Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy, happy, joy, joy

I am thankful that I don't care any more. I am thankful that I am not that poor 1L that had a meltdown in the library. I am thankful that I am not cooking anything for Thanksgiving and instead having lunch at a neighborhood bar. I am thankful that my cats are total loons and incredibly entertaining. I am thankful that I had enough money this month to send the dog to the sitter. I am thankful that we got a fantastic deal on a weekend stay at an awesome hotel.

I hope everyone out there has things to be thankful about.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Employment numbers - Law School Edition

There is no where that you can find the break down of employment numbers from universities (that I can find). I cannot believe that I didn't look at this prior to going to law school. I merely looked at the employment rate and thought "gee, that's pretty good." Oye, what an idiot! So bartenders count? Yep. How about housecleaning? Yep. Anything that you are being paid for counts as employment. Isn't this skirting the edge of fraud? I mean, when people look at these numbers, aren't they assuming that it's LEGAL employment? Shouldn't there be a warning label of some kind?

What can be done?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is it possible

that I am just not going to be happy until I graduate? I think that's the issue. I need to get out and get back to the workforce. I think the three years of not going to work is wearing on me. I know that there are numerous unprofessional people in the "real world." But I can handle that. Working around people is fairly easy. Adapting to others is also fairly easy. What I hate is the competition that is meaningless. Okay, some may say that I hate school because I wasn't as successful as others. And on some days, I believe that. But then I look back to when I did well in school (Ph.D., etc.). I hated school then.

I can't wait to get out. And if ANYONE ever suggests that I go back to school, I am going to hit them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So much for the Happy Post

Crap, crap, crap, crap. Everything is happening so quickly. And because my emotions seem to be right on the surface, I am oscillating between happy and sad in split second increments...

Accepted to take the Patent Bar Exam...Happy

Having to study for the Patent Bar Exam...Sad

Hearing that we might get help on buying a house in new state...Happy

Hearing that this is not set in stone and not really "real"...Sad

Hearing that houses in neighborhood are selling quickly...Happy

Hearing the prices the houses are selling for...Sad

Hubby finding jobs in new state to apply for...Happy

Hubby deciding that he has to stay here for a while b/c of house...Sad

Get assignment done...Happy

Realizing write-up is, well, crap...Sad

Mix it all together and what do you get? A 42 yo, 3L that is about to burst into tears at the slightest provocation. So much for me being tough...or happy...hell, or sane.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Happy Post

I walked the dog for almost an hour this morning and feel good. It always amazing (yes, I am a slow learner) to me when exercise can cause a distinct shift in attitude.

So today is the Happy Post (or Grateful post):

1. I got my oil changed, radiator flushed, and window wipers replaced yesterday. Non-squeaky wipers - happy.

2. We went to my favorite Indian place last night and the service didn't suck - very happy.

3. I made dining reservations for our Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza - giddy.

4. Law school doesn't seem so daunting today. I still have 2 major papers and multiple exams to contend with but I feel better about the stuff I am doing. One of the papers is important to me. The other is starting to seem much more interesting. And I see myself improving in another class. Happy.

5. I started Weight Watcher's and weighed in at less than I thought I would - ecstatic. I ate healthy for most of yesterday and started today with a bowl of oatmeal - feeling good.

All in all not a bad week. Rough start because my black moods are intrusive and overwhelming. But I am using cognitive therapy techniques to readjust my thinking. For instance, I had fat dreams all last night (people laughing and making rude comments). I have these sometimes and wake up feeling very low. But today, I threw off the covers, put on sweats, got the dog and walked for a long time. Cleared the head.

To all those out there that are struggling with negative feelings stemming from LS, I don't have any good advice. It's all been said. But I hope that you can find something that will get you through this. From now until graduation, I am going to try (I said try, dammit) to keep a more positive spin. Mom always said to fake it and maybe it would happen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Misery of Law School_What does it say about our choices?

I know that I am tired of LS. And I could point to a thousand problems with the way LS is run, from career services to fostering negative competition (I don't care what they say). Added to that, I am tired, bitter, and a little cynical about the whole experience. And I am not alone, given the recent spate of blogs discussing this topic. So what does this say about our choice to go to LS.

I'll admit it, I question my choice to go to LS almost everyday. I know numerous second career folks that do the same thing. We look back on the career we had and suddenly it seems bright, beautiful, interesting, and heaven. To counter this, I have developed a set of index cards that includes every reason I left my last job. It helps on the regret. But what it doesn't do is create reasons to love LS.

Is this simply November? Exams around the corner, projects coming due, work still there, Bar stuff, PTO exam, and on and on. Is it simply that the work never seems to end? What causes people to begin to hate that thing they thought was so precious? And, ultimately, is there something that we, as students, can do about it. I am flummoxed. I try to exercise, sometimes eat right, keep this journal, etc. But most of the time, it still doesn't work.

And then we fall into wondering "If I hate it now, will I hate being a lawyer?" Do feelings in LS transfer to the actual career? If you begin to think about going in a different direction, is that legitimate? For some that struggled with the decision to go to LS or grad school, that seems definitely legitimate. But, take me, for example. I spent all summer after my first year creating a business plan for a cafe (there is this awesome building in my neighborhoods). Is that a legitimate new direction? Yeah, not likely. But a lovely fantasy to engage in when I am in Tax.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Most Awesomest Birthday Present Ever!

Over the bday weekend, I did nothing except take the MPRE, study, and write parts of a paper that I have been putting off...well, forever. I then asked my husband for a tiny birthday present. He says to me "Sure, go ahead."

