline is what gives you a base knowledge of the concepts, but its practicing problems and essays that really bring to light the gray areas of the law that you will likely be tested on during a final exam.
So, why outline?
Just the process of making an outline gives you the base knowledge you need to be ready for the exam. Your outline has every important concept discussed or learned in class in an easy quick reference format. Your outline is the best tool to stay organized and have a clear concept of what you need to learn and study for final exams. So my advice is to make an outline, but use it as a tool, not an end-all-be-all.
9/19/12 - I thought I would take a break from my typical blog post where I update you on various aspects of what is going on in my life. Instead, I decided to explain my practical approach to (1) note taking, (2) case briefing, and (3) outlining -- and how I connect all three together.
Note Taking and Case Briefing
I still attempt to brief every case before class. I have a template that I set up in Microsoft Word where I can add my facts, issue(s), rule(s), and holding of the case. On the right side of the template, I have a separate text box where I can take notes in class to the right of my case brief. This has really helped me more readily decipher what my note is referencing in regards to the case. I also have a system where any notes I take before class are in black text, while anything the professor says I type in red so that I can decipher which is more important. Thus, when I’m finished, on one side of my template is my brief with any changes I made in class, and on the right side are my typed notes from the class.
For outlining, the first thing I always do at the beginning of the semester is type out the entire table of contents (making sure to follow the flow of the case reading as indicated by the class syllabus) making a “shell outline”. Then on the weekends, I will take my typed notes from my case briefs and I will copy and paste the facts, issue, holding, and rule/main-point from each case into the shell outline. I put the facts, issue, and holding in a green text, the rule I put in black. Any notes taken from class will be put in red with a heading. Likewise, if I have gone to any supplements and add text from that into my outline, I will put that in blue. At the end of the semester, I will have a long and thorough color-coded outline. As I study and go over the outline, I may begin to delete things, like the cases or supplemental material. Another nice aspect of color-coding your outline is that you can quickly find what the professor said about the case, so that you can decipher between supplemental materials for understanding versus what the professor really wanted you to get out of the case.
I hope that that made some sense. If any of you would like example of my case brief template, or outline, feel free to email me at the email address above.
9/6/12 - You know the start of school has been busy when you were ready for a vacation two weeks into the semester. Lucky for me, I was able to get out of town for Labor Day. I spent the weekend serving at Pine Cove Camps with some old college friends. It really was nice to get out of DFW and just be out in the fresh air of east Texas. Anyone that knows me knows that if I am cooped up inside for too long, I become a little stir crazy. That being said, weekends where I can be outdoors are really rejuvenating for me. The downside is that I definitely should have been studying more (but we all need break every now and then).
So far, I like most of my classes. I’m starting to find a groove on how to study for each professor, and I think I am setting a good pace to be on top of all of my assignments, outlines, etc. Thus far, the biggest adjustment has been adding Law Review to my other course work. It’s not that Law Review is incredibly difficult, but I am still adjusting to having deadlines every week. For a while now I have been used to classes where the only deadline for the entire course was the final exam. That has not been the case this semester - I have had a small assignment do about once a week at this point. Though this has taken some getting used to, I think the deadlines have been good for me to stay on top of things. Still, I have barely done any research for my Law Review article and I know I need to find away to fit that in to my weekly schedule.
I have another on campus interview coming up this week with a midsize firm in Fort Worth. It’s exciting, but I also dread interviews. I’m trying to put my best foot forward, but I’m often my own worst critic in those types of situations. Still, I’m crossing my fingers that I will get a summer associate position so that I can gain experience interning at larger firm. Well back to the books for me … until next time.
8/29/12 - Well it’s the second week of my third year in law school, and I can’t believe how busy I still am – I thought things were supposed to get easier! A lot has changed and the fast pace of this semester has already been challenging. Many exciting things have happened to me this semester, the most exciting of which was making Texas Wesleyan’s Law Review. Law Review is a student run organization that publishes scholarly articles on various law related topics. The Law Review also holds special symposiums including, for example, our annual Energy Law Symposium that brings experts from around the country to report on energy law topics. Making Law Review was a goal I had from the beginning of law school, and I am very thankful for the support I have had in accomplishing that goal.
To say things have been busy is quite an understatement. I am already working on three Law Review assignments, while also researching for my own article (which must be completed by early spring next year). Likewise, staying on top of my course reading has been a bit of a challenge in the midst of all my new responsibilities. Fortunately, now that it’s the second week of school, I have started to find my groove and I feel that I am on the right path to keep everything under control.
