If the title didn’t make it fairly obvious, this has been an interesting week.
For starters, Spring Semester has er.. started. In classic fashion, it took less than one week for me to become overextended and borderline in an anxiety-breakdown. My blog has had a bit of a “whiny” vibe to it lately, which I don’t exactly like, but things have been kinda stressful, so my blog is just a natural reflection of that. It also helps me to compartmentalize things by listing them out. So, here is the order of things I am going to complain about as far as the spring semester goes, just so you can properly brace yourself for the ample amount of QQ that is about to follow.
1. Fall Grades
2. Spring courses
4. Possible Editor Position
5. Returning to my SPO
On the fourth floor of Langdell Hall, the law school’s library and general pit of Hellish despair, misery, and 100 octrillion-zillion words of law. But the building is pretty.
So, Fall Grades came out on Tuesday (which was a snow-day, but more on that in a bit). I’m not going to get into specifics. But I will say it was a mixed bag. I had one grade I was really happy with, one grade that I was disappointed with, and one grade that was bad but expected. All in all I came in one grade shy of where I wanted to be. So while it could have been better, it could have been a lot worse, especially considering my educational background vis-à-vis my peers.
And that is all I have to say about grades. They were not crushingly depressing, nor joy inducing. They were just “ok.” For this new semester I hope to bring them up to my goal.
So my spring course load is, on paper, slightly lighter than the fall semester. Notice I said “on paper.” In reality, this semester is going to be very, very, busy. In fact, if the first week is going to be any indication, I now understand why the ABA makes me sign a thing saying I won’t work more than some miniscule amount of hours in an outside job during the semester. Of my classes, there is only one that actually seems like it is going to be really interesting, and that is of course my elective. Two other classes, Criminal Law and International Law and Human Rights could have been good, but they were pretty much devastated by the professors being HORRIBLE cold-callers. I’m talking, a constant stream of harshbrowns that never stop flying at your face. Plus, the Human Rights professor assigns an INSANE amount of reading.
Now, I must stress this. There is “INSANE” reading for the rest of the world, then there is “INSANE” law school reading. Let’s just put it this way. I would feel safe saying that I read more for one class than most undergraduate students read in 1 entire year of school. I don’t mean how much they are assigned, I mean how much they actually read. I was an honors student in history as an undergraduate. I am no stranger to reading. But this amount of reading is just mind-blowing. In fact, I cannot do it. I have to “intelligently skim” to have any hope of even grasping the 100s of pages we are expected to have on the tips of our tongue.
Point being, my reading load is worse this semester. Then, two of my classes now require essays and giving speeches. Which just adds in to everything else. Of course there are exams waiting at the end, as usual.
Legal Research and Writing (LRW)
I give LRW its own place on the list because LRW is the 10th circle of hell. For all the complaining I did about LRW Fall Semester and PSW, this is literally the worst its been. The ENTIRE SEMESTER (not just three weeks like PSW) is a partner project. Yes. Entire. Semester. You not only have to write a brief (which is not actually brief, as in length, trust me) you have to do freaking moot court, as in oral arguments in front of judges, 2 vs 2. This blows. You know why? Because it means you have to work with an ultra-striver who wants to get everything done (and receive a perfect score, no less) about 300 years before its due. This is in complete and utter contrast to me, who is much more chill about this whole law school thing. To make matters worse, you share a grade. So, my relatively blasé demeanor clashes heavily with their “MUST BE PERFECT ANYTHING LESS THAN DEAN’S SCHOLAR IS SUICIDE” mentality. In other words, it sucks, it all sucks. I hate LRW. It is, by far, the worst class thus far. What is great, is that most law schools only have one semester of it, and ITS NOT GRADED. But nope, I was stupid and went someplace where its GRADED and ONE YEAR LONG. I’ll close by saying that you should probably just brace yourself for me to be bitching about this class until May.
