Friday, April 30, 2010

NOW I'm panicked?

Okay, I go all semester with an increasing amount of 3L-itis, the whocares. And now, a week before exams I start to panic? HAHAHA, got ya! Nah. Still can't shake this feeling that in the universe, me doing only okay on my last exams is only marginally above me having perfect nails.

Every now and then, I will have a pang, a twinge, a slight pinch in the heart region. There is something I should be concerned, what is it. Oh yeah, I haven't read for most of my classes most of the semester (slight exaggeration, but without exaggeration, this world would be a truly boring place). Oh yeah, I haven't outlined (that one is true), guess I should pick up a commercial or bug people who have taken this class.

Because, you see class, I checked out. I was afraid this would happen, that I would blow the chance to make a significant dent in my final GPA. I just stopped caring when I hit second semester. It was like I was on a numbing agent the entire time (nope, not even alcohol this semester). Many of my classes were interesting, but when it got time to crack open a book, Lost was on or Glee was starting back. Dinner out with my husband was far more interesting. Dinner watching an old movie, yep I'm there. Going for walks and hitting state parks, yep, count me in.

So you see, I am tired of it all and I just can't dredge up any fear of the unknown any more. Maybe that's what law school gives you, absence of fear. I am tired of being afraid. I hope this carries me through my first few years of work.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

All good things come to an end...

and, thank the gods, so do the bad ones.

No, the blog isn't going away just yet. But I am about to finish law school. That's right, three years of belly-aching, whining, and just plain bitchin' and my reward? A little ole diploma. And if I pass the bar and patent bar, I will be an official lawyer, someone who counsels in the law. If I don't I will have a very expensive mistake on my hands.

Whew, didn't think I was going to make it at times. It's not that the classes were uber hard. It was the mind-numbing avalanche of it. It was soooo much at times. One day, contemplating my books and handouts in front of me, I realized that I had to read (if I, indeed, read it all) over 300 pages for one day (okay, that was a long day and the one class with 162 pages of briefs was the bitter pill). But 300 pages.

And then there was the whole ego crushing thing. I had to realize that (1) I wasn't dumb because my grades were lower than some (okay, most at one time) and (2) it is possible to get a job without law review, competition moot court or other accolades on my resume (okay, I also had the advantage of having a Ph.D.). That literally took 2 years and a job offer to overcome. I am not sure how much I admitted on this blog and to others, but there were times I thought I must be a complete moron. I will be open here and say, with a mite embarrassment, that on those days, I took out my publications from science and my Ph.D. diploma to look at and remind myself, hey, I ain't stoopid.

But the worst part of the whole experience had to be the doubt each day about whether I would even like working as a lawyer. I would bounce along, feelin' fine, when some jackass of an attorney would speak at a student function and either explicitly or implicitly bitch about their job. The hours, the billing, the clients, whatever. And then it would hit me...would I like it and what the hell was I supposed to do if I didn't. I could go back to academics, but not without practically defaulting on loans (unlike other 2nd career folks I have met, I did not just step away from a lucrative job). And then I would imagine my husband, looking at me with disappointment, even horror, in his eyes as I tried to explain that the last 1 year (2 years, 2.5 years) were a complete mistake and yes I know we owe the equivalent of a mortgage now, but I CAN'T DO IT.

What kept me going? My husband's undying love and support, the other bloggers who brightened my day (even if it was just a misery loves company thing), my animals, the people in my class, and stubbornness.

To start with the last one, I believe many people in law school finish out of stubbornness. What else could it be? Part of the puzzle is in evidence after your 1st year (how is my GPA? lousy. hmm). Another piece is evident based on having spent time listening to attorneys (yikes, that sounds really boring). But you push through and start 2nd year thinking, well I don't really know what it would be like as a lawyer. And then, I think people just start gutting it out. I know so many that when asked what kind of law they wanted to do, the answer was invariably, "the one that pays." And that's a HUGE problem. Think of it this way. In graduate school, science or humanities, you get to specialize in what interests you. You can pursue the marketable (some do) but most simply choose their passion and hope for the best. In medicine, it's similar, though I don't have any idea how much money influences most of the students. But in law school, the whole experience is ass-backward. You come in knowing very little about the law (most do). You take the same classes the first year. Then you are given little guidance as to what real law is like. I would love to see a 1-hour first year course entitled "The Law." It would be pass/fail. Each week, attorneys would come in to class from different areas of the law and students would be mock associates (schedule light reading prior to each week for that particular subject). During the time, you would run through an average day. Etc.

Anywhoo. Almost done.