Thursday, January 30, 2014

I know, I know

So I know that I promised you copious posts. I have woefully over promised. Thus my near two month hiatus.

Reasons are below, but believe me, I completely understand the underlying reason to be that I am a serial overcommitter with horrid time management skills and no follow through on things that are not required. So that thing.

  1. Clinic case blew up
  2. Had a billion things to do
  3. Minor mental breakdown
  4. Second minor mental breakdown
  5. Left for winter break
  6. Continued Clinic obligations DURING break
  7. Returned and had to hit the ground running - thanks law school.
  8. Suddenly decided that my health was a priority
  9. Began teaching yoga again
So there ya have it. I've been horrendous about posting, though I really have no excuse. To make up for it, I give you this: the spiral of the 3L "I can't find a job" freak out.

It starts innocently enough. You're working, it's summertime and the weather's fine, and suddenly they appear. Reminders that you're not working at a firm, that you cannot expect a job offer at the end of this summer you're pouring all of your efforts into, that OCIs are again a thing and you NEED to get your lazy rear end in gear. But you have plenty of time. You'll spend a whole weekend carefully combing through postings and applying and polishing your cover letter, you tell yourself. Before you know it, there's a reminder email from career services announcing that OCI applications and bids close tomorrow at 9 AM. OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD. You firmly plant yourself in front of your laptop after work, drained, but realizing that all of that preparation you told yourself to do never happened. After two hours carefully researching each posting, and determining that there are only 10 employers seeking 3Ls, and only 6 of which you're even remotely qualified for, you scramble to throw together your application materials. You spend way, waaaaaayyy too much time at war with the technology that's supposed to make this whole process "easier," waiting for what seems an eternity while an ms word .doc converts to a .pdf. You look at the clock, which seems to have sped up of its own free will, and it's nearing midnight. You have work tomorrow, you can't stay up all night. WHY IN THE HELL DID I PROCRASTINATE?!? WHY DID I NOT LISTEN TO MY RATIONAL BRAIN? You berate yourself as you hurriedly and somewhat randomly assign bid preferences to the disappointingly low number of applications you were actually able to turn in. Exhausted, you hit the submit button at last. Never mind that you won't remember which applications you submitted come morning, you completed it, and that's all that matters. You drift off into a semi-self-satisfied slumber. 

The next morning you don't remember which places you applied to, you don't remember if you changed the firm name in each cover letter, and you don't remember if you even liked the places you applied, but it doesn't matter. Now the waiting game begins. Feeling infinitely accomplished and adult, you permit yourself to enjoy the next few weeks as you wait. Then that fateful day comes - the employers have offered interviews. You got a decent number, given the not huge number of applications you submitted, and you're ok with that. Next up is the actual interviews. No matter how many times I go to interviews, I can never, never properly prepare for them. So, given that I'm writing this, your imaginary self is woefully unprepared. You march in to your first interview all suited up and raring to go (you had a TON of coffee to make sure you were awake and functional and perky). It is immediately awkward. You suddenly and unpleasantly understand your mistake in failing to adequately research firms. Within the first five minutes you know they're not going to offer you a job or even a second interview, and you're frankly grateful because dear god are these not your kind of people. As you FINALLY leave the room that seems all too small, the painful truth hits you - those were the longest 20 minutes of your ENTIRE life, and they cut it off ten minutes short. The rest are less stilted and infinitely more bearable, but ultimately nothing comes of them. You have now officially entered your final year of law school with no job prospects whatsoever. To be fair, you are a little relieved that you didn't get further along, start counting on a job, only to have them not choose you in the last round. That would suck. You apply to a few more things, always keeping an eye out for anything that might crop up for which you're qualified. There are alarmingly few. In a moment of utter panic, you start considering utterly insane possibilities - à la moving to [name a foreign country] and figuring it out when you get there.

