Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Book 4 of 50, done. My expert review is this: Meh. It is aptly titled, as it really is just Pride and Prejudice with the addition of zombies. Also, the frat-boy who wrote it just dropped in a few zombies and a lot of jokes about balls. I'm going to read something a little more relevant next, "Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success." It is another recommended by one of the law schools to which I've applied, and as I am so excited for school to start it's nice to read something about it all.

As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it was fun, but I found myself being overly critical. My plan for reawakening my nerdy English Major self is succeeding!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Immune to Sexy Marketing

So I know I am supposed to be all tough and hardcore and impervious to marketing attempts, but something exciting happened the other day. I came home and there was a package on my front porch. I wasn't expecting anything, except for a welcome packet from Home State University with financial aid information and important dates. Imagine my surprise when the huge package was in fact the welcome packet.

I know I'm a nerd, I readily admit it. A decent three-ring binder with the Home State University cover got me all excited. Pages and pages of things like statistics and testimonials from current students made me feel tingly all over.

I have been admitted to every school I've heard from, and most sent me nothing more than a single sheet of paper. A huge binder full of helpful information? AWESOME.

Maybe that's why they are as well ranked * as they are.

*Law school rankings really don't mean a thing, unless it's an Ivy League school or something. But it's fun to note that I got into one ranked in the top 50.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School

Before I knew "for sure" that I was going to law school this fall, I started an ambitious and stupid project. I took some time off from literature after finishing my degree, having done so much in-depth and frantic reading that I was sick of the sight of any book. Phonebooks, technical manuals, photo albums. If it was book shaped I couldn't look at it, I was so disgusted. Now that I've recovered, I am ready to get back into reading. I chose an arbitrary number (50) and decided to try and read that many books before the end of 2010. I didn't do the math. I didn't realize this meant over a book a week. I also didn't think about the fact that I would be enduring the most difficult segment of a law degree during this time period; the first semester of the first year. So here we are 7 weeks in and I just started my 4th book. I'm a bit behind and I don't see how I can possibly meet my goal. But, right up until the first day of school I am going to try and then admit defeat then.

So book number 3 was on the recommended summer reading list from Willamette University, One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School. Although it was published some 30 years ago, and takes place at Harvard, it is still considered very relevant in capturing what it is like to be a 1L. The story was all at once engaging, fascinating, captivating, and infuriating.

I felt pretty good when the author would mention a topic and I would know what he is talking about, given my limited undergrad experiences, but he succeeded in totally freaking me out. Now State Home U is different than a lot of law schools. The class sizes are quite small (around 30) and the faculty to student ratio is 8 to 1. This is really nice, as one of the main problems encountered by Scott Turow in the book is the 140 student classes he had to deal with, completely cutting him off from his professors unless he was willing to stampede with the rest of the cattle.

Overall, a very interesting book and worth reading if not to just give one an idea of the kind of study schedule they ought to be prepared for.

Next I'm going to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ah, Decisions Decisions

Of course we're going to stay in Home State. Of course we are! I made 75 phone calls the day I found out I had been admitted to Home State University. A full ride from University of Akron couldn't possibly change my decision, could it?

Grr. Just when you think everything has fallen into place.

I think a list of pros and cons is in order, though I'll spare you the minutiae. Essentially it comes down to the fact that I don't want to move. Uprooting my family and leaving behind nearly our entire social network is a painful prospect. If I do it by sheer numbers, sure, Akron is the better choice. Rent is cheap there, my tuition would be covered, the cost of living is a bit cheaper. My former boss and mentor teaches there so we wouldn't be completely by ourselves in the wilderness. However, there would be the cost of relocating. Sure, we could get reimbursed using financial aid, but we'd have to pay it back so it's not exactly free money.

How do you put a price on friends and family?

I was planning on framing my letter of admission, but the baby literally ate it. Well not all of it, but there are some fantastic bite marks near the top and it's pretty banged up. I'm sure it is symbolic of how our experience in law school is going to be, so maybe I'll frame it anyway, bite marks and all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can't Hurt to Try

During my application process, I decided on a whim to apply to the Home State University. We live close by and my husband actually works there so we would get half off tuition. I knew it was probably a waste of the application fee, but the reality was we were facing relocation with the families' first grandchild, and grandparents on both sides were greatly distressed. They were supportive, but it was going to be hard on all of us. My mother-in-law repeatedly offered to raise the baby while we were off to law school, she was so broken up about us leaving.

