Friday, October 26, 2007

The Stereotype of Law School

It's that its high school. And that has finally come home to me. After having attempted to be very nice to a everyone and try not to feel like the "old" one, a friend has been openly maligned by a small group of 20 somethings. It's amazing what people will say when they think you aren't listening (maybe they think my age has rendered me deaf). The insults include "stupid" "she's [my friend] is at least 60" and that she shouldn't be here.

I am absolutely pissed that I wasn't in a situation where I could beat them up. Physically, I have about 3 inches on the tallest one and at least 5o lbs. Plus, my dad thought it was disgusting the way girls fought (not that I got into fights when I was young), so he taught me to hit properly. I've got a mean right hook.

So I made a comment that let them know that I am not quite the decrepit person they think I am. But I was so angry that was about all I could do. They did shut up, but good Lord, who thinks this way. The woman they were discussing is beautiful and I don't mean that in a "she looks good for her age" kind of thing. When I first met her I thought she was a good 10 years younger than I am. And she is highly educated, worked for years in a position of some status, and is intelligent.

What possesses people to say things like this? Every time my friends have wanted to bash other women at this school for things like the way they dress, how they act, or make disparaging remarks about their intelligence, I take the high road. I remind them that (1) every body has a bad day and will say dumb things; (2) everyone acts a little idiotic now and then, plus some people just don't realize that what they say may be offensive; and, most importantly, (3) I'm not sure that if I was 25 again AND had the bodies these women have, I wouldn't be flaunting a bit. I have tried to vigorously defend the younger women, saying that they are probably really nice people that are a little stand-offish with older women, cause they just don't know what to say or don't have anything in common with us. And we do have friends that are much younger. But I am appalled. And apparently this happens all the time. I thought this was exaggerated for blogs. But it's real and it's mean and it's just people being complete and total jackasses.

Well, I am here to say that if I hear this from anyone, I am going to be speaking up a lot more to them. Screw what they think of me, I won't be bullied or have people speak like that about my friends. I took enough of that kind of shit in high school. I didn't need it then and I sure as hell don't need it now.

The gloves come off.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Stress and Law school

I haven't been too stressed out about school. I admit, I freaked out a bit when I got sick and fell pretty far behind. But I tried to put on a happy face and tackle the backlog, the whole time giving myself ridiculously positive reassurance. This comes from a life time of being a really negative person. I was the cynic, sometimes the whiner, but I could always find the cloud in a clear blue sky. That never worked for me. I have talked about this before.

So today, we got a lecture about how we should not be stressed and if we are we need to get help. Now, I don't want to say "duh" because when someone is in the midst of depression, alcoholism, or any other problem, it is really hard to have any perspective. What I did realize is that I feel sorry for any one in school younger than 28. Aging is crap, but the one thing it really can do for you is to put things in perspective. I realized in that talk, I wish someone had said these things when I was 28 and starting graduate school. What they did say was "hard work is its own reward." What a load of bollocks. Hard work is great, don't get me wrong. I am as Puritanical as the next American. But hard work and the work ethic isn't everything AND it shouldn't be. So if I were giving advice (ask me after this year and grades come out), the very first thing I would say is: "If you are over 28, you likely understand what it means to try to balance life and work. You may not have done it successfully, but at least you know that it must be attempted. For those of you that are under 28, or worse yet, just out of undergraduate school, yes, you have been shocked at the work load. I hear some of you flipping out when others tell you they spent 12 hours in the library yesterday. I have heard you moan that it's just too hard. I want each of you to take a deep breath and think about this for a moment. Do you really need to listen to how other people study? No. Worse, some of those people spent 6-7 hours surfing the web. Some are attempting psychological warfare. Still others don't get it, even after 12 hours in the library. Let that go. Find what works for you. What really works for you. So you think sitting in front of the TV briefing cases? Turn off the TV and ask yourself questions about the case. If you can answer them, great that does work. If not, turn the freakin' tv off..." and on in that vein.

Anyway, I am finally glad I am old.

Oh, 28, 25, 30, doesn't matter. I picked the age that I could point to myself and say, that's about the age I stopped being a dill-hole.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Increasing time devoted to school

I am not altering my schedule to increase time allotted for school. My reading is picking up speed and I think I am beginning to brief faster. But I have to start outlining this week, primarily because I didn't realize how scattered some of my notes have become.

Nine weeks until finals begin:
Week 1: First, catch up from the illness (almost done). Next, go through notes and make sense of them. May need to compare notes with a few people. Finally for this week, set up the "bones" of the outlines.

Week 2: Time to put a lot of time into the outlines. But I would like to see some examples of good ones. I am a little lost at how much information is important, I mean how much info regarding cases do you include?

Week 3: By the end of this week I should be caught up with the outlines and beginning maintenance phase. Of course, the big legal writing project is due sometime around this time.

Week 4: Now is the time to get exams. Not take any, just get them.

Week 5: Have I been using the flashcards? Do I have the flowcharts?

Week 6: Keeping up, doing practice questions, flashcards, flowcharts

Week 7: At some point between 6 and 7 take some practice exams. Then take the answers apart.

Week 8 and 9: Get the outlines into the old memory. Just keep reading, using mnemonics and flashcards.

Exam weeks (we have about 2 weeks of exams).

Whether or not I actually do any of this, I feel better for having put it out there.

Is that stupid?

Monday, October 8, 2007

I tried, I really tried and now I just want to cry.

I got sick on Friday, Sept 28. I spent Saturday and Sunday under a complete haze of fever, coughing, sore throat, and snot. I tried to read. Nothing doing. I did the least amount so I could turn in something. But that wasn't the end of it. Monday and Tuesday, I went to class to simply shiver and be completely incoherent. I then spent the week disintegrating by around 2 in the afternoon until almost the weekend. I couldn't eat. All I could do was sleep.

And now I am so behind. I am a week, a whole week behind in the reading. I feel like I have just royally screwed myself. I tried to read. I would complete the reading and have absolutely no clue what I had just finished. Then I would start over again and try to take notes. It's all gibberish.

It's been years since I have gotten a cold, YEARS. And when do I get one. Now. When I need to start outlining. When I absolutely need to stay current with the reading. I feel so like crying, looking at all of the reading I have to get caught up on. I can feel self-pity roll in, so I will fight it. Skip all TV this week, not do anything other than read, brief and outline. And by Sunday, I may see the sun again.