Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the new secret underground

If I learned one thing about law school from reading blogs it is that spring semester of 1L is supposed to be Super Job Search Time Extraordinaire! Resumes, cover letter, interviews, and call backs are supposed to be the words on everyone's lips. And yet, here I am, three weeks in to the spring semester, and I've witnessed none of this at my school. I understand its early in the process but I'm talking about law students - people who do "type A" so well that it needs a new name. So what's the deal? Are my classmates just not on the ball? (No) Do they all have jobs lined up already? (ha! no) Do they all have lawyer parents who hand out jobs like candy? (barf, but also no)

Today I figured it out: everyone, EVERYONE is staging their own little covert job seeking mission. Everyone is scrambling, and everyone is trying to keep it as under-wraps as possible. All of us have learned the following lessons at the same time: that you don't need to, or even want to, broadcast everything you ever do to your entire class, and that you get a little bit of satisfaction from thinking that you are more on top of it than your classmates. Combine these two items, mix liberally with a vibe of suddenly-cutthroat-competition, and a dash of economic-downturn-panic and you've got it: the secret job search.

I have to admit I'm guilty too, and without even realizing it. For one job in particular, when asked by a potential applicant/classmate about whether I had sent in my materials, I replied, "Oh gosh, I had better get around to that," all the while thinking, "Ha! I sent them in 2 weeks ago!" but also, "maybe if she thinks I haven't done it yet she won't worry about doing it quickly either!" Its opportunistic, its conniving, and its deceptive. I know. And I know I'm not the only one.

So I wonder, even while taking part: why all the secrecy?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

who needs sleep?* well you're never gonna get it

Someday, someday some magical day I will get 7 hours of sleep on a school night. Not tonight, not last night, not tomorrow night, but sommmmmmeday. That night will be glorious. I am staring down the barrel of another 6 hour night and thinking about marginal utility**. That one hour? Its the most important one all night.

The worst part is that I know what the problem is: me. I really need to stop pretending like it is still break and I can still have fun a few (more) nights a week. It is just so hard to give that up, especially when I rationalize and convince myself that its just a couple of hours, that I need to take a break, that my overall quality of life is more important than that one chapter of reading for Legal Writing. In the end, I just guilt myself into doing the reading after 11pm, when I should be sleeping, when I don't retain much of it anyway, when my eyes sting from staring at a computer screen all day. And yes, I realize I'm blogging instead of sleeping right now, and therein lies the rub.

I need to spend this part of the semester shoring up my sleep reserves and immune system so that when flu season hits, when mid-semester freakout hits, when motion brief and appellate brief and moot court and oral argument and scholarship application deadline and everything else hits, I've got some credit.

*10 imaginary bonus points if you can name the band and album that this song title comes from without use of itunes.

**Apologies to readers and to my former self for referencing econ terms in a blog post about sleeping. On the other hand, marginal utility was the only thing that I enjoyed, understood, or retained from econ, a fact which seems to be biting me in the ass in Property. Alas.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

why I need a new teapot and also a fire extinguisher

This is perhaps the most important lesson I have learned in my whole life. It is most certainly more important than anything I have learned in law school, so listen up.

Earlier today I made some instant pasta for lunch. You know the kind, where you mix all the ingredients, heat and then just wait for it to thicken? (Uh, this is not the beginning of a post about my cooking prowess, obvi). Well, since instant pasta doesn't require any sort of special skill or talent, I tend to forget that it is on the burner and let it boil over, which is what happened today.

No big deal, right? Normally, true, no problem at all. I have developed an extremely effective method of cleaning the burner pans with fancy chemicals like vinegar and baking soda. So I sort of filed it away in my head, "need to clean off burner," and went on my merry way.

I went out this evening, and when I came back I decided I would like a cup of tea. I filled the teapot, put it on the stove, and turned to put the clean dishes away. It started to smell a bit, which I thought to be fairly normal considering the burned pasta sauce. Then I turned back to find my teapot completely engulfed in flames. Flames as in campfire. Fuck! Fuck! FUUUUUUUUCK! Fire in my apartment!!

I quickly engaged in some drastically horrible decision-making by reaching around and turning the burner off, and then throwing some water from the pitcher onto it. (Well, I suppose the decision-making could have been worse, I could have thrown the water at the burner before turning it off). At least it stopped the fire. On the other hand it did set off the smoke detectors (yay for safety!), and completely ruined my teapot. So, I need a new teapot, and I may need to invest in a fire extinguisher. There's one in the hall outside my apartment, but as I was looking at the flames it occurred to me that by the time it would take me to get to it, the fire could reach to the towels hanging on the oven door and then....eeeeeeegad.

