Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Recap #2

So the end of week two. And honestly this one was a little harder. We jumped further into substantive law and it's just going to get harder from here. I know. I'm ready. Another part of my life that has started this week are the group sessions. Each of our classes has TA's handpicked by the professors based on their grades and overall performance in the same class with the same professor. That's great for me because it helps me focus especially in Contracts where I cannot for the life of me figure out what I should be taking notes on. Now I understand that I should let it come to me and I am, but it's hard. People get to law school with a primarily or majority Type A personality. I'm a partial Type A and it manifests itself when I feel I have no control over my surroundings. When this happens I take control in whatever way I can and in this situation it comes in the form of collecting supplements. Luckily I found a recent grad whose moving clear across country who was nice enough to give me some books and flash cards. Yes!

Now another thing that happened this week, and I had been properly forewarned about, was the question of "how much do you study?" And I'll be honest, I almost got sucked in, but I managed to wiggle out with an "it depends" and it really does. I have Civ Pro and I love the way Prof. Civ Pro teaches. We're told exactly what to look for and exactly what to study. So I look for what I need and no more so it really cuts down on any "well do I need to study that? I don't know so I guess I do." But on the other hand Contracts is...well Contracts. Prof. Contracts is really very nice, but Contacts itself...not so nice. And even here I'm not going to tell you how long I study, but works best for me, on the weekend, is to take one class per day and once I'm done with the tasks for that class, I'm done for the day. It works because I can fully focus on that particular subject and not cram anything else into my head after I'm done. Works for me, find out what works for you.

So that's it for the week. I'm going to keep you updated on anything special that happens and I hope to start a healthy recipe of the week on Sunday nights. So good luck for now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Listed!

So when I first started my blog I was interested in finding out who was reading, where they are from, etc. (you know back when I had time to keep track) so I added a sitemeter reader. (It's free if you want to put one on your page.) So hello to all readers including those from India, Iceland, and Malaysia (I would love to hear how your legal education experiences differ from mine).

But one of the best parts of the (free) sitemeter subscription is that you can see (for the most part) how people get to your blog and through this I found out that someone got to my blog because I am on a 100 Blog Posts You Should Read Before Going to Law School list (#73 thank you very much) for the post that I wrote utilizing advice I gleaned from Penelope. So that's all I wanted to say today. Look for the weekly update later on this week. Thanks so much for reading.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Recap #1

So I've officially completed my first week of law school. So how was it? Well I'll tell you what I told my mom, "it feels like I'm learning how to tread water, but I've always known how." Now you're probably thinking, "what the hell is she talking about!" Well I've always wanted to do this and I know that sounds horribly cliched, but it's true and I think that this is what I've been put on Earth to do. This is my Personal Destiny and it's something I really want and "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." (That quote is from The Alchemist by Paulo Coleho and if you never do anything else in life, you should read this book.)

So you probably don't want to hear about that, you want to hear about my first week. So I have Civil Procedure, Contracts, LP (which is the traditional lawyer skills class everyone eventually takes), and Torts. So as far as Contracts goes I have no earthly idea what is going on, but I will continue to take notes and wait as the "big picture" reveals itself. (Everyone tells me that this will happen so I'm gonna wait and see). In Civil Procedure and Torts I'm not lost and I'm even having fun. I mean did you know that the United States can sue property (money, treasure, etc.)? I mean that just flabbergasts me, but after speaking with an upperclassperson I understand why it would be done (in some cases). And in LP, well we haven't really done much.

So my advice from my experiences so far:
  • Get the locker. I did and it's saving my life. I mean if I wanted to I could leave my bookbag alone until it's time to go home.
  • For the basic things (such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) look to the Westlaw and LexisNexis tables. I got two free copies (one for school, one for home). How greedy you say? Not really because these companies will eventually bleed me dry to allow me to use their search engines. Save some for the others you say? These companies are currently bleeding hundreds of thousands of attorneys dry to use their precious search engines so they have an excess of these things (just think everytime one is taken, the rep wil lsimply replace them with two more).
  • Don't join everything right away. I am sitting back and just observing and I haven't "joined" any student organizations yet, but I've applied for a mentor (which requires mandatory meetings) and signed up for small group sessions (which meet every other week) so I've got some stuff filling my plate. I've singled out one group that I may like to join and I'm going to go to an informational meeting (and get free lunch) soon and make a decision.
  • Use Google Calendar. I use it and have a widget on my desktop and that will show anything I've put into my calendar for the next seven days. So it's always there.
  • Enjoy the time that you have to yourself. Learn to relax and decompress during that time because other people will be super high strung and if you're not careful it will rub off on you.
  • Listen to those who have already jumped in the water when they tell you the water's fine (and believe them when they tell you there are no sharks).
  • Have fun. You're not paying $150,000+ to come out with some sort of depression or anxiety. Relax and accept things as they come and you will be fine.

