Pre-1L Gap Year Reading

8 Jun

Among other things, I was an English major in college. (I was also a Political Science major and a borderline alcoholic. Red wine helped me write papers a la Hemingway.) I have read a lot of things I never wanted to read and will never read again. I have not read a lot of things I want or wanted to read because my time was spent reading and re-reading The Tempest. (Three times in three semesters.)

For the next two months while I am an unemployed college graduate, I am going on a reading bender. It started with Lords of Finance, which I recently finished. Having absolutely no background in finance or economics (I read The Tempest three times in college. Do you think I have any affinity for numbers?), some of it was hard to muddle through. I caught myself repeatedly thinking, “OK, so deflation is a general decrease in prices. What does that mean for the real cost of money? Uh…” But the book’s profiling of the major central bankers of the period is very easy to follow and quite interesting. I shouldn’t mind seeing a similar work done about the central figures of the most recent crisis.

I am now blitzing through The Nine, which is easier for me to understand more in line with my interests. The book profiles members of the Rehnquist Court, though it also provides some background for other justices. I am very impressed with the author’s seamless flow from one story and anecdote to another while integrating important information about the mood of the country and political movements. Overall, the book is a joy to read. Although I am two years late (thank you, English major, for ensuring that I read nothing of interest in college) and most people who were ever going to read this book probably already have, I feel an obligation to insist that my readers (Hi, Mom! … My mom totally doesn’t read this blog. Nor does anyone else.) pick it up.

End Public Service Announcement.

New Toys: The Fitbit

29 Jan

After a bout with a nasty 48-hour-ish bug over the holidays, I’m down to the weight I’ve always thought I wanted to be. I’m still not thrilled with the way I look, particularly in the belly region, and so I’m trying to step up my workouts and cut back on some of the bad foods I love to eat.

Actually, I’m not working very hard at either increasing my workout intensity (or even consistency), and I totally ate a bowl of German Chocolate Cake ice cream last night.

I’m just lacking motivation. Maybe it is the frigid weather.

In any case, this looks so totally cool. I’m seriously considering buying one. Mostly to track my sleep habits. I am obsessed with sleep (primarily with the idea that my quality of sleep sucks), and I think this might be a neat way to also get my calorie consumption under control again.

It could also be a total sink of one hundred dollars. I’m on the fence.

27 Jan

I got into CLS today.

I think it is a fluke, and I’m terrified that when I withdraw and reapply next year, I will not be so lucky.

The Hold

7 Jan

The BlackBerry buzzed. I glanced at it nonchalantly, expecting more Kerasotes Five Buck Club reminders (No, thank you, Kerasotes. You drive a hard bargain, but New Moon once at full price was enough.). I saw, instead, an email from Harvard. A quick skim resigned me to my waitlist status–but wait! File updates and supplements? Additional LORs? Not a waitlist–merely a hold! A chance to redeem my whimpering application, terrorized into quiet submission and acceptance of its mediocrity by the hoards of Admits’ sparkling resumes and witty, yet on-message, personal statements!

Yes, I have been held for re-consideration until Harvard reviews more of its applicant pool, at which point I will be admitted only if no one better comes along. I will play the game, submitting an updated resume (that is still lackluster), updated grades (honestly, one of the strongest parts of my initial application in the first place, so little bump to be had here), and perhaps an additional LOR or two. To not do these things would be foolish.

I do not have great hopes for a Harvard admit this year. However, this year’s hold gives me reason to hope for next year’s cycle. My numbers will be the same, my GPA possibly even on the other side of 4.0. I know that my numbers are not holding me back; it is, instead, my lack of “soft” factors. Harvard’s willingness to hold my application now, with my less-than-stellar softs, suggests to me that a beefed up resume and improved personal statement may land me a coveted spot in the Class of 2014.

This hold, rather than disappointing or saddening me, makes several decisions that I have been struggling with much easier to make. Because I’ve firmly decided against attending law school in the fall, rather than be forced into picking a school now and deferring, I have the confidence to withdraw my applications, re-apply next year, and believe that I have a fighting chance at HLS.