I also had my first on campus interview for a summer associate position with a firm in downtown Fort Worth. The interview was both exciting and nerve wracking. My interviewers were very kind and overall I actually enjoyed the experience. However, I did feel like I entered the room and about two seconds later the interview was over. In that situation it’s hard to know how you did, or if you stood out in any way, but I am hopeful in that respect. Either way, I can tell that my third year of law school is going to be much different than the past two years. This is the year I shift my focus slightly from making the grade to getting the job. That means more interviews, networking, and probably longer days to fit everything in my schedule. It’s an exciting time and I’m looking forward to what this semester will bring.
7/25/12 - The end of summer break is less than a month away. I can’t believe how fast it has gone by. Still, I am very grateful for the break and I am actually, dare I say, looking forward to the coming semester. Fortunately, I have been able to relax for most of this summer. I have gone on several trips and I am gearing up for a fishing trip with the men in my family next week.
I have also been trying to use this summer wisely to prepare for the upcoming year. I have been working on my cover letter and resume so that I can hopefully get a paid internship next summer. I would really like to gain internship experience in a mid-size-to-large firm. I’ve also been gearing up for the upcoming semester. I have purchased most of my books and scanned them so that I can read them on my iPad. Since I have moved to Fort Worth, I have begun biking to school and my usual study spots. I have found scanning my books into my iPad allows me to keep everything in a small enough backpack so that I can get around town on my bike.
I have also been keeping the P.A.L.S. students in my thoughts and prayers the last couple of days. P.A.L.S., or Pre-Admission Legal Studies, is a program at Texas Wesleyan Law that gives certain applicants an opportunity to earn admission by successfully completing a summer pre-law school program. The program is composed of a 3-week long course and a final exam. Based on their exam performance, students are given a chance to matriculate in the fall. I was able to meet several of the students at a welcome dinner, and have kept in contact with a few of them throughout the program.
I was in the P.A.L.S. program the summer before I came to Texas Wesleyan and remember all too well the stress and anxiety that most of these students are feeling. As I have given advice to students in the program, I have tried to be as candid and helpful as possible – giving advice that I wished I had when I was in the program. I am very thankful for the P.A.L.S. program because it was the start of my journey in law school. I wish these students the best of luck, and hope to see them in fall!
6/27/12 - It’s hard to believe summer is almost halfway thorough. I have definitely been making the most of this summer though. Thus far I have taken a beach vacation and I just returned from backpacking trip to Arkansas. It has been really nice to get outside and back in nature. That’s one of the hardest parts about law school for me. I love being outside and being active. Even when studying I try to be outdoors and ride my bike to school or to study at a coffee shop. Still, I am never outside as much as I would like to be. This summer has been really rejuvenating, as I have been able to take some vacations and just relax before I start my third year of law school.
I have also been trying to use this summer wisely to build a business plan for after law school. A close law school friend and I have been meeting up this summer and combining our research for our business plan. It’s been both exciting and scary as I have begun to realize the reality of how soon I will be finishing law school and starting my career.
In other big news, we found out recently that our law school is potentially being purchased by Texas A&M University. It’s kind of funny actually, because I almost attended Texas A&M for undergrad, but eventually ended up going to Dallas Baptist University. My father called me after seeing the news and said, “Well, it looks like you’re finally going to be an Aggie!” I think this will be a great opportunity for our law school and I look forward to seeing what the future holds as this transition takes place.
**A Note on the Letter of Intent between Texas A&M and Texas Wesleyan - Legal Disclaimer**
5/30/12 - Summer is in full swing. If I had to describe the last few weeks in one word it would be “rejuvenating”. It’s been really nice to finally get my apartment in order and start to organize things that I had been putting off because of school. I’ve actually given myself the goal to learn how to cook this summer. I went to Target and purchased (spending way more money than I should have) an entire kitchen set of pots and pans to start this new endeavor. Likewise, I have kicked it up back at the gym … something I completely neglected the last few weeks of the semester leading up to finals. It’s been really nice to just relax and find time to do these things that I have wanted to do for some time now.
Lately, I’ve been realizing how important it is to take a step back from the stress of law school and just breathe. I’ve practically been a career student from the time I could talk, and if you are not careful burnout can creep in when you least expect it. I thought heavily about taking summer school this semester, but decided against it when I realized I just needed a break from school. I can honestly say I really enjoy law school and I look forward to a new semester starting. However, I think the reason I can say this is that I work very hard to have a healthy lifestyle balance. I put all I have into my studies because, at the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I have done my best. With that effort comes sacrifice. There are times of the year when school is my only focus. Still, it’s not my only passion, it’s not my only pursuit, and there are still many things that are important to me that I don’t want to let slip by.
