This post was written last night, which explains why I’m referring to today as tomorrow.
As foreshadowed, I’m done!
Assuming I didn’t fail any of my classes (which realistically isn’t likely considering that the only class I’ve ever failed was the first half of Algebra I) I am now halfway done with law school. While there is no official 2.5L designation, I like the sound of it so I’m going to run with it.
Today I had the longest exam of my law school career (and life) thus far, weighing in 10 hours long. To say that it was not enjoyable would not be stretching the truth. However, now that dust has settled I feel like I did alright on it. While it may well be February (ffs) before I know my grade (for all my classes), this was one 20 page long answer that I am decently proud of. Additionally, in two of my classes I had to write papers and they were (of course) long enough to satisfy the JD writing requirement that Harvard institutes.
So what now? Well, now begins the cleanup phase. This phase entails cleaning up not only my digital computer files and folders, but also my physical files and folders. Most prominently I get to sell my books and recycle my loose-leaf readings. Speaking of those readings, check this out:
Those are my readings for environmental law. So two classes. Two classes out of five. I know each semester I complain about the amount of reading, but it just seems to keep getting worse. And heck, that stack doesn’t even include all my case briefs for the two classes, which would probably add at least another inch or so to the pile. Even though I enjoyed the topics of both my environmental law-related classes, I will not miss this stack of papers – may it go on to become cereal boxes or other various objects.
Other than the cleanup, the “attempt to relax” phase also begins. I say attempt to relax because law school tries oh so very hard to prevent relaxation. In fact, no sooner than 5 minutes after I had completed my 10 hour exam, I received two separate emails requiring me to do two separate things. In fairness, one of them only required returning a form, but the other requires an essay and I will have less than 24 hours to do it once I get back from New Mexico over winter term. Again, the essay isn’t horrible, only 3 pages – but it was the post-10 hour exam timing and less than 24 hour window that made it atrocious. Beyond the things you have to do over the holidays, they also like to make you feel like you should be doing something, such as a dandy little memo I got today telling me all the reading I should be doing for my clinical placement over the holidays (otherwise I will embarrass the school and myself). While I generally ignore this stuff, the fact that they deluge you in it is really the point. I’ll now have had two holidays seasons while in law school and I can definitively say that there is a real and conscious effort to not let law students enjoy their time “off.”
Still, I am going to try to relax, at least a little bit. This was a hard semester for me, and I don’t just mean school-difficult (which it was, the hardest so far), but it was hard in that I legitimately spent the first 1/3 of the semester wanting to quit law school on an hourly basis. If there is a 2L extensional crisis, I had it. In fact it got so bad that I went to the Dean of Students for help, and was placed with a Graduate Student Learning Specialist. She is super nice and is a former environmental lawyer herself. I give a lot of credit to her for helping me learn how to deal with some aspects of law school (that simply aren’t a given with my background) and also for acting as a sounding board. I also went back to therapy this semester, albeit less about law school and more about my anger issues (which law school fuels quite well sometimes). However, my therapist this time around was god-awful and made everything worse, so I quit and ended up getting through most my issues on my own based on work I did with an exceptionally good therapist back in undergrad. What I did learn from this current therapist, is that I need a very, very particular kind of therapist when it comes to my anger issues, and this one just couldn’t handle me, so I suppose there is something to be learned from all things and I won’t make that mistake again.
So, between school and life, I really was not in a good place for awhile this semester, but things are looking up. I know the early parts of next semester will be rough for me, because that is just a bad time of year for me in general, but for right now I feel pretty good. I’m excited about my winter placement, I’m excited about next summer, and I have at least one class (Animal Law) that I am excited about next semester.
Speaking of next semester, oh lawds’ its going to be terrible. I have no idea why I do these things to myself, but I do. I’ll very likely end up taking 18 credit hours (which, no joke, I’d say is the equivalent of 30-35 undergraduate credit hours – this coming from someone who didn’t really slack off in undergrad) which includes a clinic – making it even more worse. Why? WHY? Do I do this? Especially after how bad this semester was? Because I’m really, obnoxiously stubborn, yes, but also because I have a game-plan that includes making 3L as seamless as possible. If 3L is when I’m supposed to be bored to death, then by-God 2L is when I’ll be worked to death. The good news is that if I do make next semester stupidly busy, it will pay dividends all the way through 3L. Sure, I’ll still have a lot to do 3L, but nothing even near 2L. Also, since I’m either going to 1) Quit my journal or 2) [Preferred] Drop back down to nobody status on my journal next semester, that should free up some time, though not as much as I’ll be losing through 18 credit hours. Another plus side, is that one of my classes next semester, “Legal Profession,” is mandatory (kind of like the writing requirement I mentioned above) so I’ll have that out of the way before I even get to 3L.