Then you take a break from job applications for a while (because, let's be honest, you were clearly being a crazy person). Problem take TOO long of a break. This creates yet another sequence of the stress of not seeing any jobs for which you're qualified creating more stress over not having a job which creates more stress over the fact that there really aren't that many which creates more stress over the fact that you don't have a job/job prospect...etc. You do the desperate, but necessary, thing. You ask your parents for help. They know people, after all, you assume. By magic (or is still debating this), they obtain two "meetings" for you. You go to the first one. Seems to go alright. Just chatting over lunch with a family friend. But you make it awkward when you bring up the fact that you don't know where you want to work and your indecision has lead you to the utterly insane choice to take two bar exams (you might be a teensy bit masochistic). I mean, sure, you didn't say it like that, but both of you know why you're having that meeting - you need help finding a job. All in all, both meetings are pretty positive, but neither is a job offer. So there's that. 

You near-obsessively track the career center's job postings. There are so many tantalizing opportunities for zero pay. The Constitutional Court of South Africa? I mean, really, how cool would that be? But, alas, you have no money. Earning negative money is not an option post-school time. Reality is a harsh mistress. After cycling through a shame spiral about the meager numbers of applications you've actually completed, you start applying to things. None of it is your dream job, but whose first job is? Against your nature, you become almost irritatingly practical. You start adjusting your spending habits. You start working out. You even start trying to look like an adult every day. Still nothing. This is when you go into another stress spiral. Horrible interviews haunt your dreams like wraiths just waiting to take you to the underworld of endless unemployment. In spite of this, or maybe because of this, you keep applying to things because SOMETHING has to work. It HAS to. All the while, in the back of your mind is that one person who graduated two years ahead of you, who passed the bar...and now works in the customer service industry for slightly higher than minimum wage, using all zero percent of their insanely expensive law school education. That, friends, becomes your nightmare. That is the one reason you press on, you keep applying to all of the jobs that you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting. 

So, friends, that's what I've been doing...I'll let you know if my strategy of throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks works out. For now, I bid you adieu, I'm off to immerse myself in the intricacies of agency rulemaking procedures and how they relate to obsolete issues about railroad boxcars.

I do solemnly swear that I will, if it kills me, write several more times this quarter. So, until next time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why God Whyyyyy?

Here we are. It's about an hour now since I finished my only actual exam this quarter, seven hours since I woke up, ten hours since I went to bed. And I have an hour until I have to be in the clinic office, two hours until my client meeting, three hours until we moot oral arguments. 

Full system report: 
I had a bagel with cream cheese from the cafeteria when I realized I had ten minutes before my exam. I'm working on only coffee number two of the day. I forgot to get Claritin D to combat my sinuses continual adverse reaction to any minor change in weather. Barely had time to shower. 

Word to the wise - when you have a day like this, just avoid mirrors at all costs. I made the mistake of looking in one. Just momentarily. While washing my hands. It was more of a glance than a look. But my god. No way I'm looking in the mirror again today until after I shower, right before I crawl into bed, beneath a giant fuzzy blanket to temporarily silence the shrieking of the stress goblins in my brain.

Well, I have just successfully wasted almost 20 minutes writing this...because that's how slow my brain is moving. Don't worry, the americano I'm downing like it's the very nectar of the gods is slowly rewiring all of the brain circuitry. Back to the tiny tiny print, and my reading glasses, and my internal cursing of each and every single 1L and 2L for their horrid and unwelcome perkiness. If looks could kill, I tell you.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

3L year. Because I Suck at Posting.

So, here it is, heading into the first round of finals for my 3L year. I know I've been out of touch, and for that I must apologize. Clinic took over my life, along with the general apathy and restlessness that the rest of the world knows as senioritis.

We're on day 2 of studying lockdown, and hour the third of actual studying. To be fair, I wasn't just screwing around before then, as you might expect. I found out yesterday that one of my clinic cases has a pleading due in four days....during my Criminal Procedure exam. So, I set to work. The past 48 hours have been a surreal, sleep deprived, stomach-clenchingly stressed out blur. I started writing a motion at noon yesterday. My partner and I had 15 pages by midnight. We spent all of today formatting, cleaning up citations. That is, until we discovered that we weren't entitled to the 12 pages we had the first go-round. Oh, no no. We had to get our justifications for why our motion shouldn't be straight up dismissed out in FIVE pages. Seriously, who the fuck can make any kind of persuasive and valid legal argument in five pages, when the first page is all but useless and you have six sections that are REQUIRED to be in the motion.

WHAT THE HELL ARE OUR COURTS THINKING?!?!? I get that no one wants to read 36 pages of pleadings plus the evidentiary support. No one gets that more than I do. I have previously failed to complete 11 page reading assignments, I truly empathize with your desire to do no more reading than is strictly necessary, but do you really want to read five pages that essentially regurgitate the same argument because there's no space for a new one? Yeah. Didn't think so.

Utter idiocy. Not to mention that I'm rapidly becoming disillusioned with the idea that lawyers working for the government actually do research. I mean, seriously, if you're gonna say an administrative rule is final, you had sure as hell fact check. No one who is an established attorney, and I mean NO ONE, wants to have some unpaid legal interns pointing out to the fucking court that they're just factually incorrect on a number of points. Especially when it says right out in the open, on the administration's website, that no final rule has been made. Get yo' facts straight.

Anyway, enough of that rant, and on to the next.

Our law school is a fairly new building. From the outside, and from all of the publicly accessible areas, it appears to be quite lush and modern. This, folks, is naught but visual trickery. A lot of the stuff was poorly thought out. One full side of the building, for example, is composed of GLASS. Great for when it is sunny outside, but cold; TERRIBLE FOR EVERY SINGLE OTHER TYPE OF WEATHER. It also makes interior temperature control a bitch.

And then we come to their most recent changes. They took away the (teeny tiny) offices of nearly every student organization, citing the need for additional faculty offices. There are next to no windows in the clinical law program office. AND they created this weird glass fishbowl space on the lower level of our bizarrely echo-y library to give students a space to congregate BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE ANY OTHER SPACES. I don't know about you, but I'd love to have a functional space over a pretty space every time. Clearly the dream is to have a space that is both functional and pretty, but here they've sacrificed one in favor of the other. I don't get what they were thinking, nor do I wish to speculate as to why they've made the choices they have. All I know is that we have to live with those choices. I mean, I get that they wanted the library to look modern and bright. Totally get that. Love bright, modern spaces. The problem is that putting thin berber carpet on top of concrete in a large space with a lot of glass and metal means that EVERY SOUND ECHOES because there is no insulation. That, friends, is how to best describe the noise situation in our library.

To be fair, I'm only noticing this now because the noisiest woman in the history of the universe is sitting at the table I'm attempting to study at. Seriously. Dry coughing like every 5 minutes (lozenge....she should get one), and then giggling to herself for NO REASON. Oh, and every time she either decides to study something else or just needs a break she goes into EVERY BAG SHE BROUGHT WITH HER and makes an ungodly amount of noise in the process before scampering off to do whatever it is that extremely noisy people do.

All of this may be symptomatic of the sheer number of hours I've spent in this stupid building with all of these stressed out (yet also inconsiderate) people over the last three to four months. Then again, it could be my naturally curmudgeonly nature eeking through. Either way, that girl should either invest in some tea with honey, a lozenge, or die a fiery death.

Le sigh. Time to get back to crim pro. The stress knot in my stomach and the muddled atmosphere of my brain call me back to it. Trust me, there will be more stress posts in my near future - I have an obscene number of rants saved up.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Run, baby, run

So, I definitely started a beginning of the year post, which I then proceeded to just never finish. My bad. I did also proceed to take a vacation the first weekend back, and then immediately get sick, so there's that too. I still have no idea why law school seems to do that to me.

