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“Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.”

4 Jul

And herein ends both my legal and blawging careers, before they’ve even started.

I will not be going to law school this year, nor, probably, in any future year. For a myriad of reasons, encompassing the practical to the temperamental, I’ve decided that lawyering is not for me, and I’ve found my way to a different professional track. I’m fortunate that a few months of soul-searching resulted in finding a job that I love, but letting go of the law school dream was one of the hardest things I have ever done (obviously, I have not had a terribly difficult life).

So if any of you are on the waitlist at the University of Virginia for the Class of 2014, perhaps you are one spot closer to making it in. You’re welcome.

I’ve been blogging (yes, regular blogging) elsewhere about normal people things (read: non-law school). Maybe I’ll come back later and link to that blog, because I get way more site visits here than I am over there. Probably because everyone involved with the law is neurotic and obsessive and prone to reading the blawgs of people who have no idea what they are talking about (me).

Anyway, I’m signing off. And if you ever need a reason to avoid law school, look no further than Oscar Wilde’s stand on arguing.

I’m just trying to be normal, OK?

17 Feb

I’ve been having the most bizarro dreams lately. I totally think it’s because I’ve been such a mental freakshow for the last month. A few nights ago, I woke up like, eight times and every time I woke I had been having a different dream. Tres uncool. And then, of course, I’d wake up for realz at 7 AM and immediately start thinking about law school. So that’s not positive.

What is positive is that I’ve gotten a better hold on myself over the last couple of days. What that means is that I’ve stopped (a) crying more than once a day, (b) leaving work just after noon to go home and spend time inside my head, and (c) putting ridiculous amounts of junk food in my mouth while also not working out.

All of that is good stuff. What is even better stuff is that I’m starting to get perspective on my to-law-school-or-not-to-law-school dilemma! I don’t have a decision yet, but I can see it off somewhere in the distance, vaguely coalescing into something determinative. So that totally deserves a high five, mirite?

In the meantime, while I’m waiting for my decision to make itself known in a flash of blinding light, as I’m sure it will, I’m going to get back into a regular workout routine. I got in the pool on Tuesday for the first time since June, and OMG THE OLD MAN IN THE LANE NEXT TO ME LAPPED ME LIKE 18 TIMES. Old people just dominate in the pool. Maybe it’s because the pool is the only place they can, for the most part, avoid young whippersnappers like myself and they end up being super swimmers. Sorry for ruining your peace, seniors. I know you’re disturbed by my gasping and flailing about as I try not to drown, but I promise I’ll get better. Like, soon.

I’m also going to read more non-law related books (like Anne of Green Gables) and play more video games (Chrono Trigger, anyone?). This is a recipe for sane decision-making and not going crazy and being, like, a normal human being. If it isn’t, I need (a) suggestions or (2) a life coach.


9 Aug

My best friend is freshly engaged to be opposite married. She and her fiance (!) both hold down jobs (read: have paychecks) and are fully independent.

Because I’ve chosen to prolong my education by three years, and because I’ve chosen to prolong the completion of my education by one year by taking time off between undergrad and law school, I will not be in a similar position for at least four more years.

I don’t mean in a position to be married, exclusively, because that isn’t at the top of my to-do list. But the idea that I could get married if I wanted to, that I would be financially capable of independently running a home and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, instead of being on the sidelines of life as a perpetual student, is definitely appealing.

Then again, what is opposite marriage or financial independence next to the successful pursuit of knowledge, anyway? Certainly I’m taking the path to a higher existence! Right? Right??

The Future Bitter Lawyer?

25 Jun

What is an almost-law-student to do when coming across things like this?

I think I, and most other future or current law students, would be foolish to not consider what truth and universality might be found in lists like this one. As always, I wonder how any of us are really supposed to know whether we are suited to practicing law without having ever actually, you know, practiced law.

Why I Want to be a Lawyer When I Grow Up

23 Jun

What should every aspiring law student know before they start law school?

