Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Monster that is Law School.....

Yes, that is the best way that I can describe it. Law school is a BEAST! Particularly, when you have other things going on in life- like raising a child, trying to maintain some level of health and sanity, keeping a household afloat, etc.

As a result, I've neglected this blog for the whole year of 2010. For that, I apologize.

I'm not sure what made me do it, but I was sitting in Mediation class (tsk, tsk) today, and I decided to Google my blawg site. The first hit was another blawg site, that made mention of my blawg and a few posts within it that they found helpful. The author also made note of the fact that my last post was after I finished my first semester of law school. The last line- "I hope she's doing well."

Honestly, my intention was to be consistent in my posts until the point of graduation. However, when you get in the thick of law school, you learn really quickly that if you don't absolutely need it, you can do without it (like Cable TV, for instance). Luckily, I do keep a personal journal, so my journey through law school isn't completely lost, but it doesn't address my intention with this blog, which was to provide guidance to those who are curious about what it's like to be in law school.

So- with all that being said. I'm going to try this again! Starting today....

Currently, I have a lot on my plate. Aside from my usual class work (15 hours), I am in the final stages of planning a scholarship banquet, which is one of my duties as the Vice-President of my school's chapter of the Black Law Student Association. Additionally, I am finishing up a draft opinion for the State Court of Appeals. Lastly, I have a couple of interviews later on in the week to which I need to prepare.

One of the habits I have not yet been able to break is NOT taking on soooo much! Right now, this is too much. Unfortunately, I can't just stop, mostly because each of these tasks are stepping stones to more opportunities. On the other hand, my inability to stop could be a symptom of my need to overachieve.

Luckily, as most law school students will tell you, the first year they scare you to death and the second year they work you to death. So far it's proven to be true, which makes me anxious to get to the third year, where the claim is that they bore you to death. Since this is the hierarchy of law school, at times it makes me feel bad to even begin to complain, but then I have to remember that I'm not the average law school student. My days never end when I leave these halls. I still have parent-teacher conferences to attend, dinner to cook, and stories to listen to regarding the latest playground shenanigans....and the shenanigans that I'm hearing about makes me wonder about the state of our children. However, that's a post for another blawg!

I've vowed to myself that after this scholarship banquet comes to fruition, I will narrow my focus to my studies. By that time, most of the items on my list will have been crossed off and the only thing left to do will be to prepare for finals.

I will post again, and soon! I suppose I could give you a somewhat brief review of what I've been doing since second semester of my first year. My mentor reminded me a few days ago of just how much I have accomplished, especially considering my non-traditional law student status. She then urged me to give myself a well deserved pat on the back, lol!

Now...back to reading for Employment Discrimination...YAY!

Monday, December 21, 2009

One semester down, five more to go!

Overall, it wasn't as bad as some would have me believe. It was certainly a grueling 16 weeks, but it should be expected, as it is preparing me for what life will be like once I become a practicing attorney.

Finals time definitely made being on campus an anxiety-ridden experience. I made it a point NOT to spend too much time on campus. I did a lot of studying at home, which is HARD when there are so many distractions, like cleaning, the laundry that sat on my couch for WEEKS, and my television. However, the thought of flunking out of law school, wasting 16 plus weeks of time, and not to mention the student loan debt I'd already incurred, kept me quite motivated to remain focused on the task at hand.

Like all other law school students, I created outlines and used supplements and flash cards while studying. I also took practice exams, which for torts was a hilarious experience because I spent the night before my torts exam dreaming about the practice exam. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep, but once I cracked open the three page hypothetical, I was grateful that I'd taken the time to look at the practice exam because it was extremely helpful.

Overall, I feel like I had a good grasp of the material and I didn't have any real problems with issue spotting in the torts and contracts exams. Civ Pro was pretty straight forward and I actually enjoyed it (yeah, how weird is that?!?). I tried not to talk about the exam with my colleagues and you would think every law school student has heard that piece of advice at least once- but there was always someone who walked out of the exam room and immediately began talking about this, that or the third on the exam. I closed my ears and exited the building.

So, now comes that waiting. It seems our grades won't be posted until the second week of January, so that is plenty of time to wonder how well I did or didn't do. I'm trying not to think about it. Right now, I just want to enjoy the holidays and spending time with lil' mama.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the Single Parent....

Well, with less than four weeks left before the end of the semester, I have thought about and put together a list of things that I think a single parent should consider before and during law school to make for a smooth transition for parent and child(ren) in the situation. The majority of these are tried and tested, so I hope it helps.
  • Prepare. You can do this by putting aside as much money in savings as possible, saving money by buying certain things in bulk (such as personal items you use everyday, canned goods, paper products), lining up day care providers and others who would be willing to keep your children if you are in need, as well as anything else that might need to be handled based on your situation.
  • Be honest with yourself about the challenge. Law school is not like anything else you have encountered in life. Even if you feel you are the brightest and the best, you will at some point be put in a position where you will question your decision, even if for a nanosecond. You must be prepared to feel overwhelmed and sometimes unprepared, however, you must continue to move forward because as long as you stick with it, it will get better.
  • Be honest with your child(ren). If they are at an age where you can talk with them about your transition to law school, then it is good to have the dialogue. I have talked to my daughter about things ranging from our need to change our spending habits, to the time I have to devote to studying. However, I don't allow law school to take all of my time and I make it a point to make the time we spend together a special time for us both.
  • Manage your time. As a parent, you have a lot of responsibilities which include taking care of a household, your children and yourself. Remember that your "colleagues" may not have these same responsibilities, which affords them the opportunity to "live" in the library. You have many more responsibilities than most of your classmates, and your time has to be delegated amongst those responsibilities. While you want to devote time to your studies, don't let that sidetrack you from everything else in your life.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. This is probably the most important. I can honestly say that I have had sit downs with upper L's, professors, career support staff and financial aid in the last four weeks. Why? Because I needed help, be it with studying certain concepts learned in class, understanding an assignment, wanting to get information regarding networking opportunities, or needing additional financial help. I wasn't afraid to ask and asking was all it took to get exactly the help I sought. It most certainly alleviates a great deal of stress and allows me to remain focused on doing my best in law school.
  • Take advantage of any and all offers of assistance. This deals with things outside of the realm of law school. More specifically, help in the form of government subsidies. My daughter has health care coverage and child care through government subsidies, and our household receives food stamps. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't too keen on the idea of going to FSD to secure these items, however, I had to put my pride aside for the sake of my daughter. She needs to have health coverage and we have to have food. Furthermore, it is one less thing to have to stress about and allows me to remain focused on doing my best in law school, which is my goal. Besides, I was in the work force for 10 years paying into this system. Why shouldn't it return a benefit to me when I am in a time of need.
With that being said, I encourage all single parents who are interested in going to law school because it is doable and you can succeed. Now, I must get back to studying for finals. Ta-Ta!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It took a little while, but I think I got the hang of it.