For me, the other things that compete for my time are family, friends, church, and my love of everything outdoors. These first few weeks of summer have been really great. I have had time to be with family, my best friend has been staying with me for a few weeks, and I have been doing every kind of outdoor activity imaginable … it’s been rejuvenating.
5/9/12 - 2 years down! I just finished my last final, a take home exam, a few hours ago and it still hasn’t set in that I am done for the semester. Not to mention that, I can’t believe that I have finished two years of law school. As cheesy as it may sound, it feels just like yesterday that I was going to my first class. Then, I think back on all that has happened in my life the last couple years and I realize a lot of things have changed. I came to law school right after completing my undergrad degree. The whole process was a complete whirlwind - moving from a campus apartment to the downtown Dallas area was a big adjustment. Likewise, now I have moved to Fort Worth and a new chapter in my life has begun. I am really looking forward to taking some time off and just figuring out what my game plan is for the things I still want to accomplish while in law school. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short years I will be preparing to take the Bar, and this idea/dream of being a lawyer will be a reality. Truth be told, it’s both exciting and a little bit daunting. I still feel like there is much to learn before I will be able to be a competent lawyer. I know most things I will have to learn on the job, but at the same time I want to be ready and prepared for what the future holds.
Every couple of days it seems like I get asked, “What area of law do you want to practice?” Though I do have ideas, I struggle answering that question because there are a lot of things I have yet to accomplish. This next year I would really like to intern for a mid to large size firm to get that experience and to see what that work environment is like. Everything I have been exposed to has been in a very small office setting, so I want to know if I am compatible in larger work environment or not. Likewise, I would really like to clerk for judge at some point. Those are both experiences I have yet to check off the list and I would really like to make that happen before too long.
Now to the start of summer break ... it’s been a long time coming!
4/25/12 - As I write this blog entry, I am postponing by making of Constitutional Law flashcards. Yep… it is definitely “dead week” and studying for finals is in high gear. The last few days I have practically been studying nonstop, only pausing for the occasional 30 minute break for lunch or dinner. To make things a little less painful, I have been riding my bike to wherever I study, and today I even studied at a park off the Trinity Trail so that I could at least get some fresh air (much to the detriment of my allergies). All I know is that I cannot wait for finals to be over so that I can enjoy this beautiful weather without the stress of exams on my back. Texas, please give me a few more weeks of glorious weather!
In other news, Project Community was last Saturday and it was a GREAT success. It was such a relief for all of the long hours planning this inaugural event to actually pay off in the end. Throughout the planning process, it seemed like little problems kept coming up every week leading up to the event. I was just praying and trusting that everything would work out in the end (and anything that didn’t work out would just have to be okay). Much to my delight, the day of the event went incredibly smoothly. I was shocked when practically every student and volunteer showed up right on time (at 7:30 AM on a Saturday no less). I am so grateful for all who came and served our great community of Fort Worth. A total of 8 student organizations and 6 community organizations participated in the event with more than 220 hours of community service volunteered. All in all, I am relieved and privileged to have been a part of the First Annual Project Community, and I look forward to participating and seeing how Project Community will grow in the years to come.
4/18/12 - Now is the time of year that you can definitely feel the stress. This Saturday is Project Community, the big event that I have been working on all semester. To say my week has been busy is definitely an understatement. Between contacting and emailing organizations, coordinating with student leaders, and figuring out the little odds and ends – things have been a little hectic. I know that all of the hard work will be worth it once we are able to come together as a school body to serve the great community of Fort Worth. Community service is such a vital part of our school’s identity. As a student, it has been a privilege to be a leader of this event and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out.
On top of all my planning for Project Community, I have been attempting to catch up my outlines so they are up to date. At this point all I can think about is that in just three short weeks the stress of school will be gone and I will finally be able to relax! However, until then I am in the complete finals mode. My mind set is completely law zoned into law school and will stay that way until my finals are over. At this point, all I can do is put in a full day and hope and pray all my preparation is worth it. Though there is still much work to be done, I am confident that it will all work out.
On a happier note, the attorneys at Mosaic Family Services took me and an SMU law student out for our “farewell” lunch. I simply can’t put into words how much I have appreciated working at Mosaic. It has been an amazing experience that I will not soon forget.