Well, I certainly don’t know, but I have a vague idea that aspiring law students should know whether they want to be lawyers or not before beginning 1L.

Maybe I am in a minority of pre-Ls, but it’s hard to say if I want to be a lawyer because I don’t really know what lawyers do all day. I have a very strong feeling that I want to be a lawyer, and I am willing to endure three years of law school to become one (because I still haven’t figured out a way around law school). I interned in a tiny law office that did criminal defense (pass) in college, but since I know I don’t want to do that kind of work, I’m not sure it really keyed me into what my day-to-day would be at a firm.

Based on my admittedly slim knowledge of what I might end up doing as a lawyer, this is why I want to be a lawyer:

  • I want to do something that matters to people. Not in the warm and fuzzy sense of saving the world, but just the basic “someone is relying on me” kind of work. I spent all of college writing papers and doing research on subjects that were of absolutely no practical value, and I hated it. No one cares about my literary interpretation of The Tempest. Someone might care about my interpretation of their rights and duties to or from an employee or client. Maybe. If I’m good at what I do.
  • I realize I can do meaningful work without getting a law degree. But I think the law is interesting. I like rules, and I like structure. The law is a pretty big set of rules, and it gives a pretty large society a non-barbaric structure (most of the time). It behooves me to understand the rules so I can play the game.
  • I want to do work that engages my mind every day. Period. I know that part of my work (until I can foist it onto junior associates or interns) will be made up of drafting formulaic motions. OK. But part of Britney Spears’ job is to get on the treadmill every day. There are pros and cons to every job.

I’m also fully aware that the law is a service profession. Good thing I (a) am not socially inept and (b) do not expect to be left alone in my library with books.

Am I missing good reasons for wanting to be a lawyer? If you have some goodies that you used to rationalize attending law school, feel free to share!

Resolutions: 2010

1 Jan

I like New Year’s resolutions. Two years ago, I decided to stop being fat, lost fifteen pounds, and have never looked back. (Except for the three and a half months that I lived in London. I got a little pudgy then.) Before I launch into my (short) list of ways that I intend to be better in the coming year, I think it would be beneficial to consider the year that just passed.

2009 was, for the U.S. as a nation, perhaps not the greatest. Unemployment soared, Rush Limbaugh was sent to the hospital but unfortunately did not kick it, and The Biggest Loser remained on TV. For me, personally, though, not a bad year. In chronological order, the good things that happened to me:

  • I turned 21. Forget that I spent September-December of 2008 legally marinating in vodka in London before returning to the States and turning 21 in January. The birthday was still a milestone.
  • I went on my first cruise. Very enjoyable, and very, very affordable. Especially if you forgo the twelve-dollar cocktails.
  • I spent two weeks in South Korea. It was awesome, and I want to go back.
  • June 2009 LSAT. Yes, it was a good day.
  • Law school applications were completed, and apparently not laughed at and then burned by admissions committees. I’ve been accepted into every school I’ve heard back from, and money has been thrown around. Not bad.

Yes, 2009 was enjoyable. In the hopes of making 2010 as enjoyable, if not more so, I will concentrate on the following resolutions.*

  • Lose five pounds. Accomplish this by recommitting to five days a week in the gym, a balanced diet, and decreased alcohol consumption. Stop losing weight when your clothes begin getting too big. You went on a shopping spree from August to December of 2009, and that won’t be repeated in the new year.
  • Decrease your damn alcohol consumption, VS. Seriously. No joking around anymore. Limit drunkenness to one night a month and glasses of red and gin-based cocktails to three per week (at most). Learn to have fun at college bars without needing to take shots of tequila. Failing that (I anticipate a fail because college bars are a big LOSE), coerce persuade your friends to join you at that fun grad student bar off the square where you can indulge in one of your three libations of the week.
  • Stop being afraid, particularly of law school. Don’t imagine that you are going to drop out (and that if you don’t, you will be a terrible lawyer). People go to law school everyday, and half of them graduate above median! (Ignore the bottom half, for your own sanity.) At least, don’t worry about it this year, as you are not even going this year. Postpone ulcer-inducing panic until at least Spring 2011.