The writing requirement, Legal Profession course, and Pro Bono hours are generally the three things that people either forget about and/or struggle with, but they are absolutely required to graduate, so they aren’t something to ignore. As mentioned, I knocked out my writing requirement this semester, next semester I’ll knock out Legal Profession, and then I’ve already knocked out my pro bono hours, like LOL. Its so funny I have to share. Ok, so for my graduating class you have to have 40 pro bono credit hours to graduate (for the classes starting right after mine they raised it to 50, but this is like a drop in the bucket for me, as you will soon see). People who are firm-bound (other other private industry, e.g. banking/business, bound) have traditionally struggled with getting the 40 pro bono hours. Yes, these people are so busy making 33,000$ a summer that they can’t find the time in THREE YEARS to donate 40 hours to public interest. Here comes my smugness. As of right now, just half way through law school, I have generated nearly 700 hours of pro bono work. Yes, I may make virtually no money, but I have done good things for the world. That’s kind of why I’m still here in the first place.
Anyways, after next semester I’ll have already fulfilled those three sneaky requirements, and after that its just not failing out and getting to whatever the overall credit requirements are, which won’t be an issue, at least not technically.
So, all in all, I’m comparatively happy with where I am on this halfway-through-law-school moment. I’ve yet to regret my decisions thus far, and remain firmly entrenched in my desire to work within public interest. So if you ever expected me to be a rich lawyer, I’m sorry, it just isn’t going to happen. However, if you are my parents, then you have spare children to accumulate wealth for you, go forth and pester them. As for what lies beyond, well, I honestly haven’t gotten there yet. Right now I’m focused on the holidays, then winter term, and then getting the ball rolling on next semester. However, as things such as clerkship applications, fellowship applications, LLM applications, job applications, etc. begin looming closer, I’ll have to start making rough decisions again.
For now though, I’m going to sit back and revel in my victory over a 10 hour exam and have some beer.
YES, friends, at long last, it is time to celebrate 2.5L with a beer. I mean its been over for like 2 hours and I’m not drinking yet, what the hell.
A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure. -Czech Proverb
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. As a celebration of the holidays I am drinking a beer called Lucifer, which is so perfectly me that I just had to share. Lucifer was an impulse purchase, Gluttony and all that. When I was at Broadway Market last weekend picking up the the Widmer Brothers Hefe I saw Lucifer out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving. It was almost prophetical, at the very least it was Holy Grail tier. It was a dusty can way at the back of one of the shelves, surrounded by a lot of other beers, and it was the only one. Try though I might, I could find not a single other can. So this beer may be cursed, but I had to try it. The devil is supposed to be really good at temptation after all. Turns out the devil is also freaking expensive. It was 5.49$ for a can. Sure, its a large can, but that is a lot of money for beer (though still not as much damn money at that pumpkin ale in Washington D.C. – yes I am still bitter). Again, Greed, Pride, and such.
So, mystical beer tale aside, was Lucifer again good?
Actually, yes, it was really good. I mean SB didn’t like it, but according to Tristen that is because she isn’t “manries” enough.
Lucifer is a “Strong” Belgian Pale Ale, whatever that means. From what I’ve been able to gather the “strong” modifier seems to apply exclusively to the alcohol content. They are still pale golden in color with complex undertones (typical of a Belgian Pale) that are highlighted by fruity and hoppy elements. Lucifer nails these traits, but its also got a delicate bitterness hidden beneath an almost “spicy” bite. Make no mistake, this is not a spiced ale, but something about the alcohol gives it a “warming” sensation. Lucifer is 8% ABV, which is definitely “strong” for a Belgian Pale Ale. However, it hides the alcohol beneath its complex flavor profile. I would never have guessed that Lucifer was as high of alcohol content as it was, its an imminently drinkable beer, and in that regard its kind of dangerous. Still, I really enjoyed the flavor and would definitely recommend it. If you can’t get past the “Lucifer” name, then you just need to have some courtesy, have some sympathy, and some taste.
Anyways, I am going to wrap this post up. Its been a long day and this post got a bit longer (and deeper) than I intended. Tomorrow is officially the start of Christmas for us, yay! SB and the Boys and I will have our small Christmas and then we are going out on the town for lunch and to do one of two things on our Boston Bucket List, which are sure which one yet, but either way it will be a lot of fun. Then the next day it’s time to fly back home to Northern Mississippi (as per Meem) for more family holidays and my attempt at relaxation.
Depending on a lot of factors (read: laziness) I may or may not post again before 2016. I’ll have my laptop back in Mississippi, so if I really feel productive I might do my Christmas post there (especially since I have less than 2 days between getting home and leaving for New Mexico) but I’m not going to make any promises.
So, in case I don’t return to Dinosaur Bear before 2016 – thanks for reading and Happy New Year!
And also, congratulations to me for making it to the half-way point. I’m deep in uncharted territory, I still have no idea what the horizon will bring, but it’s been one hell of a ride.
Until next time,
“We are here to drink beer. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”