4/4/12 - Ever since I moved to Fort Worth I have turned into an avid bicyclist/wanna-be hipster. Okay the last part of isn’t really true, but I really have enjoyed living in Fort Worth and exploring the city. It is much easier to be active and outside in Fort Worth than where I lived in Dallas. In Dallas, I would have to throw my bike in my car and drive somewhere before I was able to ride it anywhere. That hasn’t been the case at all in Fort Worth. There are bike lanes to every area I most frequently visit or spend time. Today I was able to leave in the morning, bike to my favorite coffee shop, bike to lunch, back to my apartment, then to another coffee shop, then to school, and then back to my apartment. To say that I have been enjoying being outside is a complete understatement.
This week is my last week externing at Mosaic Family Services. It’s hard to believe that I have been either interning or externing there for almost nine months now. The office is like a family to me and I am really going to miss seeing everyone on a weekly basis. I cannot begin to recount all of the amazing opportunities I have been afforded while working there. Heck, half of my blog posts are about something I have been able to do at Mosaic. I have learned so many things and it brings me great joy to know that I was able to do work that actually made a difference in the lives of people.
And now back to studying …. I cannot believe finals are around the corner. Where did the time go???
3/21/12 - It’s official … I’m finally a Fort Worth resident! It’s been long coming – before I entered my 1L year I knew I would eventually make the move to Fort Worth. Over Spring Break, my dad and best friend helped me make the move from Dallas to Fort Worth (so much for a restful break). I grew up in a Dallas suburb and it wasn’t until I went” two stepping” in college that I even ventured out to Fort Worth. It’s bit of an odd feeling, since Fort Worth is not a completely new city since I have been going to school here for almost two years now. Still, my daily routine has changed a lot. I really like the apartment I have moved into. It’s an old loft style apartment just a mile and half from school. It’s close to everything I would ever need and my rent is significantly cheaper than it was in Dallas. I am excited to continue to explore the city and get settled. Though I’ll miss seeing my friends from Dallas as often, it is reassuring knowing they are only a 30 to 40 minute drive away.
On another note, my friend Elan and I started to make our final exam study schedule. Every semester we sit down and go through different supplement books we have purchased and map out what we want to study during the weeks leading up to finals. I always hate making our exam schedule, because that is always the day the stress of finals begins to build. On the other hand, if it weren’t for making that schedule I know I would not be as prepared for finals each semester. As we made this semester’s study schedule, I began to see how little time I actually have left. Between finishing my externship, getting settled in a new place, studying and outline, I can already tell that time is going to fly by between now and finals.
Until next time …
2/29/12 - The dreaded on-call moment…
It's the moment everyone dreads ... It's Constitutional Law and Professor Rambo (yes, I promise that's her real name ... and though her stature is nothing close to the Rambo you are thinking of, her presence makes up for it) is about to call on her first victim ... ahem, I mean student.
And it happened ..."Mr. Carroll, can you help me with this next case?"
I promise you, I heard "Mr. Barrel," and kept thinking to myself, "Whose last name is Barrel? Wait a minute, you know what sounds like Barrel? ... Errr, yep that would be me." It was bound to happen at some point and it finally did. I was already having a bit of a rough day, so it made perfect sense that this would be the day. To be honest, I was on my feet for only 30 minutes (others have stood for much longer), and I can't remember a darn thing I said ... hopefully some of it made sense.
The Socratic Method ... it's the beauty and anxiety of law school. I don't want to give the wrong impression - it is a weird love-hate relationship. I hate the sweaty palms and the nervous feeling that I'm about to look like an idiot in front of 80 of my peers. However, it's also exhilarating and exactly what law school should be about.
Professor Rambo is tough, but she loves to teach about constitutional law. I've come to the belief that tough professors are a good thing. You come to class more prepared, it keeps you engaged in the subject, and it prepares you better for life in the real world (where you are going to have to persuasively tell a judge or jury your side of an argument). For anyone that hasn't experienced it, I can't tell you how to prepare for being “on call," and anyone who has been “on call” knows exactly what I’m talking about.
2/15/12 - Everything in my life seems to be on the fast track right now. I have pretty much completed my first two cases at Mosaic and will be getting a new case to work on tomorrow. It’s hard to believe we are creeping on the halfway point for this semester already.
Plus, it looks as though I may be moving to Fort Worth earlier than I expected. In a way it is sort of a new chapter in my life, as I’ll be moving farther away from close friends and family. I’ve been preparing for this move for a while now. While I know I’m only moving from Dallas to Fort Worth, I think it is going to be a big change in my life. Part of me is anxious, but another part is excited about moving to a new city and a new apartment. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a pretty meticulous planner. It’s not a bad thing … usually. I still haven’t had the opportunity to see the apartment I am moving into; I won’t likely get a chance to see it until the end of this month. I’ve had thoughts of bribery and I’ve contemplated various scenarios to try to get around this (God forbid, having to wait a few weeks to see my new apartment). I have resolved to wait, to be patient, and to not bother my new landlords … but I will admit it’s driving me nuts.