Most of all–really, really, most of all–I want to stop being afraid and panicking about my abilities as a law student. To that end, I’ve made the other resolutions. I think I will be more confident in my law student abilities if I am more confident in my abilities as a human being.

Also, hearing personal anecdotes about others’ pre-law school insecurities is always comforting.

*I believe in keepable resolutions. Mostly because I have every intention of keeping mine, and making a limited number of reasonable resolutions is key to succeeding.

Working Thanks

25 Nov

I depart this afternoon for a wretched relaxing extended weekend with the parentals. There will be turkey and mashed potatoes. (Did you know that college students gain an average of one pound over Thanksgiving break?) There will be extended family, wondering, aloud, why I am unattached. There will be nights spent in my old bedroom, which in the three years since I moved out, has been converted into my mom’s office.

At some point in this melee of fun and joy, I may sit down and consider the reason for the holiday. In the interests of making that exercise as painless as possible, I am making a working list of the things I am thankful for.

  • I am thankful to not be the POTUS. Not that I ever could be, but really. That must not be a fun job to have. It is, after all, a job. Not like what Sarah Palin does all day.
  • I am thankful for TLS. It may have gotten me into law school.
  • I am thankful for my parents. I may not like living with them, or even sleeping over for several days, but they are nice people. I’m not as nice as they are, but they tried to raise me properly, and I appreciate their failed effort.
  • I am thankful for the two schools who let me in before the holidays.
  • I am thankful for Greek yogurt.
  • I am thankful for Black Friday deals. I am in the market for a duvet cover, and Friday will see me out scouring the racks.

Finally, I am thankful for the person who stumbled on my blog with the search terms “vodka intravenous.” High fives to you, sir, for not messing around and simply cutting out the middle men of mouth, esophagus, and stomach.

Altar Rush

7 Nov

I don’t know about you and your real life or virtual circle of  friends and acquaintances, but my circle has been losing people right and left to marriage. No longer are we one circular, kumbaya-esque community. Instead, people are breaking away to pair off and start their own smaller, nuclear circles filled with blenders, bassinets, and mortgages. Every day, Facebook (or the real world grapevine) shouts at me that one or another of the people I graduated from high school with or see semi-regularly at student group meetings is engaged. As mentioned before, even my best friend is teetering on the edge of betrothal. 

I’ve always known that I wouldn’t be married young. In sophomore year French class, the teacher assigned a timeline (written en français, of course) in which each of us would describe how we saw our futures. Mine was filled with educational and professional aspirations, which, at the time, included being a professional violinist and owning a BMW. (The desire for a BMW still stands.) Then I noticed that the other students, even the guys, had included magazine cutouts of brides and grooms on their cut-and-paste timelines. I had forgotten to marry myself off on my timeline. 

I want to be married, eventually. I would prefer to not die alone. I am rather “meh” about children, but I will worry about that later. Now, though, I am so far from anything resembling an extended commitment that seeing other people my age begin to settle down freaks me out and makes me feel très inadequate. Sometimes I even think that I would be OK with scrubbing floors and baking chickens while my husband is out making money.

Then I remember that no one is responsible for my welfare or financial security but me and that I would never respect someone who tried to put me in a kitchen all day (mostly because he would be an idiot for trusting in my culinary skills and would likely die of accidental food poisoning within a year). Then I remember that I haven’t worked so hard at school and at life just to be a happy homemaker whose purpose is to make someone else’s life easier. Then I remember that half of marriages end in divorce and that because I’m just as likely to be divorced as I am to be below median, I should take the same level of precautions (including making my own money) in preparing myself for that possibility as I would in my job search and career planning. 