This is the best thing that has happened to me all year (one week in)!

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.

See VS Deliberate

21 Dec

I am notorious among friends and family for simply not speaking when I don’t have anything worthwhile to say.* I am not one for talking just to hear myself talk.** Hence, I am a terrible blogger. I never have things to say that I think will contribute in a meaningful way to your (Readers? Are you there? *cricket* *cricket*) day, law school application process, or hunt for a new spin on a classic vodka sour.

So, today, I have nothing that will contribute in a meaningful way to your life. But I do have a dilemma that has been weighing on me for a couple of weeks, and because my friends and family think I have stumbled upon a golden goose with my law school acceptances and don’t engage me in serious, deliberative discussions of my post-undergrad options, I am turning to teh internetz for help. (Ack!)

In the interests of full-disclosure:

  • I don’t want to go to law school next year. I am not going to law school next year. I am burned on school, and I want to be energized and happy to be at law school when I am there. Going in with lukewarm feelings toward marathon study hours is a guaranteed recipe for below-median 1L grades, at least for this 0L. For my long term success and sanity, law school in Fall 2010 would be a harbinger of doom.
  • “What will VS do in her year off?” you ask? I hear there is a  buck to be made feeling of accomplishment in turning tricks joining Americorps and living at the poverty level for twelve months. Because I’m not sure about BigLaw in any case and might end up doing public interest work, I think spending time working in public interest organizations will give me the background to make that decision when the time comes. At least that’s what I’m telling anyone who asks why I want to live on 10K a year.

That, dear readers, is more or less the situation as I see it. I don’t want to go to law school next year –> I am not going to law school next year. Now, let’s discuss the wrenches that have been thrown into my fairly simple plan of “not going to law school next year,” beginning with the deferral/withdraw and reapply dilemma.

  • My original plan was to get in somewhere awesome (NYU), turn down the money they didn’t offer me, and ask for a deferral, thereby securing my spot in the class of 2014 and gallivanting off on my year of poverty knowing where I would be the next fall. Now, having added a couple of soft factors to my resume, I wonder if I wouldn’t have a shot at Harvard if I reapplied next cycle.***
  • My original plan was to get in somewhere awesome (NYU), turn down the money they didn’t offer me, and ask for a deferral, thereby also turning down money offered me by lower T14s. Now that a lower T14 is dangling a large amount of money in front of me, I wonder if I would be an idiot for turning it down. This also throws a wrench into my year-off plan because it is unlikely that, even if I took the money over NYU, the scholarship would be deferred, also. So not only is this a “T14 w/ $$$ vs. NYU” question, but it is also a “T14 w/ $$$ this year, ruining my carefully laid plans for a much-needed break from school and thus jeopardizing my long-term success and mental stability for a lot a lot of dollars vs. NYU” question. Money makes people do awful, ugly things.
  • My original plan was to get in somewhere awesome (NYU), turn down the money they didn’t offer me, and ask for a deferral, barring an acceptance into a minority internship program that requires I run off to law school immediately following the summer of the internship, in which case I certainly would have taken the internship and become a member of the NYU Class of 2013. Now, I am considering withdrawing my internship application and reapplying next year. This is actually a simple question for me to answer, once I have my decision in place re: T14 w/ $$$ this year, NYU next year.

