Tag Archives: law school

2011 in Review

Despite some frustrations and some ups and downs here and there, 2011 was overall an exciting year. I’m pretty sure I’ll look back at this one when I’m older and go “aww yeah, 2011 was the year of awesome.” I have a feeling 2012 is going to be pretty challenging, but I’m looking forward to it and am ready to face it head on.

January started off right with the Crunchies after party at the Exploratorium; there’s nothing quite like unleashing a bunch of 20 and 30 somethings, hopped up on vodka red bull, into a building filled with gadgets, sounds, and all sorts of hands-on exhibits. The other C and I also made it to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the first time and hung out with some grad school friends who visited from TX and Denmark.

February kept things moving with a three week visit from my Northern Irish cousin and one of her good friends. We played tourist, danced the night away at DNA Lounge, gambled our way through Reno, and sat in awe for a three hour long Elton John concert. A friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in forever also visited, which made February the official month for catching up.

In March I ventured over to the UK to visit parents and friends. I also made it to Northern Ireland for my Grandmother’s surprise 80th birthday. Although I was convinced that she had figured us all out, she was completely shocked to see everyone who had driven down or flown over for her birthday.

April was dedicated to wine tasting and Disneyland. I didn’t think it was possible, but the group I went with managed to ride almost every single ride in both Disneyland and California Great Adventure (or whatever it’s called).  Needless to say, I was exhausted and extremely cranky by the end of the day (but it was magical and well worth it).

May was one of the most fun months ever (like omg for srs!). First I went to New Orleans for Jazz Fest, which consisted of a pub crawl from one end of town to the banks of the Mississippi, fried alligator, beignets, and flippin’ sweet music. I later made it to Houston to visit my good friend Sara who was working there as a teacher. I also made it a bit further south to visit some family I hadn’t seen in a while. AND! I met the other C’s parents in Kingwood. Once the great NOLA/TX journey was done, it was time for more wine tasting with the other C’s siblings and a whirlwind apartment search. Somehow the other C and I managed to snag a wonderful apartment right next to Alamo Square.

In June I went to Nova Scotia with my grandmother (the one who just turned 80) to visit her older sister who lived in a nursing home up there. It was a strenuous, but rewarding trip.

July was the month for learning how to become a “hacker.” I took a beginner Java course at UC Berkeley and learned all about loopy things and some other quirky stuff from a professor who showed up with Doc from Back to the Future’s hair and a repertoire of puns related to coffee and Indonesia. The other C and I also celebrated our first anniversary by spending some time on the road and hiking.

August was for relaxing in Colorado and then launching into my first semester of law school at UC Hastings.

In September I thought I’d figured it all out and didn’t find law school all that difficult. Well, it was a lot of work but I didn’t quite understand what all the fuss. Then…

October hit and I understood.

November was for taking take home exams, doing most things at home, and being incredibly grateful for having a caring boyfriend who always knows how to make the anxiety go away. Thanksgiving was the highlight of the month. We hosted it at our place and C’s parents, brother and boyf came over for Apples to Apples, good food, and a whole lot of silliness.

December, or at least the first half, can be defined as ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Exams are terrifying. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve studied for days on end and have read every case and most of the supplement if you get test anxiety. I managed to come out only moderately scathed, partied hard, and was happy to have made some awesome and smart new friends. After collapsing in a heap for several days and playing the new Zelda game, I flew to Cleveland for Christmas, then to Colorado, which is where I am now!

I didn’t make it to any new states or countries in 2011 – in fact, I barely left SF – which is a let down from my yearly goal. However, I got to know my city better and fell even more in love with California than I was before. Will I make it to any new places in 2012? Not too likely. But with some weddings coming up, it looks like 2012 will be even more of a reunion year than 2011 was. And perhaps I can make it somewhere sweet over spring break, like Vancouver or Arizona.



Endurance

It’s all about the race

The more of this semester I get through, the more I’m convinced that law school, or at least the first year, is just one big endurance test, or race. It doesn’t necessarily seem to be about what you know but about who will last the longest. Here is a bit of whimsy from a brain overloaded by contracts.

You start off a little rusty, then you get the hang of things and think you’re going to make it. But then an incline appears out of nowhere and before you know it, you’re out of breath. All of a sudden, you realize this isn’t a simple road race but one filled with obstacles, mudslides, fried computers, and a kajillion twists and unexpected turns. Signs keep telling you that you’re doing great, that you’re almost there, but you find clues and hints here and there to indicate that you’ve still got a long way to go.

