Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just When You Get A Handle on It

That's what they do to you in law school. Just when you get a handle on things they shake you up. I've been fine, getting into the rhythm and feeling pretty good about things. Then my academic support group got together to go over outlining, since that is what we are expected to do over Fall Break. It made my head hurt. I've always enjoyed outlining, but adding that and a memo to my existing coursework is making me feel overwhelmed. I'm sure it will be fine but I find myself increasingly grumpy and apathetic more and more. I have had some great weekends with nice breaks, but I really just want to crawl into my bed and pretend the world doesn't exist. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling this way. Maybe outlining will actually help, since I'll have more perspective on how far I've come?

In other news, this Friday it will be one year since my brother-in-law committed suicide. The time has gone by so fast and I'm not really sure how to feel. I'm sad of course, but just like when he was alive, life just goes on and he didn't really affect us all that much. Saying that makes me even sadder. What a waste. He could have been so much, but I never felt like he would. I hate it that I turned out to be right. I miss him. I know Abby is missing out, since he was so loving and attentive to her. I want to say the afterlife is so much better for him than this life was, but I am so uncertain about the afterlife I can't really tell myself that if it's a lie. Ugh. The depression over the anniversary is not helping with school. I'm sure the hibernating urge I'm feeling has a lot to do with that.

School is school. I would love to tell a hilarious story, but I just don't have the energy. It's like this at home too. I have this whole other separate life away from my family, and when I get home I just want to share it all with Brian. But I can't get the words to form.

I am a zombie law student.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Abigail came home today. I am so glad. She squealed when she saw me and promptly put her head on my shoulder. I have missed her so much. She had her 18 month appointment today. Normally, Brian would take her so I wouldn't miss class, but things got entirely too complicated and I missed out on CivPro and Torts.

Too bad, because Professor T did in fact make a "Jesus Take the Wheel" joke about the crazy God-will-drive-or-else-I'll-fly-because-Batman-can case. We had all been betting about it and Professor T did not disappoint. I'm sad I missed it.

This was the first time I missed class this semester, but my classmates lovingly offered notes before I even asked.

This weekend is the first parents club meeting. We're doing a lunch at my place. I'm excited. I also got some help with the budget and found out the students orgs department will cover shirts for us. That was a nice surprise. I designed a great logo for the club. They basically told me that I am free to fund-raise as I see fit. I may approach a few firms associated with the school to see if anyone might be willing to donate a few hundred dollars or help with an event. Perhaps a venue for a party or something? We'll see. It's exciting that I'm starting something so important. We have a lot of parent law students in need of support. I'm making great friends doing it, and I hope Abby will too.

I think things are returning to normal. I can't express how happy I am to know that if I screamed right now or slammed a door I would wake her. It comforts me, as strange as that sounds.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I promise to have a full post soon, I'm just feeling so very blah about it all right now.

I think the mid-semester doldrums have kicked in.

Right now I am choosing between CivPro and sleep. I know my prof won't be calling on me tomorrow, since I've had my turn already. She does it alphabetically so I will know exactly when it's my turn next time. Does this motivate me to prepare every day? No, but I do it anyway.

Today, I am just too tired and sad. I miss Abigail so much. She comes home on Thursday from Nana's house and I can't wait. Friday it is one year since my brother-in-law died and Brian and I are both feeling the strain.

I feel so apathetic. I think I'll just go to bed and hope that tomorrow is better. Seeing Abby's smiling face and getting one of her hugs is all I need right now and I can't wait.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Balancing It All

Yesterday was a combination of fantastic and super tough. The school had an event where we went downtown and toured 4 different large firms. I haven't really felt interested in working in a large firm, as I'm prioritizing my family over my career. That doesn't mean I am not going to try and get the best thing I can, but I'm not going to work 120 hour weeks. It's just not going to happen. I was pleasantly surprised by the responses the various lawyers gave when I asked about family life and their firm. A couple gave specific numbers about their "modified tracks" which allow you to work 20% less billable hours and it only adds one year to your partner track time. They were very enthusiastic and I met more women than I thought I would. I got some great contacts (though recruiting was not allowed beyond answering questions about what they look for in a resume) and had some fantastic food.

The tough part was that we didn't get done until 7pm. Then I had to take the baby down to my mom's, where she will be spending either the weekend or a full week. I packed for a full week, but I may miss her too much to let her stay until next Thursday.

Today, I felt so happy and so guilty. It's funny how motherhood works that way. I was able to sleep in an extra half hour, and I had to keep reminding myself that Abby wasn't in her crib. I kept listening for her, instead of enjoying my lie-in. Then, when I got up, I got to put on face-cream! I NEVER get to do that. It felt so luxurious. AND I got to use my blow dryer. I had forgotten what blown-out hair looked like. It was swell.