Anyway, the third year is off to an inauspicious start. There were 4 classes, now there are 3, since my clinic this year is rather more time intensive than my one last year. ACTUAL CLIENTS THAT I HAVE TO MEET WITH, PEOPLE. Talk about social challenges. It is rather a different feeling to have to meet with clients in a clinical law program space that has no windows and feels somewhat more like an interrogation room than a nice "getting to know you" counseling space. Particularly when the clients you're meeting with are predominately young people who have already faced many challenges in their lives. It's also strange to suddenly be put in the place of a real person from whom someone is seeking advice. I mean, I know that theoretically we're supposed to be just about ready to be actual attorneys by now and that meeting with clients is something I should already be used to doing, but it is always always a bizarre feeling. The fact that both my clinic partner and I were sick on the first client meeting didn't help, I'm sure. I stuck with my usual solution: ALL THE CAFFEINE and ADVIL IN THE WORLD. It worked for a couple hours, but utterly tanked my ability to do anything all weekend.

This whole stupid fall transition isn't helping either. The weather is weird, and my immune system is clearly rebelling against the weird weather.

Enough (as the Brits put it) whinging. Words of wisdom: part of making it through law school is learning your limits and accepting those limitations. It has taken me an absurdly long time to learn that. And I'm still not good at it, but it's a huge thing to find that you CANNOT do everything. Even when that means disappointing someone. So far, this has allowed me to sleep hours like a normal person, do a little bit of yoga in the morning (even occasionally meditate!) and eat real people foods (as opposed to just coffee and a handful of almonds on the way out the door)! All good things. AND I even take vitamins now. Lord knows it hasn't helped me from getting sick, but I wasn't down for the count for a month, so improvement?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Word on Studying In Public

You get to hear people say all sorts of profoundly stupid things. Here's a small sampling of what I've heard in the last four minutes:

"Are they dixie cups or pixie cups? I get those mixed up." (Note: there is NO SUCH THING as a "pixie cup")

"So, we don't actually have a water cooler at work, we have this room." (Note: it's called a lunch room. It's common to basically every office environment since ever. Water coolers are not really a "thing" anymore.)

"Can you have wine?" (Asked of a girl who is presumably gluten intolerant. Note: there's no form of wheat and therefore no gluten in wine)


Crunch Time

We've reached the point in time during finals week wherein my brain is half dead, I'm 98% sustained by various forms of caffeine, I haven't been home in almost 12 hours, and I'm bordering on counting down the minutes to the exam that I don't at all feel prepared for. On top of that there's this lovely phenomenon of writing papers for seminar classes. Which is EVEN better when you don't have explicit instructions for said papers. Seriously, none. I had a panic attack in the middle of writing my conclusion when I realized that my assumption that the paper should be 12 to 15 pages was potentially fallacious. I then contacted all of my classmates that I could reach and got back a tentative response that it wasn't a page count, but a word count. And the word count was way more than I had written. But I also had less than zero of an outline for my exam that is in a little over 18 hours. So, I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. All of this is in spite of the fact that I actually started all of the things early this quarter. Tell me how that works?!? Seriously, inquiring minds want to know! I start early and am more behind than ever. I'm screwed. So, I'm at the bottom of the hole and I'm just going to keep on digging.

On the upside, I've made friends with my barista and waitress. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or if it says something questionable about the amount of time I spend sedentary in various establishments. Either way, I'm keeping the coffee industry, streaming music companies, and the maker of Post-Its and highlighters employed. Also, Word is the worst program for outlining, and if I had anything else I'd exchange it immediately.

And there ya go - this is what happens when you're sleep deprived, running on mostly caffeine, cramming for an exam and trying to finish two papers all at the same time. Tonight looks like no sleep for me! Sometimes law school makes me hate my life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Second Thoughts

So that whole "all the caffeine" tactic....might not be the best....part of my brain actually feels like it's vibrating to the beats of the music (that isn't on very loud)....that can't be normal or good. Word to the wise - switch between tea and coffee so as to avoid overloading your system. I didn't follow this sage advice.

Also, dog and/or cat cafes should exist in every city everywhere. Why are they only in Asia?!? Asia has the need for furry companionship on lock. Fix it, America. Fix it.