Moral of the Story: when you spill on the burner pan, clean it off BEFORE using the burner again. Cripes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

weekend update

1. Law school has officially turned me into a bit of a caffeine junkie. I never really thought there was all that much caffeine in tea (durrr, wrong) and learned this morning that after a week of starting the day with english breakfast, it is not a good idea to skip my morning tea. BF will support that statement, considering the torrent of crabbiness and then I-am-dying-inside headache misery that I unleashed on him this morning. Thank goodness I still think that coffee tastes like ass or I'd be in real trouble.

2. Have you ever wondered what the water smelled like after the Boston Tea Party?

3. I'm feeling much better about law school today than I was yesterday or the day before. I can deal with the fact that I go to school with crazy people much better when I'm not actually in their presence.

4. I think I'm going to like contracts.

5. It is date night with BF. Sushi ahoy!

6. I did mostly alright on my first semester grades. However, having reviewed some of my exams this week, I take issue with some of my professors' grading methods. I was under the impression that if a question asked something along the lines of, "what would you do?" that you are going to be evaluated on the quality of your argument and whether you correctly explain the legal actions you chose. I was wrong. Apparently that questions is code for, "there is only one right answer sucker, it doesn't matter at all if you're a good writer as long as you get the gist of things, and if you can't guess what is in my head then you are SOL." Instead of feeling like I know what I'm in for in terms of spring exams, now even more than before I feel like grades are just a big crapshoot. This does not inspire confidence.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

i might be outing myself with this, but...

This fucking week. It has been a murphy's law kind of week, as anything and everything has sort of gone to shit. And of the things that did not completely go to shit, it was probably the busiest first-week-of-school week I've ever had. Am seriously considering taking a mental health day tomorrow. I know that I wrote in the fall about just "letting it all go" and not holding on to the shitty things that happen long enough to let them upset you, and now I am going to swing back to the other extreme and complain about my week. The content of this post might out me and my anonymous identity to my classmates, but I've kept things pretty tame on this blog in terms of talking shit about others (a tactic which may fall by the wayside in the following list) and I'm in the midst of a full-blown whaaathaaafaaack pout, and need to get some things off my chest. And honestly, if my site stats are any indication, there isn't even anyone in this whole city that reads my blog, so here goes. If you do happen to recognize me as that girl in your section, let's just let this be our little secret mmmmkay?

These are the things that happened this week that were either totally shitty or total time-sucks:

Day 1: Wake up really effing early Monday morning for first day of school with a half of a foot of snow piling down and a busted ass hot water heater.

Day 2: My best friend drops out of law school, pretty much without warning.

Day 3: New professor throws me off kilter with a teaching style that includes walking around the room, through the aisles, as he questions us about property. Being sort of socially awkward, when he stands immediately in front of me, stares down at me and asks me a question, I react by saying this: "You're freaking me out, man". To be fair, he was freaking me out. On the other hand, this is, far and away, worse than any other time that I have ever "lost my shit" in class before in my whole life. Humiliation ensues. Buy some shoes to make me feel better, but somehow inadvertently get a half-size too big.

Day 4: At the point when I have started to get over my extreme embarrassment re: Day 3 events, girl in my class says about it: "I think you were just making it up for the attention". Spend contracts daydreaming about punching her in the face. Cat knocks over one of my two surviving orchids. Walk around cold downtown for 45 minutes looking for a restaurant, only to decide on a place a half-block from where we started. Also, major car issues ground my vehicle for the 3rd time in as many weeks. Cannot exchange the big shoes without driving, feel mocked by gorgeous unwearable footwear.

Many of these stories deserve entire posts of their own, especially days 2 and 3. At some point when I am not in a funk I will be able to reflect in a way that does justice to day 2's issues and consequences, and day 3's humor. If I go to school tomorrow, it will be without doing the reading. Right now I am going to bed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

oh crap, this again

Second semester starts tomorrow. I did not drink nearly enough wine for break to be over. Bah humbug.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

if you think I'm sexy, and you want my res'me, come on baby let me know

There is something new that I am doing that I hate worse than any other school or job related thing that I have ever had to do before: write cover letters. I hate it with the power of a thousand suns. I hate it worse than going to the dentist. I hate hate HATE haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate it. "Dear Ms Lawyer, I'm a 1L at such-and-such law school, and I'm contacting you as a result of my budding interest in such-and-such a kind of law." That phrase, that idea, that kind and amount of making ridiculous shit up just to grovel enough that someone will hire me for NO PAY makes me want to pull out my eyeballs. Plus, is there any way to say "hey I have no experience and no particular reason to want to work for you, but for the love of god give me an internship" that doesn't make you sound pathetic and ridiculous and desperate, and is there any way to say it that won't make my stomach turn? I am about a third of the way through my first stupid letter and it has taken me 2 hours to write 2 stupid sentences. Gah. Why, why is this so fucking difficult?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutions & Goals 2009

New Years Resolutions are one of my absolute favorite bandwagons to jump on, because I crave the sort of arbitrary accountability they create. I'm one of those people who will write my tasks down in a list simply for the satisfaction of crossing them off when complete, so this is a tradition that I'm game for pretty much every year. I tend to make two lists though, one for Resolutions and one for Goals. Resolutions are measurable and tangible behaviors that I want to get in the habit of doing, and goals are usually broader, less quantifiable aims I'd like to achieve. So here it goes:

1. Exercise. I know, I know, always on everyone's list. However, I have a preexisting medical condition that could seriously jeopardize my health and well-being if I continue to slack on this one, so no more excuses. To be realistic though I'm starting small - 2 workouts a week, at least one of which should be a yoga class at the gym. Any maybe I'll give this another go.

2. Get up earlier. I am convinced that my desire to sleep in originates solely from my poor sleep habits. I love the feeling of accomplishing a lot early in the day. Plus, this will make me more inclined to go to bed earlier, and perhaps that will help put an end to the perennial struggle of trying to fall asleep during BF's atomic-boom-snoring.

3. Keep my car clean, inside and out. Includes monthly car wash, and weekly interior-shit-accumulation cleaning.

4. Keep my apartment clean. To be fair, this is a habit I've been trying to develop for a few months now, with some success. Putting it on my list just helps keep me accountable. On the other hand, I've made a lot of excuses this semester about law school making me too busy to clean. However, when I went to visit family and saw my aunt who keeps her house beautifully clean (without outside help) despite it being 3-4 times larger than my apartment, and despite having a full time job, marriage, dog, and three teenagers, I decided it was time to suck it up and stop making excuses.

5. Try 2 new recipes a month. This will keep me thinking about developing a health and exciting diet, without being too overwhelming. New recipes take a lot more time and planning than familiar ones, especially since I'm still building my spice and pantry reserves. One a week is too many, one a month is too few.

6. Record all my purchases in my monthly budget. I used to do this, but gave up entirely after I got internet banking. In retrospect, taking the time to remember and record all of my purchases myself makes me a lot more aware of what and how I'm spending than if I just look at my balances online.

1. Develop better financial habits. Resolution #6 is a big part of this because I think it will help me make and stick to a realistic budget, and will reduce impulse/emotional purchasing. Paying off half of my credit card debt this year is the other big part of this goal. My credit card debt is especially frustrating to me right now, because I have already gotten into the habit of making better financial decisions than when I amassed most of that debt, but it is now that I am stuck with the constant consequences of my past mistakes. Moreover, BF and I have decided to start saving for some big things in the future (like a house) and that's something I can't contribute to right now because my rates are increasing and I'm faced with large monthly payments. I know that paying down my debt is a small contribution to our ability to buy a house, but I'd like to be saving money too.

2. Develop better study habits. I'm sort of stumped in terms of breaking this down into tangible parts, because I find that my study habits are different for every class, and they just sort of develop as I go. I do think that it will be easier this semester, given that I have a much better idea of what I'm in for. After making my outlines, one thing that I know I need to do is go over the day's notes that evening. I went through so many notes that probably made sense as I was tying them, but after 3 months meant almost nothing to me. Reviewing my notes will help me to avoid this in the future, and will hopefully reinforce short and long term memory. Other than that, I'm hoping that the legal timekeeping I'm doing for my new job will spill over into my study time and make me more aware of how much time I waste. (I already know this much: I waste a lot of time). I'm welcome to suggestions and assvice in this area, and will probably check in on this goal more than any other.