So. My options, in the most pressing and cascading effects order:

  1. Your classic money versus ranking scenario. My inclination is to take on 200K of debt and move to New York, especially if it means I can take a year off. But I should also mention that there is a slight chance of getting my merit aid deferred at the lower T14. I’m making the phone call this afternoon. If it is deferrable, then my question becomes more complicated. Take the money and also take a year off, or turn down the money, take a year off, and move to New York in 2011?
  2. Take neither the money nor a deferral and simply reapply, holding out for a Harvard or Columbia. This is not really the path I want to take because I don’t want to do the application process again. That said, I will, in all certainty, do this if I don’t end up with impossibly compelling options this year (e.g. if I hate the schools I’ve gotten into this cycle) and decide that I stand a better than fighting chance with an updated resume.
  3. Re: the internship. I can withdraw my application now before they send out interview invitations (I am fairly certain I will get one. I am also certain they will laugh me out of the interview. Realism, FTW!) and reapply next year. If I go on the interview and through a freak of opportunity do well and get accepted into the program, it will be impossible for me to turn down. I will end up in school next fall (likely at NYU, due to the prestige-whoring of the program), which is precisely where I do not want to be (in school in general, not at NYU in particular). I’d like to withdraw my application now so I don’t have to turn down an interview offer and just reapply next year without the tarnish of having rebuffed them this year.
  4. And of course, there is the withdraw and reapply option and the possibility of being offered scholarship money again next year. Is that likely? I have no idea. Thoughts?

I am, of course, making the assumption that I have already gotten the best acceptances that I will be getting this year. I also haven’t visited any of these places, yet. Even missing pieces of the puzzle, I am starting to see a picture taking shape. It does not involve VS in law school next year. I know that I am getting the chance to make decisions between very phenomenal options, and I am thankful that my hard work has paid off. Stupid economy–if you hadn’t tanked, I’d happily defer at NYU with no money and still sleep easily at night.

*Call it circumspection. Alternatively, you could call me out for simply never having anything worthwhile to say.

**Cue guffaws of disbelief. “‘Not one for talking just to hear myself talk?’ says she? Posh! She writes a personal blog, the most self-adulating form of written communication!”

***A girl on LSN with my exact numbers (and not wildly game-changing softs) got in this cycle. If I improve my resume and PS, I think I’d stand a fighting chance next year. Maybe not a great one, but there is a chance.

6 for 6

14 Dec

More good news today. Two sets, actually. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately, I suppose), I’ve already gotten into one of my top, top choices, and that renders all the other good news more or less moot.

I’m getting greedy, though. I want a CC to add to my “Accepted” list on lawschoolnumbers.com.

Pre-Christmas Gift

7 Dec

Big purple envelope in the mail today.

See VS Whine

4 Dec

The good news has been trickling in slowly, but at least it is coming in. I received a “Good news! We want you!” phone call yesterday afternoon from a school that wasn’t really near the top of my list. Then the “Good news! We want you!” phone call turned into a “Good news! We want you! And we are about to give you dollars! Lots of dollars!” phone call, and I began seeing hearts in my eyes.

I have lived a fairly financially comfortable life, which has been underwritten entirely by my parents. I received scholarships to undergrad, so I’ve spent the last three and a half years floating around, taking classes for free. The concept of debt is very foreign to me–or was very foreign to me until I began the law school admissions process. Now I realize that ten thousand dollars is a lot of money. It is, in fact, ten sets of one thousand dollars, which, in turn, are ten sets of one hundred dollars. One hundred thousand dollars (times 1.5, taking into account potential cost-of-living expenses) is a lot of one hundred dollar sets. This is put into perspective when I consider how much Redken All Soft conditioner I could buy or how long I could pay for my BlackBerry data plan with that much cash.

While I may have thought when beginning this process that I would go where my heart led me, my heart is mostly leading me to follow the green. This, of course, raises the eternal debate about ranking, job placement, LRAP, etc. vs. scholarship dollars, and I do not have answers to those questions yet. Undeferable scholarship money also puts a damper on my plans to take a year off and learn to be a real person before law school.

The “Good news! We want you! And we are about to give you dollars! Lots of dollars!” phone call has quickly become a weight on my shoulders, killing all of my plans for next year and hindering my already hobbled decision making skills. I should be thrilled, and mostly, I am. Maybe the best thing for me to do now is focus on the immediate future, like finals and a literature paper that is not writing itself. And, on the bright side, I will now have further ammunition to use against pesky relatives at Christmastime.

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.