Firstly, I am fully convinced that there are two kinds of law school applicant: the early bird and the laz-e-boy. Some law school applicants get everything lined up early–they prepare for the LSAT for weeks or months, go through twenty drafts of their personal statement, keep spreadsheets of information on the schools they are interested in. (I fell into this category.) And there are the applicants who are much more laid back–they take the LSAT, but don’t fret about preparation too much, churn out a personal statement in a couple of hours (no more than a weekend), and send apps out to schools based on their proximity to the beach, or the mountains, or major shopping.
Yes, these are extremes. But I don’t think they’re unfair: to a certain extent, every law school applicant leans more towards one side or the other. For those of you in the laid back category, congrats on being laid back and relaxed, but you probably don’t want my advice.
But you neurotics? I was just like you a year ago. So my advice might be spot on for you. And here it is:
I know that with every letter you get–whether an acceptance, rejection, deferral, or waitlist–the entire landscape of Law School (capital L, capitall S) changes. And each one sends you running for your spreadsheet, or for lawschoolnumbers.com. I know that you’re probably watching what’s going on with the competition. I know that you’re starting to plan for admitted students’ weekends. You’re wondering if you’ll need to send more than one deposit, because you don’t know if your dream school will come through for you in time.
A year ago, I wish I’d taken a few more deep breaths. I wish I’d relaxed a little more into the whole process. Most importantly, I wish I’d had a broader perspective on my self-worth. It’s really easy, no matter how chill you started out, to get dragged into the bullshit–the bullshit that tells you that your value is measured by the highest ranked law school you got into. So try not to. Remember the reasons you actually applied to law school in the first place–and then remember the reasons you applied to the particular schools you did. (If those reasons boil down to “its rank,” of course, you might want to do some more research into the school, so you know why you might actually choose it.)
Mr. Angst and I went for drinks tonight with some of my fellow classmates. Oddly, 80% of the folk who showed up were in my section! We had a good time. Some beer, some chat, some discussion of going and finding pierogi later this week….things are looking good for the year.
That is all.
Update: Mr. Angst has been a little goofy tonight; he just informed me that it’s because he’s HAPPY. That makes ME happy. Yay.
Unpacking is going frightfully well, so much so that we both took the afternoon off to do some wandering. Mr. Angst went over to his campus to check on some details with financial aid and student services; I came over to my campus just to see how the walk would be and to set up my connection preferences for my laptop.
The walk? Not bad at all. Lots of different ways I can go to vary things up and if my feet get tired, there are buses all over the place.
My campus? Setting up my connection on the campus VPN was easy enough. But that’s not what is preoccupying me, as I sit here and type. No, what I’m thinking about is OCI.
OCI? Why are you thinking about OCI? you may be asking. Well, I’m thinking about OCI because it’s going on right now and everyone else who is here (mostly everyone else) is all suited up for interviews. It’s a little disturbing to think that that could be me in one short year. I know I’ve posted about that before, but it bears repeating.
Also, I don’t feel too old. I don’t feel exactly YOUNG, but I certainly don’t feel like I stick out as the old married lady here. I guess I never thought that would be the case, but I did have a niggling worry.
It’s hard for me to believe that this place, that I’ve visited a few times now, is actually MY place. I still feel like a guest, and I suspect I will for a little while yet. But it’s beginning to get more comfortable.
You know, I wasn’t really feeling the pre-law panic until Citations started talking about hers.
Now I can’t possibly imagine how I am expected to start law school in two weeks. Two weeks! That’s nothing! No time! A mere blink in history! And yet, my entire life is going to change. It’s already happeningI’ve got this new apartment in a new city and I don’t have a job for the first time in over six years and things are just…changing…before my very eyes. But I could still say, “No thanks, I think I’ll go get a temp gig and just go back to work.”
I’m feeling the twinge in my gut. It’s not a BAD twinge, but it’s a twinge nonetheless. Part excitement, part fear, part holy shit….there it is, in the gut.
Two weeks. But of course, Orientation starts even sooner than that.
Wow! Blogging in my new city is going to take some forethought and consideration! There’s so much to do hereespecially when you have visitorsthat I’ve just gotten on my computer today.
My brother is still in town, you see. (He’s staying at a hotel, never fear.) So Mr. Angst and I (and my brother) all slept WAY in. When we finally made it outside, it started to rain. We escaped into a local brunch place (excellent) and then trucked off to Target. (Brother drove up here with us, remember, and he has a CAR and we took advantage of that.) And hey, right next to Target was a T-Mobile store, so we changed our numbers and got on a family plan and Mr. Angst got a new and much better phone.
We spent the afternoon wandering around, seeing the sights. I even walked us over to Law School campus. I tried to go into the bookstore to price my books, but it was closed.
Books? you may ask? Yes, books. I got an email yesterday, informing me that we had been assigned to our sections and our classes had been scheduled. I have class at 8:45 am three days a week, and 10:25 the other two. On Fridays, I’ll be done by 1:30. I have a big break Monday through Wednesday, and a slightly smaller but still significant break on Thursdays.
Things are coming together. It’s exciting and nervewracking and fun and terrifying, all at the same time. I’ll be keeping y’all posted on the great adventure.
I’ve been waiting to leave my job for so long, it’s hard to believe the day has finally arrived.
It’s even stranger to realize that, in one week, we will be done moving into our new apartment. We won’t be unpacked or settled by any stretch of the imagination, but we’ll be moved in. Holy hell.
Eyes a little better.
Just a small thought:
Having been in, you know, the “real world” for several years now, I know how quickly a year can pass by. Before you know it, that project you always work on in the spring is coming back around. or it’s your birthday again, or football season is starting back up.
So it’s particularly odd to realize that, in a year, I will preparing for OCI (God willing). In one year, I will be preparing for a ritual that could possibly result in the job I’ll have AFTER law school. That’s just weird.
CM has been talking about her goals and hopes for law school. And in another, different, post responding to CM’s post, I mentioned that one of my goals was to make sure I got to spend quality time in My New City.
And that made me start to think about TIME.
From what I hear, 1L is a huge time suck. Lots of reading, lots of time-consuming reading, a fair amount of writing in Legal Writing, and then, of course, finals.
The schoolgirl inside me says I will have to spend a lot of time doing all the right things for class if I want to do well. This is the voice I normally ALWAYS listen tothe one who says, “You can’t call in sick! You have a big project to finish!” or “Skipping class is BAD!” or “I know they don’t pay you enough, but you should still think about your job at home and on the weekends!”
Lately, though, another voice has been speaking to me. She seems more reasonable, too.
I have made no secret of my eventual goal after law school. I want to teach. Whether I go into full legal scholarship or teach legal writing as an adjunct (or teach legal writing full-time), that is my eventual goal. Right now. So the schoolgirl inside is someone I’m going to have to listen to a fair amount, because she’s the one who will prod me into doing my best work (and hopefully into my best grades).
But the other, reasonable, voice is one to take note of, also. She reminds me of the horror stories of the arbitrary nature of law school grades, about how law school grades aren’t necessarily the best indicators of, um, intelligence. See, I know that, just because I work hard, I won’t necessarily get the grades I think I deserve. Or, maybe I’ll just fall at the bottom of the curve. I don’t know. I know that I’m not used to being at the bottom of the curve, so the prospect of that makes me nervous. But I also know that my grades, while important, aren’t going to keep me from getting a job. Really.
So I guess what I’m trying to figure out right now (and it’s a foolish thing, since I haven’t started school yet and don’t know how it’s going to be) is how to balance my schoolgirl desire for good gradeswhich will push me into working like a madwomanwith my pragmatism and the understanding that, no matter how hard I work, I can’t do better than I’m going to do, and I should try and enjoy life some.
I want to explore My New City and I want to spend time with my husband. I also want to work hard for my classes because I find the subject matter interesting, not because I’m afraid of having to realign my ambitions with my grades.
So I guess those are some of my main goals for law school. To work as hard as I can for the right reasons. Working hard because I’m afraid of failure….that’s not a good motive, I think. Working hard because I want to do wellsure, that’s a good thing. Working hard because I WANT to understand? Also a good thing. Working so hard that I never look around and see the city, see my husband, talk to my friends, go to the gym, try a new restaurant? Bad.
CM has a post up about things she wants to do in law school and I started to comment about it, but decided to just post, because pretty much everything on her list is on mine, though maybe not for the same exact reasons.
She wants to study at the library; I want to try and NOT study at home. I just know I won’t get much done if I do work at home. Plus, I want home to be HOMEa place to read fiction, cook meals, listen to good music and dance around like a fool, watch TV, sleep, and enjoy my husband. I don’t want home to become a place I associate with stress and frustration. So I, too, want to study at the library, or at least on campus rather than at home.
CM also wants to be social. I don’t usually have trouble being “social,” per se, but I do have trouble making friends. Example: my best friend in the whole world is someone I met freshman year of college. We had many mutual friends and were in the same organizations, and were often at the same parties, moving with the same groups of people from place to place. But we didn’t actually become friends until our senior year. It took me that long to let her in. What I am saying is that I am slow to make friends. I always have been. Not casual “acquaintance” type friends, but good friends, the kind of people I’ll call up at any time of the night just because I need someone to go get Chinese food with. I spend too much time inside my head, trying to figure out if I “really” want to be close to someone. And I think I just want to get out of that habit right away and meet people and make friends without all the inner monologue. Sigh.
CM also talks about making the most of opportunities and staying healthy and remembering the point of it all. Those are important to me, alsojust not as important as the above points. More important to me will be taking advantage of Our New City, spending time with my husband, and trying to meet people who AREN’T fellow students. It would be nice to be able to call up someone for pizza and not sit and talk about school.
After many long months of waiting, the great exodus has finally begun.
This time around is easier for me, conceptually. First, everyone else is going through it, too. Misery is better with company. Also, our possessions are much thinner nowhaving given away a full bedroom/office worth of furniture the first time around.
Still, it’s starting to keep me up at night again. I guess I’d better get some boxes out of the storage closet and start packing up books and CDs. So I can sleep, if nothing else.