You realize that the other runners aren’t necessarily more athletic than you, though some are, but that many are better prepared. Perhaps they’ve figured out what stretches and strengthening exercises they needed to do before this whole thing began. Maybe they began training a long time ago, listened to podcasts, bought the right shoes, or hired a coach. You learn you’re not the worst runner, but you aren’t sure how to keep up with the others who’ve figured this whole game out, or at least act like they have.

So you train, every day. You make sacrifices by forgetting to sleep, to shower, to buy groceries, and remembering to take breaks. When you do sleep, you dream about the race. When you meet with friends, all you can think about is what you should be doing instead. You let it consume you and take over your life. You become part of a fraternal order that is both bound by shared experience and stretched by fierce competition. You’re not sure which of your siblings will give you the wrong directions and which will share their water with you when you’re at your lowest point. Some will remain silent and go it alone – you don’t know what to expect from them. The hardest question to answer is what type of sibling are you? What will you do when decision time comes?

You pause only when your body can’t take it anymore. Or when you realize that there is more to life than just this race. Or, more likely, when you realize that you are simply exhausted and have perhaps exaggerated how bad it really is.

You decide to reengage with friends, family, the outside world. You pick up the news to find out what you’ve missed. You let other people help you and you do your best to thank them.

You smile at the person who is always there for you – who calms you down after every breakdown and moment of panic. None of this would be possible without him and his promise to always smile back. He reminds you that you love the race and assures you that he’ll always be there to welcome you home.

You retie your shoes, focus on the path directly in front, and get back to running.

It’s a part of who you are now.

Affirmations of Life

Boring blog post about nothing in particular because I’ve been a bad blogger

Some days words come without me barely having to put forth an effort and others the mere thought of coming up with a decent blog topic is a challenge. As I enjoy posting to my blog somewhat regularly, I’ve got to push through and allow myself to have a few horrible blog posts.*

I just looked through some older posts, hoping to find a bit of inspiration, and stumbled across my *not* resolution post from the very beginning of this year. I must say, without trying too hard, I’ve done a pretty good job of doing the things I’d hoped to do:

-To get into an awesome law school and to not have that kill me.
So far I’ve only heard from one school and it was good news. It may not be at the very top of my list of where I’d like to go, but it’s decent and they’ve offered me quite a bit of money. Even if I wind up getting rejected from everywhere else I’ve applied, I know that someone wants me. After a year of rejections, it’s nice to finally feel gratified after months of studying, writing, and wondering. Hopefully I’ll hear back from some other schools soon!

-To find an internship and some more contract work.
Sigh. Still have to get cracking on this one. But I’ve been keeping myself busy with Twilio stuff and lots, I mean lots, of guests!

-To design my own website.
This is another thing that’s going to take some time. But thanks to my friend Brendan and a CSS book filled with lots of tutorials, I now have an idea of what this CSS stuff is all about. I still get easily confused but I think I’m just about ready to jump in and try my own thing.

-To visit another new state and country (or international city)-this is pretty much my goal every year.
This one’s going to be tough. Not sure if the country is going to happen as it looks like the rest of 2011 is almost entirely planned out, but a new state could possibly happen. Perhaps I’ll plan an adventure to Seattle before the end of the year!

-To get back into martial arts.
Success! I have joined the Okinawan Karate Club of San Francisco and I absolutely love it. My only gripe is that the only two class times are on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. I’d love a third class on Mondays or Tuesdays! The other people in the club are really nice, they keep things traditional, which means they focus on self-defense and history rather than competition. I have to start as a white belt again though, which is a bit weird since I have a brown belt in my old style, but I suppose it’s good to brush up on my basics.

-To reconnect with other old friends who I have been horrible about keeping in touch with.
I’ve definitely been slightly better about this, but there’s still more I should do. But hey, as I mentioned before, I’ve had a million guests here!

-To properly visit the East Coast.
Still hasn’t happened.

-To keep being happy.
Still doing pretty good on this front!

That’s it for now. I’ve just discovered that there’s an Android app for Words with Friends (gasp! A Zynga product, noo!) so I’m going to challenge a stranger. If you’re on there, you should totes be my friend (username cedickie).

*I admit, there haven’t really been any good blog posts for a while, whatevs!

Sometimes I feel like a boat in the ocean, then I realize there are much bigger things, like giant boats, out there (hey, don’t get mad at me for not making sense, you’re the one that made it this far down the post!).

Eureka! (The Sentiment, not the Californian City)

First things first, mandatory self-imposed guilt trip: I FAIL at reading. I will do better soon! At least I’ve started reading the Economist again, which should count for something.

Now on to the real blog post.