Starting next week I should be getting a new immigration case at Mosaic. Likewise, I am probably going to get the chance to help one of the staff attorneys at Mosaic with drafting discovery petitions and helping come up with the different interrogatories for a family law case. I’m looking forward to gaining more experience with family law cases - I really see it being an area of law that I could go into one day. As busy as this semester has been, I have really enjoyed my classes and working at Mosaic. It’s been a great fit, and I can honestly say I look forward to what each day brings.
2/1/12 – Busy, busy, busy … that is how I would describe the last couple of weeks. My externship at Mosaic Family Services is going really well thus far. Since I do not have the learning curve this time around, I have had a lot more autonomy to dive into the cases and work hard on them. I feel very fortunate to be interning at a place where I am learning practical skills.
This past week has really been an intertwining of working with Mosaic and helping out with the Law School Fellowship’s “Equal Justice Week.” On Tuesday, I helped moderate a panel discussion of past fellows and their fellowship experience. One of the attorneys at Mosaic was also on the panel, and discussed what it is like to be an attorney working in public interest law. Likewise, on Wednesday the law school hosted their annual Equal Justice Day, which is essentially an internship job fair for students seeking summer internships in public interest law. I was able to sit at Mosaic’s table and discuss with students my experience working there.
This past week, I also finished sending out my own summer internship application. My hope is to get an internship with International Justice Mission (IJM) overseas this summer. IJM is a faith-based non-profit organization that offers law students an opportunity to serve internationally. IJM fights human trafficking, modern day slavery, and property rights in third world countries. Before coming to law school, I knew wanted to intern with IJM, and it would be a dream come true if I were able to get an internship with them this summer.
Things are also coming together for the law school’s first annual Project Community. I have been hard at work contacting various non-profit organizations and getting them on board. Thus far, we have had a great response from groups in the community. I am very hopeful that this is going to be a great event this year and in the years to come.
Until next time …
1/18/12 - Whew ... one week down and I already feel like things are piling up fast. The truth is, I just haven’t quite gotten back into the swing of things just yet. So far I really like my classes. I have a good mix of professors, and each of them has a very distinct and different style. It’s always interesting the first couple of weeks - meeting your professors can be sort of like going on a first date. Before the class starts, you’re a little nervous about what the professor will be like. After the first class, you start thinking about their personality, and whether it will be compatible with your learning style. As the weeks go on, you start getting more comfortable with their style of teaching and things start to click. At this point, I am still trying to figure out how to study for each class, which note-taking method will be most effective, and figuring out the best way to prepare for class.
Last week was a great reminder of how fortunate I am to go to a school that cares for its students. The Office of Admissions threw the Student Bloggers and Ambassadors a dinner reception. They really rolled out the red carpet and made the event special. I really enjoyed catching up with professors that I had my first semester of law school. It was a real treat getting to joke around and laugh with them about life outside of law school. Before I started law school, I never would have thought I would get to know my professors on such a personal level. For me, getting to know my professors on an individual basis is invaluable. In short, I feel blessed to be where I am. Though there are good days and bad ... I know I am right where I am supposed to be.
1/11/12 – Well, it’s a new year and a new semester! I still cannot believe that I have been in law school for almost two years. It honestly feels like just yesterday that I was walking into my first class ... terrified. Though it feels like just yesterday, a lot of things have changed as well. I’m no longer nervous every time I go to class. Likewise, when it comes to briefing and reading dense material, things have started to come a little easier.
Still, I have a feeling this next semester could be one the hardest. I am taking Constitutional Law, Property, Class Actions, and I am also returning to Mosaic Family Services to do an externship. Likewise, I am starting to get organized and working on an event with the law school fellowship that we are calling “Project Community.” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our hope is to get our law school population to go out and serve the community with a day of service. Recently we decided to have the event on the same day as the School of Law’s annual Crawfish Boil. The Crawfish Boil is a campus-wide event where students, alumni, and prospective students meet up for block party. The Crawfish Boil is one of the biggest events each spring, and I am hoping that our partnership with them will get more people involved.
In other news, I’ve decided I am finally going to make the move to Fort Worth. Over the Christmas break I was able to find a great apartment. I am not moving until April, so I still have a few months left in Dallas. I am definitely going to miss living in Dallas, but more and more I am looking forward to the prospect of being a Fort Worth resident.
Until next time...
12/16/11 - Christmas break is here!!!
I still cannot believe that the semester is already over. This semester definitely had its ups and downs, but overall it was great. Everyone says that your first year in law school is the hardest, but I’m starting to think that isn’t true. In many respects, I found that my second year classes were much more challenging. In retrospect, I think the difference in the first year and the second is not that the courses are easier; you begin to get a rhythm in regards to studying and preparing for classes and exams.
Christmas break has already been great. I’ve been able to spend quality time with my family (that I always neglect once finals start). I also got to go on a ski trip with my friends. It was my first time to ski, and I was pretty certain that I would be terrible at it. Much to my surprise, I picked it up pretty quickly.
I still have a list of Christmas to do’s that I need to check of my list: (1) go Christmas lights looking with the family, (2) watch Christmas Vacation (while sipping on some cocoa), and (3) finish getting my Christmas gifts … (and I only have a few more days till Christmas?? I don’t know where the time goes these days).
The rest of my break will be consumed with planning Texas Wesleyan Law’s first ever Day of Service. There is still much work to be done, but my goal is to get the things that I am in charge of organized and completed before the spring semester starts. It will be a hefty challenge, but I’m pretty sure I am up to the task.
Until next … have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
11/22/11 - Ever since I had lunch with my sister and my nephews, I cannot get my nephews shirt out of my head. He was wearing a “Thomas the Tank Engine” shirt (a favorite from my childhood). With the sudden passing of my grandpa earlier this month, I got a little behind on my preparation for finals. As I put in 14-hour study days, my motto starts out as: “I think I can, I think I can,” and as the hours go by my motto changes to “I hope I can, I hope I can,” and as Hour 10 rolls around, my motto becomes “Why I am doing this again?”
In all seriousness though, this past month has been trying. It’s funny - before my grandpa passed away, I wrote a blog about how law school doesn’t stop when things in your life get turned upside down. Little did I know at the time that I was writing that blog to myself. When tragedy strikes, you also begin to see more clearly the things that mean the most to you. As I work through this period in my life, I also see how richly blessed I am. I am blessed with family, friends, and classmates who have continued to be there and offer their support.
At this point, what is getting me through the day is the thought of sipping on hot cider in front of my parents fireplace and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (“ … WHERE’S THE TYLENOL?!”) with my family. Well, back to studying and outlining Family Law … “I think I can, I think I can.”
11/9/11 - These last two weeks have been some of the hardest I have had to live through. On November 4, 2011, I lost my “Pa” (my grandpa on my mother’s side). He was 81 years old, and he had a massive heart attack while exercising at the local mall. Though he was only in the hospital for a few weeks until he passed, those days felt like months. As a family, we cried, mourned, and then we would laugh until we cried, as well remembered the legacy our Pa left to all of us.
As my sister and I went through old pictures of my grandpa, I began to realize where my deep affection for my Pa came from - it was because he was always there. I have pictures with my Pa from every significant chapter in my life. From my birth to my graduation from college, he was there.
From my Pa, I learned the art of using four-letter words in the most eloquent of ways. From my Pa, I inherited my stubbornness. From my Pa, I learned to “treat others as more important than myself.” From my Pa, I learned the meaning of “work ethic.” From my Pa, I learned the meaning of being a servant. But most importantly, I learned from my Pa the meaning of being a man of God. He was a man of God and never apologized for it. He knew and grasped what it meant to have a personal relationship with his Savior and he lived that out each and every day.
My Pa and Gran were married for 60 years. I will never forget the harrowing image when I first saw him in the hospital after his heart attack. He did not have oxygen for fifteen minutes when he had his heart attack and had significant brain damage before he even arrived at the hospital. My Gran sat on my Pa’s hospital bed, patting his face with a warm cloth smiling at him like a teenager in love. She loved him until the end. It was that day I grasped with complete and total clarity the vow of “to love and to cherish until death do us part.”
My Pa lived a full and joyful life until the very end. My dad said it best when he said, “Pa never got old.” In memory of my hero - Charles “Pa” Barbee 1930 – 2011.
10/26/11 - It’s officially starting to feel like crunch time. I have been studying a lot over the last few weeks preparing for the MPRE, the ethics portion of the Bar exam. I am taking Professional Responsibility this semester (an ethics class), and the MPRE can be taken before you sit for the Bar. Since I’m taking Professional Responsibility, I decided to go ahead and take the MPRE and get it out of the way. I keep hearing mixed things from past students who have taken the exam. Most students say it’s pretty easy, but some students have to retake the exam because they didn’t pass their first exam. I’ve been studying a lot for it with the attitude that it will only help me prepare for my actual final in Professional Responsibility.