Possible Editor Position
I was extended the offer with my journal to become a Line Editor. Which is basically the next step up the totem pole. On the surface this is a good thing. It means more experience, and more importantly a better line of your resume than just “Staff” or “Subciter.” Of course it also means a lot more time. If you’ve been reading up until this point, you’ll know that I don’t have much of that. I ended up telling them that I would do it if they were short a Line Editor for whatever article I get assigned to. I should know on Monday if I am now a Line Editor or not. Honestly I’m fairly ambivalent about this. If I don’t get it, that’s time saved and I will just remain the bottom man on the totem pole. If I do get it, it will be kind of cool to say I’m an Editor, even if I am the lowest-tier type of Editor.
Returning to my Student Practice Organization
If you’ve been reading the blog for a bit, you’ll remember that I was less than pleased with the administration of my SPO. Its a good organization on the whole, but the time requirements and general dictator-like personality of the supervising attorney left me seriously questioning whether I would be returning in the spring, despite being able to interact with clients and serving a good cause. Well, the decision kind of got made for me, which I was not thrilled about. During the “recruitment” event for the Spring semester (basically where 1Ls who didn’t join an SPO in the Fall and who know realize how important they are frantically try to get in in time to put it on their resume) the supervising attorney introduced me to all those in attendance and went on and on about how I did good work (despite this person very much disliking at least the majority of what I submitted) and how I was going to be coming back this semester. My specific team leaders then were all happy that I had decided to come back. The thing is, I never said I was going to. But, in a public setting when your Boss’ Boss, and your Boss are told you are in (despite this being an assumption) its kind of hard to back out. Sure, I could, but the power balance is so screwed up here (which is a running theme of law school) that I decided to just grin and bear it. If it wasn’t for the fact that I genuinely feel like I’m doing good work (i.e. not making rich old white men richer) I probably would have said no. I’m just going to pull way back this time, doing nothing more than is required to complete my assigned tasks. I care a lot more about improving my grades and my journal than I do my SPO, especially since I didn’t really volunteer this time. The downside is that its even more of a time-drain on my limited reservoir.
But enough complaining about classes, we’ll have plenty of time for that as the semester progresses.
So if you watch the news at all, you’ll have noticed that the Northeast got a lot of snow last week. Yep.
I didn’t measure myself, but from local reports I think right where we are ended up with around 30″ of snow, possibly a little more. It was a lot of snow, with a lot of wind, really fast. It was another one of my
beloved hated Nor’easters. The good news is, we never lost power. Of course a lot of people weren’t so lucky, several tens of thousands of them in fact. Some of the coastal areas were slammed pretty hard, especially when some seawalls broke. But for us, intermittent internet loss was about as bad as it got. We actually got enough snow that I got a snow-day! Which is apparently a very, VERY rare occurrence for Harvard, whose closure policy was once iterated by a Dean as “Harvard shall close in the event of an act of God, such as the end of the Earth,” and no, I am not joking, that is the exact quote. So that was nice, aside from the Friday afternoon make-up class I ended up having to have. I still have two possible makeup classes hanging over my head as well, not sure when I will find out whether or not I’ll have to endure them. I still really dislike this makeup crap. SB actually had two snow-days, which I am sure she enjoyed as I trudged off into the many feet of snow, wind, and bitter cold. 😛
On the positive side, snow removal efforts are way better out here than I am used to. Heck, apparently you get fined if you don’t clear the sidewalk in front of your home. As a VERY frequently walker, I support that law 100%. Even Harvard seemed to be on top of their game, with ground crews fighting the snow good-fight in a very timely manner.
I suppose when you are used to such snow, you tend to be a little better prepared to respond to it. The downside of the good response is salt and chemicals.
In fact, my jeans feel like they are freaking starched to oblivion because of all the chemicals and salt that are embedded in them, despite multiple surface cleanings with a washcloth. But, I suppose that is much better than slipping and dying a horrible death in the skanky-arse street water/ice pits. I swear, those little “dips” between the street and sidewalk have become my mortal enemy. You never know if you are about to safely step into firm snow, or fall through into icy mud water poison.
The fun thing is we are supposedly going to get like another foot of snow this coming week. But, I tell you what, I do not miss a car in this, despite the difficulty of walking.