By the time I’ve thought over the realities of marriage and made comparisons with the life I am trying to make for myself, I don’t feel inadequate. I feel smart for waiting to allow myself, and any future husband, to achieve financial security instead of jumping into matrimony with negative bank balances. Also, I would never, never marry someone before he was able to buy me this:

The One That Got Away

1 Nov

I spent the weekend with my best friend, who lives in Moderate Sized Midwestern City Where Rent is Cheeeeap. She is in nursing school and has an almost-fiance in medical school, with whom she will be cohabiting come summer. 

This afternoon, while Almost-Fiance was hitting the books, she and I took a tour of an apartment complex she is very, very interested in. I understand why. The place was approximately 1200 square feet, two bedrooms, two full baths, walk-in closets, fireplace, and balcony. All for around $1100. While I was reveling in the sunbathed show unit, I suddenly imagined myself married, working 9 to 5, and cooking dinner in that lovely apartment.

Then I remembered that I am going to law school next year (or the year after), and that I will not have a sun-drenched, 1200 square foot apartment with two bedrooms, two full baths, walk-in closets, fireplace, and balcony. I will not pay $1100 a month for a fabulous apartment that I will share with my significant other while we plan for our well-balanced and happy future. Instead, I will have a small, one-bedroom apartment that I will inhabit with my pet fish, Francis. I will probably never cook, nor will I have clothing to fill the walk-in closet that I won’t have because I won’t have time to cook or shop. I will spend my time in casebooks instead.

And when I remember that marvelous apartment, the one that got away, I will cry, creating multi-colored highlighter streaks all over my work.

A Public Service Announcement, Courtesy of VS

31 Oct

There are few things that I am particularly avid about. I’m a believer in a lot of things–the good effects of red wine, for example. But I’m not about to push my enthusiasm for tannins on a teetotaler. I have faith in the positive effects of yoga and running, but I understand that some people think spiritual yoga practice is a crock and that running is bad for the joints, thus neutralizing any of its potential benefits. I have a basic respect for life of all forms, so animal cruelty bothers me, but I’m far from sending my dollars to PETA or other animal rights advocacy groups.

The one “cause” that gets me going, though, and that I will subject any and all of my acquaintances to lectures about, is HIV/AIDS prevention. When I was sixteen, I attended a leadership conference (up there as one of the worst weeks of my life) at which a woman infected with HIV gave a lecture. She didn’t speak about anything I didn’t already know, but for whatever reason, her story sparked an intense fear of HIV in me. Paranoia, even. I’ve spent enough of the last five years researching and studying HIV and new developments in treatment and prevention to consider myself an uninfected but very well-informed lay person. I also advocate strongly for HIV testing.

I have been tested for HIV three times. I don’t engage in particularly risky behaviors; I’m not one for intravenous drug use with shared needles or casual, unprotected sex. I have put myself at a slight chance of infection, though, and because I believe wholeheartedly in “being positive I’m negative,” as the tagline goes, I’ve dragged myself to free testing centers three times to find out for sure. 

And to be clear, being tested for HIV is distressing. Even more distressing is lying in bed imagining your life with HIV because you’ve put yourself in a risky situation but don’t have the nerve to be tested. If you may have been exposed to the virus through unprotected sex (including oral) with a person whose HIV status is unknown to you (or even to him or her), get tested. If you may have been exposed to the virus through shared needles, get tested. Get tested.

The test offered by most clinics and free testing sites is an oral swab that is completely painless and produces results within twenty minutes. This test reflects the presence of antibodies to the HIV virus, not the presence of the virus itself. What this means is that if your body hasn’t had time to produce the antibodies but is infected with the virus, you may receive a false negative result. The average length of time it takes for the body to produce these antibodies is two to eight weeks from the time of infection. Most people have antibodies by the three month mark, but in very rare cases antibodies may not be present until six months after infection. A good rule of thumb is to be tested three months after a possible exposure to the virus and again three months later.

I hope I’ve planted seeds of doubt in your mind regarding your own HIV status. If I have, run out and get tested. In the meantime, here are some helpful and informative websites you may want to explore.

The Mayo Clinic HIV/AIDS site

The Body

The CDC HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet