Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law

Behold! This is not a heavy-handed opinion-laden post about how Arizona legislators are batshit crazy.

That would be too obvious.

Plus I want to spare you all my idealistic ranting until law school actually starts.

No, this is a post about Jon Stewart.

On an episode of The Daily Show today I saw something so funny I nearly spit Pepsi out of my nose.

While having an interview with his "Immigration Correspondent" to get an explanation of the new Arizona law pertaining to stopping anyone who looks "reasonably suspicious" and asking for identification, hilarity ensued.

The "Immigration Correspondent" (does anyone know which actor this was?) begins showing photos and asking Jon to identify if they are "reasonably suspicious." It shows a photo of Dora the Explorer (ruled as suspicious by the correspondent) and a picture of Eric Estrada in his C.H.I.P.S uniform. When it shows a picture of Jeffrey Dahmer, Jon becomes alarmed and starts pointing "Him! He's a murderer! He's a cannibal! He killed lots of people!."

The correspondent replies, "Don't be ridiculous, the police aren't going to stop and arrest people for being hungry."

LOL. That was a good one. I guess you had to see it though.

So... yeah.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


So last night after I posted (and edited several times) I kept reading late into the evening. It freaked me out a lot. I don't want to be stupid and naive and bullheaded and go when so many who've come before me are advising me to run screaming. But I also don't want to miss out on a great opportunity.

Even if I only borrow the 9000 for tuition/fees, and just enough to cover the babysitter (another 9000 or so) I'll still come out owing quite a bit at graduation. Add to that the fairly large amount I already owe for my undergrad and I'm pretty close to the average debt after law school.

There are a lot of horrible situations right now in legal. I agree that law schools are often really slimy about their recruiting methods and the facts and figures they present to potential students. I also agree that the market is extremely saturated because of the lack of limitations on law schools.

I don't want to be naive and think Home State is any different, or that I'm so super and shiny that I'll beat all the odds. But I really do want to be a lawyer. I love the law, even the really boring paper-pushing parts.

I looked up the average salary for a lawyer in Home State and while it's not great, it's also not so bad. I don't want to be a lawyer to make the big bucks. I want to do it because I want to make a difference. Not in the idealistic-I'm-going-to-change-the-world way, but in the if-I-can-help-change-one-person's-life-it's-worth-it way.

Last night I was practically talked out going but I've calmed down a lot. I think I'm going to do it. I love the law too much to not do it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Staying Firm on Decisions

Thanks to everyone who gave great advice on what to do with the living situation. We've decided to move, across the street! (The house with more bedrooms for an extra 200 a month.) It's just too great to pass up, and we really are strapped for space here. One of Abigail's favorite things is to rip paper up and destroy books, so having a room I can keep her out of will be very helpful.

Even better (and further evidence things work out for a reason) is that we found someone to finish out our lease and they are probably going to be our new best friends! They have a daughter not much older than Abby, and the two are already having fun playing together. The woman is a genetics fellow at the university (same as where Brian works in science as well) so we have that in common. The man stays home with the daughter while finishing his dissertation in music. They like board games and sports and have already asked if we were interested in playing games sometime. Heck yeah! We don't know any other parents in our area so this is awesome, plus since we'll be right across the street we know where to go for Abby to have a playdate. The relief of this is huge for me, because I know Abigail needs more socialization. Law school will be hard enough without constantly worrying about her.

A while back I read an article about things you should do if you go to law school. It originally came from here but I snagged it from here. One of the things in the advice was to get in shape before school starts because "law school is the land of coffee and pizza." I thought that was hilarious but I know it is true. When I toured the school the ambassador told me they often have free food there for one event or another so we'll never go hungry. I've been seriously miserable about how much weight I've gained since my brother-in-law died, and intent on losing it. I've joined a gym temporarily (the school has an excellent one just one building over from the law building) and so far I've already lost 3 pounds! Only about 30 more to go. Or 20. I'm not really sure how much to lose. I know my "normal" weight may be different than it used to be since I've had a baby, so I am not going to push it beyond what my body considers normal. As long as I'm maintaining and healthy, I am going to be happy.

Speaking of staying firm on decisions, I sure have read a lot of horribly negative blawgs lately about how no one should ever go to law school. They refer to bottom tier schools as "toilets" and say even those attending better schools are totally screwed. I'm new to the blawg world so I'm sure the whole "toilet" thing is probably normal and common, but it's all just SO negative. Half the ones I read are so bitter I don't get a good impression of the writer. It almost feels like they just couldn't hack it so they blame the "establishment." I've also read quite a few that explain my reaction to the bitterness as my own egotism. Yep, I think I'm better and smarter than all of them and therefore they can be as negative and bitter as they want and if it bugs me then well it's my own bloated ego driving me to feel that way.

I'm not ignorant or naive, I know the market sucks. I know there are hundreds of lawyers out there not practicing law or who are desperately trying to find a job and can't. However, I also know a lot of people in my area who are finding success. I know the market is coming back up and I am seeing an increase of job postings. I also know enough about myself to believe that by the time I graduate I WILL find a job. I've made good money in my career thus far, so I have something to go back to and a legal education could be a bonus, even if I'm paying for it.

Luckily, I have a deadly combination of in-state tuition and discounted tuition since Brian's an employee. I think that will help me borrow less, and maybe once I'm done if I don't have the ideal job I can get by easier knowing I have less to pay back. *sigh* We'll see, but I am determined to do this because I think I was born for it, bad economy or not.

One blawg pointed out how schools in Home State "heavily rely" on the local religious population to "fill seats." Not true, but they were right about the local religion's networking. They are tight knit, it's true and you can definitely use those connections. I am not part of the religion, but having been raised and worked in the community I do see an advantage. Maybe this will help me beat the "law school scam" too.

I hope so, because I don't want to be bitter too.

I've often commented on "technical" schools that you see ads for on TV. And massage therapy schools. And "medical professional" schools. And paralegal schools. All of these are saturating the market while simultaneously SCREWING their students with huge tuition and IN-HOUSE LENDING at ridiculous rates.

I plan on borrowing only federal low-rate (non-credit based) loans and avoiding private loans. I think I'm really lucky there too.

I feel bad for those who have come before me who've been screwed by lower-tier schools. Most Home State law grads do stay in Home State, so perhaps I'll get lucky and be able to avoid competing with all those "toilet" graduates.

The whole things sucks, and I am not trying to criticize the underground movement to change the system, it is just a bit of a shock to read it all. Plus it makes me feel bad to read that by not taking their advice (and running like hell) I'm just using my overly huge inflated head.

Thanks again to everyone, it's awesome to find more blawgers in various stages of the process.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Yet more minutiae to subject you all to. Should we live in student housing? Or take the house across the street from where we live now? I would love to stay in this house. We have a great yard (front and back), tons of parking, big rooms with storage, and a laundry room downstairs with a washer/dryer included. The rent is reasonable, but it's only two bedrooms. I sort of hate the idea of doing 100% of my studying on campus, and there is really no good (quiet/baby free) space in our house. We're starting to fill up the space we do have, and I am not a fan of getting rid of stuff and trying to make this place work.

So here are the two options:

House across the street: It has 2 bedrooms, a huge home office, a living room and family room, giant laundry room with built in storage shelving, remodeled kitchen (with a dishwasher, which we don't have here) and has the same cute-vintage feel of our current place. We won't have to rent a moving truck, we can just walk it all across the street. A couple dollies/hand trucks should be all we need.

The downside is we'll be paying 200 more a month than we are now, and the yard isn't as awesome, although it doesn't suck.

Student housing: 3 bedrooms, dining room, space for a washer and dryer in the unit, shuttle to and from the law school every 15 minutes, playground. All utilities included (including cable/internet), so we would save about 200 a month. The apartments are in walking distance to Brian's work.

The downsides are many. Living in an apartment complex sucks. The bedrooms are tiny. We'll be awfully close, so the fact I'll have a door to close to the noise may not help that much. NO storage/shelving/closet space. Parking also sucks. Having guests will be a huge pain. The kitchen has ZERO counter space.

So I know that all makes it sound like I know what to do, since there are so many more cons for the apartments, but the 200 dollar savings is a HUGE pro to me. 200 a month isn't that much in the grand scheme of things, but who knows what the future may bring?

Did any of you wonderful readers living in student family housing in law school?

How much did you study? At home? On campus?

Is it weird that having a coat closet and linen closet matters so much to me?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trying Not to Panic

The days are going by so quickly already. I am enjoying my summer off with the baby. It's routine, but we occasionally shake things up with a walk to the grocery store or library (SO EXCITING.) My biggest source of panic is how we are going to afford daycare when school starts in the fall. Had we been relocating, Brian would have stayed home and we would have maxed out my student loans to afford it. Now that we are staying in Home City, and I'll be getting a sexy tuition discount as Brian works at the university, I'm starting to worry about the baby being in daycare full time. It will be expensive and I'll worry about her safety and happiness all the time. I know kids are resilient and all, but I'm a mom so I'll worry. There are appeals I can make to try and get my COA (Cost of Attendance) increased so I can borrow more to cover daycare, but I want to borrow as little as possible. I guess I need to crunch the numbers to make myself feel better.

I wonder how other people with kids deal with it?