This weekend will be amazing and incredibly self-indulgent. I worked hard to get as much work as possible done so I didn't have to bring books home. I do have to do some Torts reading, but only ten pages so nothing major. I even got my Legal Research assignment done early today, though it's not due until Monday. Lola and I went across the street and spent two luxurious hours having cheeseburgers, beer (for her, Diet Coke for me!) and chatting. I adore her and I'm so lucky to have found such a great friend in school. She's one of many, but we have so much in common it's really nice.

Tomorrow I'm going to brunch with another gal-pal and then to a matinee. Tomorrow night Lola and her husband are coming up and we're going to Oktoberfest. Don't ask me why they do it in September here. Polka, sausage, and mechanical bull-riding, here we come!! Yeah I don't know why they have a mechanical bull, either.

Then Sunday Brian and I are going to breakfast and to get massages. I AM SO EXCITED. I've been working my guts out and the break from both homework and the baby will be nice.

But I still feel guilty. At least I know she is having so much fun with Nana and PopPop and my Law School Mistress will still be there on Monday.

Have a great weekend, all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I Just Can't Keep it In!!

Sorry, I just can't keep it in. I don't care who reads this, it is just too funny to hold in. The dates are approximate.

Day 1: Professor K enters late and immediately starts grilling a student. He seems scary. I leave feeling shaken.

Day 2: Professor K cracks a joke, and when no one laughs he does a little dance to indicate he is waiting for the laughter. When it comes but a little too late to not be awkward, he comments throughout the lecture that HE thought it was funny and pretends to be hurt. (Hilarious) I leave feeling relieved, and like this class will be super fun.

Day 3: Professor K calls on a student who stumbles. He reassures her by stating "If you answer then I'll mark off your name and not talk to you for a long time." She replies, "Awesome."

He laughs and then pretends to be hurt that she thinks it's "awesome" to not have to talk to him.

(Several days of great classes)

Day 10: While discussing possible other means of recovery than breach of contract in an employee dispute, Professor K mentions a hypo where his employer discriminates based on his age. JoJo says that only applies if he is old, and since he's young it won't apply. Another (very funny and very nice) student posits that maybe he could claim discrimination since Professor K is a metrosexual.

He laughs and then after we've moved on keeps going back to it. He's clearly upset by being called a metrosexual (in a funny way though, but I felt like maybe he didn't know what it meant). The student feels completely stupid for making the joke.

Day 12: "If a wealthy man says to a tramp" hypo in an opinion. When the class cracks up, Professor K does too. He asserts that we're all filthy-minded. I leave feeling like his sense of humor is awesome and makes his intensity worth it.

Day 15: Professor K mentions the metrosexual comment again, the student who said it feels terrible again.

Day 16: Professor K is upset that the court did not acknowledge the injustices being done to the Greeks during the war in Batsakis. He rants about it for five minutes and abruptly leaves the classroom, obviously upset at students' arguments. (Hey, we're just answering the questions here based on what the court said, I don't think we all thought the nice elderly Greek lady should get screwed.)

Day 17: Professor K apologizes for his rant and says he feels embarrassed but explains it's important for us to not be led by the judges' opinions and to think for ourselves.

Day 20: JoJo tells Professor K (after his comment is dismissed) YOUR HYPOTHETICAL IS RIDICULOUS!!! At which Professor K begins citing the metrosexual comment and all the other previous grievances for why we are the surliest class he's ever had. He mentions he looked up the meaning of metrosexual and informs us he has NEVER had a pedicure thankyouverymuch. He's laughing and it's hilarious, but we are all horrified at the student's behavior.

This will be an interesting semester.

Also, unrelated, S.O.T and I had a decent conversation today in which he only touched me inappropriately once. What is it with your peers thinking they can touch you on the shoulder? YUCK. Maybe I could learn to tolerate him. Pleh.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Almost too Shocking to Desribe

I remember on September 11th, I drove my ex-husband (husband at the time) to work and dropped him off. I was listening to NPR on the way to work, and we heard a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Small planes crash all the time, and while I was concerned for the safety of those involved, I just assumed it was a small vessel with a single pilot who had gotten off course. There was just no way to contemplate the magnitude of it all. I got to work, which was a middle school where I substituted. At the time I was teaching the at-risk class. They were a handful of students who had lost the privilege to attend classes with the rest of the school. They were like ghosts, forced to arrive later and leave earlier. They had their own lunch time, and were not allowed to associate with any students outside their class. If they progressed, they could earn the right to enter the mainstream again.

Their regular teacher was in New York City on vacation.