This is a really exciting week at school. On Friday, we have our “That 70’s Auction” to raise money for next year’s Fellows. Since I was able to get a fellowship this past summer/fall I have been helping out in preparation for the big night. This year, the school is having a 70’s game show theme, where they are going to get students and faculty to participate in Texas Wesleyan versions of “Hollywood Squares” and “The Price is Right.” It should be a great night of fun and fundraising for next year’s Fellows.
One of my good friends also had a hook up at a costume shop and was able to get me appropriate attire for the evening. Let’s just say I look like I walked straight out of a “That 70’s Show” episode. In any case, I’m looking forward to the auction so I can see all the hard work that many have put into making the night a success.
Until next time, oh and GO RANGERS!!!
10/12/11 - It’s that time of year when things start to get a little hectic. I’m trying to get my outlines up to date, keep on top of reading and briefing, and frankly, just keep my head above water.
In the past few weeks I also agreed to be a lead Co-Chair for the school’s First Annual Day of Service, a project which aims to get our entire student body, faculty, and alumni out in the community for a day of service. I’m excited for the stories and the good that will come from that day. I know long hours are likely ahead, but one thing I love about Texas Wesleyan Law is their commitment to giving back to the community.
In 2009, two summers before I began law school, I had the opportunity to go to Uganda. It was during that summer in Africa that I really made the commitment to go to law school. The legal profession doesn’t always have the best reputation, but I always saw a career in law as an opportunity to help those who are in the most desperate need of help. I saw things, and heard stories from the people of Uganda that changed my perceptions of the world - it changed how I live my daily life. When I came back from Uganda the reality set in. I realized how much I had been had given and cherished opportunities I once took for granted. Given these opportunities, I strive to give back to those in need. I’m looking forward to organizing the Day of Service and letting the city of Fort Worth see in a tangible way that we are to student body dedicated to serving our community.
In the mundane aspects of law school, the schedule, the grind, and the stress can start to chip away at your perspective. However, I believe perspective is the most important thing to cling to. I gained perspective when I saw children in Uganda walk for over an hour to attend vacation bible school camp, and when I saw entire families living in a hut that was half the size of my bedroom. There are people who live much simpler lives than most of us, yet they are more thankful and content than many of us.
Whenever things start to build up and I start to get overwhelmed, I just think of that summer in 2009. It is then that my struggles and stresses don’t really seem like struggles or stresses anymore.
9/28/11 - Today was my last day at my internship at Mosaic Family Services. I cannot express how much I have enjoyed the experience. I loved the people I worked with, and it was easy getting up for work and going to a job where you can help people who are truly in need. Mosaic’s work has a profound impact on the lives of victims of the most heinous crimes. I am proud to say that I was able to give assistance to some of these victims. I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that I am going to try to get an externship next spring and get class credit for working in immigration.
On a personal note, I moved this past weekend. I do not recommend moving while in the middle of a semester. Everything that could have gone wrong seemed to go wrong. It’s been almost a week and I still have painters in my apartment because it was not ready on “move in” day. Needless to say, it has put me behind this week, and now I feel like things are starting to stack up around me. At this point, I’m just praying for a productive weekend where I can get on top of school. Plus, all of the clutter in my new house is starting to get on my nerves.
It’s a great lesson to learn, however. Life doesn’t stop just because you are in law school. In retrospect, this wasn’t a huge inconvenience, but it was just enough to get me a little overwhelmed. The fact is that things are often out of our control. You can try to plan and control things, but at some point, you have to learn to let things go and simply do the best you can with whatever circumstances you are given. Law school is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You may have a bad mile here or there but the key is to finish strong.
9/14/11 - In retrospect, this has been a really great week. I was able to attend a luncheon for the American Corporate Council – Dallas Fort Worth chapter. They awarded fellowships to two students from Texas Wesleyan Law, as well as two students from Southern Methodist University Law. It was my first big networking event where I wasn’t a tag along to someone else (aka my dad). The fellowship recipients were given a plaque, and we were allowed to say a few words about our internship experiences.
As I was getting ready to speak to this room full of lawyers (just a tad bit intimidating), it became evident to me how blessed I have been to work in the public interest sector. Working at Mosaic Family Services has been an amazing experience. It has given me a renewed passion to serve the “least of these,” people who are desperately in need of a break, a listening ear, and frankly, someone who knows how to fill out the necessary paperwork so they can start their lives over. I often look at the clients who walk in our door and recognize that this is a small opportunity to get them on back on track. Many of these people have been through hell and back; when they walk through the doors of Mosaic, it is a chance for them to turn their lives around. The reality is that we have no control on how they live their lives, but when young children come in with their mom or dad, I cannot help seeing the opportunity for a new generation to break the cycle of abuse and hardship. My hope and prayer each morning is just that. It excites me to go to work, and it gives me the drive to do my best in all I do.