This is actually kind of funny. I spent 3 hours on campus today (A Saturday) stuffing letters. Why would I do this you might ask? Well, because I have to. No really, if I don’t do it I get no summer funding for my job. You see, there is this really cool event here at the law school called the “HLS Public Interest Auction.” It raises money each year for those students who pursue public interest (i.e. poverty) rather than corporate work (i.e. 160k a year starting). Harvard is one of the few schools that actually spend quite a bit of money on supporting their PI-focused students and graduates. The Public Interest Auction/Fundraiser is one such way they bring in money. And, if you plan to receive any summer funding (I do), as a 1L you HAVE to volunteer for three hours. Really not that big of a deal considering that you might get up to 5,500$ in funding if you are poor enough (which roughly translates to slightly above a minimum wage job, while your firm-bound colleagues will make about 30k in a summer, lol). Being me, I wanted to get that volunteering stuff out of the way ASAP. So, I meticulously monitored the page waiting for shifts to open, and sure enough once they did I pounced on them. Little did I know that it was on a Saturday, but still, I wanted to get it done. I actually signed up for 4 hours, because the shifts were only for 2 hour intervals (10-12, 1-3, 3-5), despite you only needing 3 hours. Anyways, the gist of it was stuffing letters and forms into envelopes (to both alumni and parents – Hi Meem) asking for donations to the auction or just donations period. There were about 32,000 pieces of paper in total, for about 8,000 letters.
Its funny too, and I think this provides some insight into what people are like here. Remember, this is a volunteer event, sending letters. However, some people became competitive, hording supplies and trying to pack letters faster than anyone. No, I am not joking. There was literally no reason to do this, but they did, because they have to “win” at everything. The thing is, I produced about 3x as many letters as the next fastest person (and trust me, she was not amused by this fact). This is the one time in my life my assembly line skills paid off outside of well, the assembly line. I was roasting those letters, I’d say I was probably up to about 8 letters a minute at my best (keeping in mind they had multiple parts and had to be folded in fancy ways, labeled, and stacked). I guess when you spend a lot of time packaging medical equipment under crazy time constraints the skills transition over to letters. Perhaps this could be a fallback job.
Anyways, the interesting thing is that we grossly exceeded performance expectations. So much so that it was becoming pretty obvious that most people weren’t going to get their 3 hours in because we were running out of labels (which means we were running out of people to mail things too). However, I used some supply strategy, concealed labels, and delay-tactics to ensure that I did indeed get all 3 of my hours in, I was not about to spend anymore time volunteering than I already had, my Saturdays are a commodity. But, it was interesting seeing all the people we were mailing the letters to. There were four piles. “Alumni – International,” “Alumni – Domestic,” “Parent – International,” and “Parent Domestic.” I was assigned to the “Alumni – Domestic.” Since I had to sign a confidentiality agreement (seriously) I can’t say much, but lets just say I sent some very powerful people letters today, haha. Plus, I got in all 3 hours on the very first sign-up opportunity. So while most people will be rushing around trying to get in their hours as the auction gets close, I can just forget about it.
And finally, the best part of the post, the part about food and beer. Since I had a makeup class due to the Blizzard I was a bit later getting home on Friday than I like. But it was SB’s turn to pick and she chose S&S Deli, which we had been to before. Its actually slightly over our price range and the service last time wasn’t great, but this time was much better. I mean, the prices were still above what we normally spend, but the service was much better. SB went with the “S&S Chicken Sandwich – Tender fried chicken, hot, sweet and spicy” and I went with the “Citrus Wrap – Grilled chicken, mixed greens, strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese and tangerine vinaigrette” after debating between that and some clam chowder. Both meals were quite good. After that we bumped over to Whole Foods for some treats (Ice Cream for SB and Tiramisu for me) and then over to the Wine & Cheese Cask for some GLORIOUS BEER. After the first week I was definitely ready for some. However, this time SB was too. She is normally a wine person, but since this is Superbowl weekend she was feeling some beer. So we opted for a 12 pack rather than my standard six pack. I also noticed a special bottle on the way out that I just couldn’t resist, so we left with 13 bottles of beer, rather than our usual six. My excuse is football, your argument is invalid.