I had been working with them for a couple of days already, and given how small the class was and how flexible the curriculum, we were able to turn on the news and watch the coverage. My mother had called my cell phone frantically, as she'd already been watching the first tower burning. She was crying so hard I couldn't understand what she was saying. I hadn't yet turned on the news myself, and the blurb on the radio was so minimal I just had no idea. I had no idea.

I watched with 5 fourteen year old kids as the second plane hit. It happened so fast, and the news reporter we were watching was so shocked at what he was seeing, we didn't fully grasp what had just happened.

It took a few days but the school did get a call from the teacher for whom I was subbing. She was fine and hadn't been in the area at the time, but since all flights were canceled she couldn't get out yet. She was going to rent a car and drive out of state to fly home. The kids were relieved she was okay, but I don't think any of them would ever be the same. I certainly wasn't.

I remember voting for George W. Bush that election, because the anger I felt had not faded yet and his speeches promising to take out all the bad guys made me feel good. I wanted revenge. I later started to feel sick from all of the songs made about 9/11. Of course people had a right to express their feelings but I started to feel like my emotions were being exploited by the media. It was disgusting to me.

I guess what I am trying to say is, it's all so complicated. Because loss is complicated. Murder is complicated. Forgiveness is complicated.

I have a friend at school who is an asylee from Afghanistan. She had to live in Pakistan for most of her adult life due to the war, and now things in Pakistan are getting worse. She is attending law school here with the hopes that she will be able to return home and help in the reforming of her country. She is brave and a wonderful person.

Like I said, it's complicated. The point is, my feelings when 9/11 happened were black and white. Then at some point everything went gray. I will never forget, but more importantly I will never forget the lessons I've learned. I hope none of us do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ups and Downs

Now that we are all settling into school, things are getting interesting.

First, a surprising number of people have become very vocal about their struggles to grasp the material and get themselves into a good study routine. I thrive on a forced reading schedule, but that is not the case for everyone. It is super easy to get distracted and let your discipline fall away.

Two people who confessed their panic to me (separately) are very different. We all feel these feelings of frustration, inadequacy, and drowning. Everyone handles it differently but even though I know that (and have researched it tirelessly) I was still put off when people started talking about it.

Student A told me about his feelings, and I was not surprised. He seems a sensitive person who is generally more creative than organized. This doesn't diminish his intelligence at all, it's just that he is the type you expect to display his feelings when he is overwhelmed. I counseled him as best I could, and he told me his mom had some good (if not a little tough) advice.

Student B is very vocal, talks a lot in class, and is generally very confident in appearance. When he told me he was struggling I was very surprised. He would have been someone I would have talked to if I were overwhelmed! And it both helps to know he struggles and makes me feel worse. Law school is full of double-edged swords like that.

Another example is that once people start to get more (or less, depending) comfortable, their belief systems and opinions start to come out. I've butted heads with a few already. I know this is part of the experience, but I get so upset when someone (who believes in something SO passionately) gets upset when they learn I don't agree with them. A difference of opinion in my eyes is not a deal-breaker when it comes to friendship. They may not see it that way either, but when they jump my shit I sort of feel like they are drawing a line in the sand. I just want to avoid the conflict.

On the flip-side, I have been getting to know even more of my classmates. One couple, who live together and are both 1L, came by this weekend for game night. It was one of the funnest nights I've had in a long time. We laughed until we cried and it felt awesome. I took a few hours today to do reading for Contracts and Torts, which are the only two classes I have tomorrow. I could go even further and prepare for some of Wednesday, but I'd rather do it during my super long break tomorrow.

I even took some time and watched The Paper Chase today. People had warned me not to, but I've decided I'm quite capable of resisting outside influence regarding my own stress levels. I enjoyed the movie, and I don't feel more intimidated at all.

I feel (at the moment) like I'm getting into a good rhythm. I am still a semi-zombie by the end of the day but that is more due to over-stimulation than stress (yes, something my toddler and I have in common.) I know things will change when my Methods paper is due in October, but for now I'm feeling pretty good.

One more thing, I've been suckered into running a student club. It wasn't on purpose, and it will be super low commitment, but I have to do some initial paperwork to get funding. I'm still debating if I care enough to do that. It's a monthly activity for student parents and their partners, so it's not that big of a deal. I was going to name it PALS (Parents Attending Law School) but someone took the name already (Persians Attending Law School) so I'll have to come up with something else.

I may skip the formalities altogether and just have people pay their own way for activities (or only do free ones) but it would be nice for the school to kick in some cash for a party or two. We'll see I guess, I have one month to submit paperwork.

So that's what's up with me. I have some great stories on the backburner, and once things die down I will let you all in.

I feel guilty for making fun of SOT. However, his behavior the other day was exceptionally egregious. More about that later.