So for MY birthday, I am getting a cleaning service in on the day before Thanksgiving to clean my house AND steam clean my carpets. Sing it with me "I feel pretty, Oh, so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isn't me tonight."

Right this moment, I would scoff at luxury vacations and diamonds. My birthday present is, without a doubt, the most awesomest ever! Not to gloat or anything :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hitting me that I am amost done

It was the MPRE that did it. I could fail and take it again in March, but the taking of it marked a passage into lawyerhood. I will be judged as ethically enough. The funny thing is, if I fail, it's because I am too ethical (thinking I must do something when I only have the option to do it).

Thank you MPRE for helping me realize that one day soon I will be a real attorney. Now my thoughts are consumed not with up-coming finals or projects, but rather with client meetings, moving into a new house and office, getting up for work instead of school, and all of the other things I look forward to instead of studying. The closest thing I remember from my last profession was defending my proposal during third year of grad school. This is way better. This is definite mark. No more, if. It's now officially in my head of when.

It's a shame that these tests don't come earlier in one's schooling. Because, for me, it creates a sense of relief. I am in law school, but it is a finite time. In second year, if I had been able to take the MPRE earlier (maybe I could have), then I would have felt that everything was more concrete, much less esoteric. That may not matter for some, but after spending so much time agonizing over whether I made the right decision, a little concreteness would have helped.

So to all those out there that have this step out of the way (theoretically), let's celebrate the milestone. We are so close to being finished and for our "lives" to begin, that we can now see the finish line. I will miss law school and the fact that my decisions on hypos affect no one. But I won't miss the constant second-guessing my decision or wondering if I should take a course or worrying about impressing my profs. I will be a "Real Man of Genius."T

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Eating my own words

I guess Sunday all day is out of the question. So instead, we scheduled a 3 day weekend vacation for Thanksgiving weekend. Until then, I will work so I have that 3 days.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Beating Burnout

Yes, it's that time of the semester kiddies!! The time when every deadline looms near and the minor freakouts come more frequently. Burnout is the unfortunate result in most cases.

What is burnout? Burnout is both mental and physical exhaustion that leads to very bad things. It begins with a dragging feeling, although that indicates you are well into burnout phase. Work seems bigger, more onerous. Soon, everything, even pleasurable events, are harder, both physically and mentally, to get through. You put things off, things take longer than usual, you wake up feeling tired no matter how much sleep you had, and, ultimately, you begin to feel defeated or even hopeless.

If you don't think you have ever experienced burnout or think it won't happen to you, check your mental responses. See how tired you are day to day. Get 8 hours of sleep a few nights in a row and see how you feel when you wake up.

I am obsessed with recognizing burnout. I spent years in my last career in burnout mode. It took me weeks to get out data for something that should have taken days. Months for get it. And I didn't recognize it until my first year of law school. I thought I was just slower than everyone else. Truth was, I was exhausted. So my first summer, I took about a month and did absolutely nothing. And slowly I came back. I still have to monitor myself, but I am much better at recognizing the signs.

Luckily for you (and me), Fearfully Optimistic has provided a link to short-circuiting burnout. And if you don't think it's important, numerous studies show that burnout has a huge effect on GPA. If a person is not mentally prepared during the exam, that person is going to miss things. Go ahead, ask me how much my grades improved after taking time off. Yeah, they were second year classes, but they all had a stiff curve.

So as I see myself beginning to slow down on work, taking 2 hours for writing one page instead of an hour, etc, I know it's time to do something that seems absolutely inconceivable to the average law student. I will cut back. This Saturday is the MPRE. So Sunday I will stay home and relax. Yeah, I will have to come roaring back on Monday. But because of Sunday, I will come back!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Coffee shops

I love coffee shops. I love coffee. But unlike every other person I know, I can't work/study in a coffee shop. It sucks. But I get way to distracted by everything going on around me.

1. Heavenly Daze - too intense. The law students there are simply far too studious. The groups really study, they aren't gossiping about anything. So I can't concentrate because the people around me are intensely talking about cases from first year. No thanks.

2. Starbucks (anywhere, but especially Barnes and Noble) - too many "writers." They sit at their table, surrounded by books they will never buy, periodically tapping away at their laptops. And they are writing. Sort of. Then they look up to check out the crowd. Okay, I am completely cynical. I assume they are checking to see if anyone is watching them write. Can't concentrate there because I am making up conversations ("Oh, yes, this new novel is about the death of man, death of society." "Really, sounds fascinating. My new character arc is taking me so many new places.") I know, I am catty. They are probably good people trying to break into an impossible field. But my thoughts are far more fun than Tax.

3. Wilde Roast - all time favorite place. Great food, fantastic coffee, and fun conversations to listen to. That group is discussing biofuels and organizing a new symposium. That group is discussing human rights issues and gay marriage (eck, I want to interject a legal argument. that's how crappy my thought processes are). That group just came out of the bookstore next door with an armload of homosexual erotica and are now critiquing it. How can anyone ever read through Tax with that in the background.

And I can't even study with music. So I resort to earplugs and then folks look at me weird because I have these huge orange things sticking out of my ears.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Call it anything you want...I got senioritis.

I laughed when I heard 3L's talk about it. Seems silly right? We are all grown-ups here?

But I try to put in the hours and I find myself staring at this stuff thinking, I am never going to use this (I know that now) so why do I care so much. Is it noble to study for the pleasure of learning? I am winning zero nobility awards.

Back to Tax. Yeah, right. What's on Hulu?