Samuel Adams Seasonal Collection
Since this post is getting a bit longer than I anticipated, I’m going to be a little cheap with the Sam Adam’s beers and say that they were all good. Really, the Beer Advocate descriptions are probably just as a good (if not better) than anything I could come up with. I still think its interesting, even as recently as 4 years ago or so I wasn’t really as a Samuel Adams fan, but I’ll be damned if they haven’t grown on me (Partially thanks to FIL and all the Samuel Adams he has generously bestowed upon me). Its especially awesome because I feel like so many more of their varieties are easier to find out here in Boston, for obvious reasons. Right now Samuel Adams and the Brooklyn Brewery are fiercely battling each other for position in my beer world and really the only real sacrifice is that of my wallet and my fatness.
But the four Samuel Adams beers (especially the Lager – since its their flagship) are all fairly “tame” in comparison to Crabbie’s Original Ginger Beer. In fact, Crabbie’s is so weird for a “beer” that neither Beer Advocate nor the lesser-esteemed (by me) RateBeer have reviews of it. I had to venture to the brewer’s website to find much information about it (the rest of what I found was just websites selling it – to surprisingly good reviews I might add). But really, we don’t much care about what others think. I really just link to BeerAdvocate, etc. to provide a bit of a backdrop to my opinion of the beer. This is my blog after all.
So, how was it? Well, before I even opened the bottle I noticed it was from Scotland, the best country on Earth except Murka. So that is a plus. Also, if you are wondering WHY IN THE HELL IS THERE ICE IN HIS BEER!? Good question. But the bottle specifically says that it recommends being served chilled over ice with a slice of lime or lemon. Who I am to question the Scots when it comes to beer? So, I took a drink and wow. Much Ginger, Much Pazazz. SB wanted to try it, and her reaction was pretty similar. I think the best way to think of it is to not to imagine beer, at all, but rather imagine Ginger Ale on steroids. I’m still not quite sure why the ice is needed, but the lemon/lime is clearly to counter balance the “burn” from the ginger. I mean, holy cow, this stuff is REAL ginger beer, not any punanner replica stuff. It actually leaves a bit of a “burn” aftertaste in your mouth, just as if you were actually eat raw ginger. So, on the whole, its not bad, but I wouldn’t go so far to say I’m in love with it either. It does get better as you drink it, that is true, but this is definitely a 0ne-and-done beer. I couldn’t imagine setting around downing these things one after another at the bar. But, I’m definitely glad I tried it and I might get it again in the future, but I do wish the bottle was smaller, I’m not big on “sweet” alcoholic drinks. As far as recommendations go, if you like Ginger Ale and you like alcohol, this would be a hard one to pass up.
Alrighty, I’m going to wrap this up. Its time to go drink more beer and just chill for the rest of the night. After spending three hours stuffing letters, doing some online school stuff, AND doing ALL of our taxes today I feel as though I have done my due diligence for a Saturday. Tomorrow (today, when this is posted) is Superbowl Sunday, which means more beer and hotdogs and homemade tortilla chips and guacamole! We had a bit of a frustrating time with Peapod, from a coupon problem, to a lazy/whiny driver, to items missing, but they still managed get most of the food to us and they did credit us for what they didn’t get (sadly our Dole Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas were one of the missing items, much to Tristen & Valentino’s dismay). But, we still got pretty much everything we needed for the big game tomorrow, either through Peapod or Whole Foods, so I guess we can’t complain too much (other than to their customer service, who SB plans to write to). Regardless, I’m looking forward to some football.
Of course that is only after about 5.5 hours of reading and school work, but I digress, its still going to be a good day, its just not going to start being a good day until about 6pm. I just hope its better of a game than last year and that Daryl 1’s husband Tom Brady ends up losing. Also if the Seapigeons win again then Russell Wilson will have beat two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in a Superbowl, only one of which cheats.
Until next time,