So that's it. Now I'm going to start my one post per week rule and if something exciting or important happens I may have more than one per week. But in closing I want to say good luck to all the other 1L's out there, hang in there to all the 2L's and 3L's, and congrats to all those who just took the bar.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Two Days

So as of today I have completed two days of law school and had all of my classes once.'s actually not that bad, but ask me again in a week when our professors have decided that they don't want to hold our clammy little hands anymore and push us off a cliff. One of my biggest obstacles that I am seeing already is I am going to have four different classes and have to take notes four different ways. The way I write things down in Civ Pro will not work in Contracts (add that to the fact that I can't figure out what the hell to do in Contracts) and I'm a little behind. But what seems to be helping is I have gotten permission in 3 out of 4 of my classes to tape the classes so (if necessary) I can go back and fill in my skeleton notes.

Another thing that I knew was coming (but is still a shock) is the reading load. Mine is not so bad on Sunday and Tuesday because I only have two classes the next day, but my Monday and Wednesday reading load will be hell because I will have 3 and 4 classes on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Take last night for example. I was up until midnight reading and I STILL had reading to do during my three hour break today (thank goodness for that break).But today after class I stayed a little longer (partially because I was NOT getting in rush hour traffic) mainly to go over and organize my notes and do a little reading so I didn't have to take so many books home today.

I am debating (and leaning towards not) taking part in any student orgs this semester. I want to have something that's law school related, but fun, to do, but I don't want my grades to suffer. I want to do well (survive, succeed, excel is my motto for this semester) and I'm not sure how well I'll do if I am treating my time like Voldermort treated his soul. So if you have any advice feel free to chime in. Well I'm going to go and get back to reading with the hopes of getting to bed at a decent hour. Hopefully I'll post more this week and then my once per week (at minimum) rule will kick in. Good luck to all who started this week (or will start next week).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"I'm Gonna Need You to Breathe"

That's what my boyfriend, best friend, and mother have all said to me at some point today. Why? Because tomorrow is my FIRST DAY OF LAW SCHOOL. I am an excited bundle of nerves and I am just wondering WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?! So I need to divert my attention, so I have a couple of questions for anyone who happens to read this:
  1. What is the best way to convert a .mp4 to something a little more useable such as an .mp3 or a .wma.
  2. Do you think that the general public would allow Aladdin to be made? I was watching today and the whole movie is Allah this and praise Allah that. Would that be acceptable in today's politcal climate? (I personally don't have a problem with it mostly because I LOVE Aladdin.)

So I am going to go and pack my bag and get it by the front door. And hope that I can get some sleep tonight. Oh and by the way this past weekend I got the best advice from an upperclassman, "Don't ask others on the boat how deep the water is. Look to the people who have already jumped in."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Would You Take Her Back?

I bet this guy is thanking his lucky stars. What if he'd gotten married to her and then found out that she was certifiable? (Sorry it's a tad longer than clips I've posted in the past.)

On a completly unrelated note I am addicted to the UNO BETA of Facebook. If you have some time, come be an addict with me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Preview Day Five

So yesterday was the final day of the preview week and I can honestly say that I had fun. In the morning we used almost all of the stuff we learned to begin learning how to formulate practice exam answers and learn how to outline. For the most part outlining was exactly what I thought it would be, but it was good to get a professor to guide us and show us what should be there.

In the afternoon we had a sample law school exam, but according to the people there part of the test wasn't that typical. The essay part was what I am going to have to work on, heck all legal writing, I still write like an undergrad.

So, that was it, all in all it was a very good program and in spite of the price tag I would recommend it (or any prep program CLEO etc.). I may not feel absolutely ready for law school (because, honestly, who could be fully prepared), but I am better. Technically, I've had my first taste of the Socratic Method, had lectures, taken notes, created an outline, and did a "law school exam" so I won't be flying blind. That's good to know. Another perk I discovered is that I just spent that last week in one of my classrooms, so I already know where I want to sit. Now I wonder how early I'll have to get there to stake out my chosen seat? Ahhh law school. Here I come.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Preview Day Four

So...Thursday. We went over how to properly do legal analysis and writing. It was all really good information, but I think I've reached my point. Thank goodness that tomorrow is Friday because I just want everything to get started. So in conclusion today was good, but I was just not feeling it today.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Preview Day Three

So today included two class sessions. Okay so one was discussion style and one was lecture, but they were delivered at the speed and efficency that I believe I will encounter in my classes. My weakness that I noticed today was getting so caught up in what was going on around me that I forgot I was supposed to be taking notes. Luckily none of the stuff I forgot to jot down will be on the final.

In the first part of the day we were lectured to and then provided with a statute and told to change it. That was amazing. Looking at it and finding what we thought was wrong and then actually having other people listen. Amazing. In the second half of the day we received another lecture and then went over some important Constitutional cases including the case the was responsible for creating the infamous Lemon test. Not the easiest to read, but once I got into it, I was in there. What I think will be best for me will be to read the case first; not worrying about taking notes and finding certain things the first time through really helped with my comprehension. And when we were told what to find I could go right to it. Now understand the professor did underline it, but there was six pages to read, so even with that boost I think I did well.

The best part of the day? Finding out that none of the orientation activities (except for a couple of diagnostic things) are required. This means I don't have to go all day, every day. That's a good way to make up for losing what I thought would be the last week of my summer to go to school everyday. As of right now, to be quite honest, I will probably only go on one day. I don't need to do any more of my administrative tasks so why should I go?

The other thing that was different from the other days was the fact that we were inundated
with so many notes that I had to go back and review and organize. That's really going to be important because even though I understood the material, everything was reinforced and I was able to get excited about it again. I even (tried) to explain it to my boyfriend (he didn't quite share my level of excitement and I have no clue why :-D). Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Preview Day Two

So today we have a "practice" round of the Socratic method and my goodness it is so intimidating. You sit there and listen to the professor ask questions to other students and you can't truly understand why it seems like they are flubbing up these questions that are right there in black and white. Until you get called on. And you have eighty eyes just staring at you. And they're all waiting to hear what you have to say and all you want is for whatever comes out of your mouth to be somewhat coherant. Your heart is pounding (and as a result your pulse is racing), your mouth becomes dry, and everything you read the night before just flies out of your head. But then you say something, it's right or it's wrong, and (as long as you don't have that professor) you won't be berated within an inch of your sanity and then you'll move on. You'll be okay.

Now the one thing I realized I have to figure out before the first day is how I am going to take notes. I know I am going to use OneNote because it's infintely better than Word, but I found out that I don't want my briefs on the same page as my regular notes, but I also don't want to have to click back and forth and try to keep track of where the notes go. If anyone has any tips, feel free...

One good thing about this is meeting new people and reinforcing the fact that some first impressions of people may not always be correct. I am learning that some people act differently when in smaller groups and they may not be so bad. Also (if you don't understand this, you weren't meant to) I am to only one. But it's not such a bad thing. So today was pretty intense, but simultaneously laid back. Until tomorrow...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Preview Day One

So today was the first day of my two week law school induction. Today's focus was on class preparation and boy did it show me that I needed this. So the first half of the day largely focused on the Court system and how cases move and who is bound by the decisions. Now most of it I had known from A.P. U.S. History, but some of it I had either forgotten or just never knew. (Now in my defense it was mostly common sense stuff that I had never had to really think about before now and I would have figured it out eventually.)

Now as you must realize I met quite a few of my classmates and we were even divided up by sections so that I also got to see some of my section mates. Everyone seems to be in the same boat despite some having Master's and other advanced degrees, but there is one guy who, every single time I thought "okay I have this down", would ask a question and I would be like "whoa, where'd he get that?" This happened the first time (and a mild migraine started to form), but really by the fifth time he did it I was beginning to think maybe he'll just be "that guy" and if so, good for him. Everyone needs to find the best way to learn for themselves and if that is his way then who am I to stop him. I might tune him out from time to time... But sometimes it wasn't just the questions he asked, but the way he phrased them. I mean I am not saying that the law is in any way easy to understand, but some things do not need to be made even more confusing.

The afternoon was spent discussing reading effectively and briefing cases. Holy s***! So, really, really hard. I understood putting down the facts...and that was pretty much it. But lucky us they gave us some more cases to practice. Wonderful huh? Well all in all it was a good day. The only complaint I have is the chairs. Very comfortable when you first sit down, but by the fifth hour I was definitely fidgeting; and I wasn't the only one. Well that's it for today, but believe there will more to come. Until tomorrow...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

So This is It...

My last day before I start law school related things. I mean technically I am going to an amusement park next Monday and then Cheesecake Factory with the boy's family, but really this is it. Tomorrow I start a "preview week" which is essentially the same thing as the CLEO summer program, but I didn't have to go anywhere. Then next week is orientation (with me not having to go on the 10th or the 14th). And begins. For my first ever law school classes I have Civil Procedure, Contracts, Lawyering Process, and Torts. I have also been told that two of the professors the I have are some of the hardest professors that I could have been given. Really? Well, great because I am here to learn and I am ready to be pushed to my absolute limit. Every teacher that I have walked away from thinking wow s/he was amazing has done this to me. I know that this will not be easy, but I have my support system around me to help me during those tough times.

So my goals for this blog during my first years are:
  • I want to try and post at minimum once per week.
  • I want to be honest and open.
  • Any questions that come my way about my experiences, I want to respond to in a timely manner.

So good luck to all those starting this journey with me. I hope to see you all at the finish line.

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