Today I got the call of my life, when the Home State University admissions department called and offered me admission. It is the highest ranked school to which I applied, and I honestly didn't think I had a prayer of getting in. I didn't even tell my family I had applied, because I didn't want anyone to get their hopes up. Not even a day ago I had basically decided we were moving to Oregon, and now I suddenly get to stay in my home state. My husband gets to keep working, and I get half off tuition. Can life get any better than this?!

So a word to those contemplating applying to law school, it can't hurt to apply to a dream school. You just might get in.

A Voice From the Past

I received an email via Facebook yesterday from the wife of my former boss. He is a Professor of Geography and used to teach at the university where I completed my undergrad. I was his assistant for two years and during that time he became my mentor and my friend. After I graduated he accepted a position with the University of Akron and moved to Ohio. The law school there had some interesting programs and as the cost of living there is relatively close to that of Home State I decided to apply. Knowing someone in the area is definitely a plus, as the thought of relocating to some place I've never been scares the hell out of me. Anyway, back to Facebook. As my mentor is "morally opposed to Facebook" he requested his wife use it to contact me and ask that I email him directly with my phone number. We're going to talk tonight about my future and I am anticipating a large YAY AKRON speech. I'll have to tell him Willamette is my current top choice. =(

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting Started

I've long been wanting to start an anonymous blog, because I don't want to be overly opinionated or political and alienate my conservative friends and family members. Now that I am beginning the journey to law student-hood, I feel like perhaps I can kill two birds with one stone. I am hoping to use this blog as both a blawg and a forum for spouting off my various opinions and rants.

Deciding to go to law school was a decision I made a few years ago. I was in a great relationship with an amazing guy, who was also preparing to apply to graduate school. When he was not accepted to his choice of schools, and highly encouraged to reapply the following year, I made the decision to wait a year. I wasn't thrilled with the schools I had chosen to apply to, so this felt like a good decision.

Life intervened at that point and I found myself getting married and (much to my surprise and delight) having a baby girl. My husband got a fantastic job in medical research, and it looked like we were going to be able to stay in Home State City and not have to go on to higher schooling. I think we made this decision based on our fear of relocating with a new baby, on top of the fear of law school itself. My husband had decided to either continue on with his career path or stay home with our daughter while I went on to school, so when the job started to look shaky we decided perhaps we ought to make a plan.

So, I began the process all over again. I applied to better schools this time, having finished my undergrad with fairly high grades in the last few semesters and finding my uGPA bumped up a bit once LSAC got the update. For those considering law school, a friendly word of advice: if you do poorly in a course and it is not required for you to graduate, DO NOT RETAKE IT. Out of principal I retook a handful of classes in which I had done poorly. I had taken them because they seemed interesting, but they were extremely challenging and my scores wrecked my GPA. My university's policy was to remove the bad grade and replace it with the better, new grade. So I retook the courses and busted my ass to earn A's. BIG WASTE OF TIME. LSAC just counts both scores toward your uGPA, so you may as well save yourself some aggravation and just take a different class for the same credit hours that you know you can score well in.

I applied VERY early this time. Like, September 1 to most schools and October 1 to others, solely because some schools didn't have the applications up that early. This is great for rolling admissions, but wreaks havoc on your nerves. Some schools don't start reviewing applications until spring, so you sit and wait for six months. It's rough.

That's where I am at right now. I applied to 7 schools, 3 of which have replied with an offer of admission. Willamette University sent me a scholarship offer of about 50%, and I'm still waiting to hear back about the other 4 schools. Most of the schools do not send scholarship information until financial aid packages go out. So this adds to my nerves because I would love to have a decision made so I can begin planning our relocation, but I want to wait until I hear about other possible scholarships.

This was a lot of rambling for a first blog, but hopefully as I chill out things will get a little more coherent.