Back in high school I was the type of kid who enjoyed her surroundings and didn’t worry too much about the future. Some of the other students at my school attended college fairs their freshman year, others spent their weekends at debate tournaments, and I did my best to cope with the fact that I was in freakin’ high school. I played between two to three sports a year, took extra classes and invented tutorials for fun, dabbled in drawing, painting, photography, and improv acting, and- perhaps the most time consuming activity of them all, pined over many a boy, as demonstrated by semi-emo, post-midnight poetry scribbled into my diary.

How anyone at the age of 15 or 16 could possibly know what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives was beyond me. I barely knew what I was going to do at the weekend (some things never change). Occasionally my more ambitious friends would pester me with questions about where I wanted to go to college, which would result in my having a minor freakout sesh.

Why hadn’t I cared more about improving my GPA, or joined more clubs, or taken AP lit instead of taking extra electives in Chaucer, Shakespeare, and creative writing (which led to me winning an award senior year in English BTDUBS, bam!), or? Why did other people want to move away from home? Was I really so strange for liking my parents and for knowing that I could obsess over a band and get away with it because I was still a teenager?

The freakouts never lasted long. I’d moved enough times by that point to understand that life’s little bits and pieces pull together eventually, some more easily and quickly than others.

Instead of drawn out plans I tend to have moments. Either I’ll reach a place, read a sentence in a book, or meet someone new and think to myself, “Yes! This is me.” In other words, “Eureka!” There will be much debating prior to the moment, many dilly dallyings and doubts. Perhaps my life could be summarized as the moments and periods of waiting in between.

An example of a moment would be my first experience with Trinity College (Connecticut) where I went for undergrad. During the summer of 2002, My mom and I embarked upon a tour of liberal arts colleges on the East Coast. I still had no idea who I supposedly was (did it matter?) or where I belonged. After one information session after another I quickly determined what I most certainly did not want from a school- a heavy core curriculum? No thanks (isn’t the beauty of liberal arts the ability to choose?). I didn’t want anything to do with Pennsylvania and thought Maine seemed a bit far away from everything. Then we got to Trinity and I had that moment. I fell in love with the campus, imagined myself eating at one of the cafeterias, and wanted to be one of those students lounging on the quad. I figured I could deal with the salmon-colored pants and the pearls as long as I could have an old chapel and a strong history department within a five minute walk from my dorm. As we left I told my mom, “I’m coming back here.” Apparently Trinity felt the same way because I matriculated into the class of 2007.

Do I think I could have been happy at another school? Of course. Did I ever regret the fact that I didn’t do more research about other schools after visiting Trinity or try harder to get in somewhere else? Nope. I never, not even for a second, considered the possibility of transferring. Whenever anyone asks me how I enjoyed it, I always answer that I loved it. These moments of mine are pretty damn incredible.

It had been a while since my last one, but I finally had one tonight. It may involve going back to school again (crap)…and taking the LSATs in October. It’s an idea I’d previously considered but could never commit to. I’d prevented myself from thinking about it since graduating from the LSE because the idea of studying more, and for a long time, is exhausting. But now it’s all I can think about and I plan to hunt it down.

I went to a Trinity careers networking reception this evening and wound up chatting with one of the panel members, who happens to be a partner at a fancy pants law firm in SF. He’d also studied history at Trinity- we’d even had one of the same advisors! Imagine, he experienced one professor at the start of his career and I experienced him on the verge of retirement. He urged me, while insisting that he wasn’t, to think about law and I laughed the thought off instantly. “It’s not for me,” I muttered. Then I went home and realized how wrong that statement was. Maybe it wasn’t for me, once upon a time. There certainly wasn’t anyway I could have handled it after graduating from Trinity. But I’ve since made my way to the (freakin’) LSE and survived. I know I can handle the workloads because I’ve already faced them.

Here are a few reasons this makes sense:

-I get excited about cyber laws and digital copyright.
-I think doing research and writing about it is fun.
-My friends don’t call me “Sassoline” for nothin’- I like to argue.
-Having a background in History of International Relations, Law, and social media, would make me an official badass (international and/or technology law here I come!!).
-I have a pretty sweet memory, which has caused my friends much frustration on numerous occasions.
-I don’t like it when rules aren’t followed properly (i.e. the car MUST be sighted before “shotgun” can be properly claimed).

You may think this is a pretty big decision to have made within a few hours, but remember, once I have a moment I have to give in to its power. The moment never (or rarely) fails. And really, there wasn’t ever so much a question of me not wanting to pursue this but of me not being ready. Now I am.