This past week, I became a member of the Student Ambassador Recruitment Team (S.A.R.T.). S.A.R.T. is comprised of several students who speak on behalf of the school at different events each year. Texas Wesleyan Law often has recruitment events where student ambassadors sit on panels, do round-table discussions, and give tours of the law school to prospective students. Law school can be such a mystery for new law students. I think it will be rewarding to talk to prospective students and gain insights from the experience. One of the traits that I appreciate the most about the student body at Texas Wesleyan Law is that upper-division students are always willing to point a new student in the right direction. This type of support impacted me a lot as first year law student, and I look forward to being on the other side of the curtain this time around.
8/31/11 - The last few weeks have been a continual reminder of why I chose to study law. This semester, I had the immense privilege of receiving a fellowship through Texas Wesleyan Law to intern as a legal assistant at Mosaic Family Services. Mosaic is a non-profit organization based out of Dallas that gives legal aid to immigrant victims of domestic violence, as well as victims of labor and sex trafficking. They primarily assist immigrant clients with family law and immigration issues.
I have experienced more in the first two weeks working at Mosaic than in all my other internships combined. On the first day, I was given an immigration case that had to be completed and mailed out in just five days. A good portion of the case had been completed, but needless to say, I was a still a little anxious about completing it on time. I was able to meet with the clients, edit their personal statements, prepare the immigration application, write a cover letter, and go through everything with the attorney. We were able to meet the deadline, and it felt great to help a family that was truly in need. It was also a great opportunity to experience what these attorneys do on a daily basis.
In the midst of the challenges of my 1L year, I lost sight of my primary motivation for attending law school. We all have our visions - for some it is to be a successful corporate attorney who commands a big salary, for some it is a family tradition dating back generations, for others there is a social cause that they want to devote their lives to, just to name a few options. All of these are good and valid, but my desire to eventually practice law did not fit into any definable mold. For me it was a calling, a nagging curiosity, and a desire to help people - plain and simple. I lost sight of that initial goal along the way as I became consumed with the desire to make the best grades I possibly could. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do well on exams and excel, my hope is that, along with my desire to succeed academically, I will remember the bigger picture. Interning at Mosaic has been a great reminder of what that bigger picture looks like.
Until next time...
P.S. If you get a moment, check out Mosaic’s website: http://www.mosaicservices.org/
8/24/11 - My name is Jeremy Carroll, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be one of the upper-division student bloggers. Since this is my first blog post, I wanted to give you a little background about myself. A native Texan, I grew up in Coppell, Texas, a small suburb right in the heart of DFW. I went to a small private college, Dallas Baptist University, where I got a BBA in Business Management (and met some great friends I’ll have for life). While still in college, I applied to law school and went straight from undergrad into law school at Texas Wesleyan. I currently live in Dallas near the Medical District and commute to Fort Worth for school.
My first year of law school was a whirlwind of emotions. There were moments I thought I had lost my mind (especially during the process of applying to law school). However, I can honestly say that if I had to do it over, I would do it all again without giving it a second thought. The first year had its ups and downs, bus slowly I began to learn how to study and acclimate to this new life. I started walking around seeing different “torts” that were being committed. Likewise, I would haggle with the managers at Target over the price of bar chairs after learning from Judge Spurlock in Contracts that I was the “offeror,” and that I could actually suggest a price lower than the suggested retail (try it sometime - it’s invigorating).
I wasn’t one of those students who just naturally understood everything that we learned. I had to work for every grade I earned. I still remember getting my first paper back, believing I had submitted a golden memo that was sure to be given a prominent space on the refrigerator door with a big shiny star and an A+ written across the top. I was humbly put in my place when my paper was returned with a grade that was less than mediocre.
Looking back on it now, I am fortunate that I didn’t do well on my first paper in law school - it humbled me and gave me the perspective I needed. Early on, I realized that I had much to learn and it was going to require hard work if I was going to succeed. It’s like my dad always says, “Anything worth doing isn’t going to come easy.” My first year of law school wasn’t always easy, but every single bit of it was worth it. I have met amazing people, studied more than I ever thought possible, and consumed more coffee in a single day than I had in previous years.
I look forward to this second year, and the opportunity to share with you the experiences it will bring. Until then, be safe, be smart, and take second to make someone’s day - it’s the small things in the life that get us through the day.