So, it's the end of week seven. I've completed my first memo, finished my Torts and Contracts outlines, and am almost finished with my Civil Procedure outlines. I feel like I've finally gotten the hang of life as a law school student. It has been a tremendous amount of work, which forced me to be honest with myself about a few things very early on in this process. In week three I made the decision to drop two credit hours. I was taking on WAY too much. My situation is unique because I'm not only a law school student, I'm also a single-parent. Most single-parents choose not to be a full-time day student because it is extremely challenging. The challenge can be even greater if you lack a support system. I knew beforehand what I was getting in to by relocating and essentially leaving my support system behind. I discussed my concerns with my institution before making the commitment to attend, and they have kept their end of the bargain by being extremely encouraging and understanding when I come to them with any concerns. Plus, my daughter has truly been understanding and supportive of her mommy. I can't thank her enough.

In week five, I think I was beginning to at least get comfortable with everything that embodied law school. I definitely didn't feel like I was drowning in a sea of legalese and massive reading assignments. I took a weekend trip home, which I think I desperately needed. I saw some familiar sites, visited some friends, and felt refreshed by time I made it home. Now, don't get me wrong, I did not take the weekend off! I went to my favorite library and did a few hours of studying, so that I wouldn't feel guilty later on.

By week six, I had lunch with a professor and my TA, and gotten to know most of my "colleagues" in my section. It seems I spend a ridiculous amount of time with my nose in a book, or researching online, or writing a memo, or working on an outline. The days go by sooooo fast, to the point where I can not believe that I'm almost halfway through this semester.

At the beginning of this week, I took a practice Mid-Term. The results were not so hot, but it does provide guidance as to where I need to be once finals rear their ugly heads. At this point, my plan has been to do weekly cumulative reviews of the materials and try to get in as much practice as possible between now and then.

I suppose I should be glad it only took seven weeks, I still have eight more weeks until finals, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I should be reading.....

But, I feel as though I have been neglecting my blog. I want folks to know about my adventures thus far, so I'm taking a little break. It's been less that an hour since my last class of the day (Contracts..yippee) and it's just a little bit past the lunch hour, so I think I'm entitled to a little personal time to do what I want to do. So where do I start??

Okay- as promised, I want to talk about Law Preview.

At this particular moment, I can say that it is currently helping me. I have a general understanding as to what is going on in class. I think I'm a little less lost than some other folks in class, so I think that helps. Also, they provided a nice schedule to follow for studying, which I'm glad I have and plan to follow pretty closely. Additionally, they provided a few supplemental study materials, which I actually cracked open while trying to understand my first Civ Pro assignment. Some of the cases I'm going to encounter in class have already been discussed in Law Preview so hopefully at those moments things won't seem so daunting. I'm sure at the end of the semester, after the final exams have all been graded and posted, I'll know whether the class was truly beneficial to me.

Next- Orientation

Overall, I had a really good experience during Orientation. It was over the course of three days and it provided A LOT of information. Some information was repetitive because of all the law school prep I've been doing over the summer, some was school specific. I was able to meet my classmates and befriend some 2L's and 3L's, which is always a benefit. I also identified individuals whom I would probably steer clear of, for various reasons. I will refrain from sharing any stories at this point, however, if I happen to cross paths with any of these individuals I've mentally noted in the future, and if from that interaction a story arises, I will be sure to provide you with a story that I'm sure will be entertaining.

First Day of Class

I'm not sure why my schedule is constructed so that I don't have class until 3pm on Mondays, but I'm seeing the bright side in this because I am able to read, study or review for practically a whole day OR if I'm ahead, I can just rest. My daughter will be at school and my house will be silent. At any rate, class doesn't start until three and I only have one- Civil Procedure. The class that seems to leave me with the largest question mark at the end. LOL. I'm told that is supposed to be my state of mind and eventually I will have an AH HA! moment. I'll let you know when it comes, lol!

First Week of Class

By the end of the week, I felt indoctrinated in the law school process. My week was full of emotional highs and lows (mostly feeling either rested or exhausted). All and all, I feel like this is more than doable. It will take alot of work, which I am more than prepared to do.

Parent v. Law School Student

I'm surprised that being a law student has not yet interfered with my ability to be present for my daughter. I imagine that conflict will probably appear closer to exam time. My schedule has me in school when she is in school and studying after she's asleep. To celebrate our first day of class, I took her out for ice cream, but I paid for the celebration later on in the week, since the break away from our schedule found me having to "catch-up" on reading until about Wednesday. It was a sacrifice well worth it.

So far my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I hope that continues to be the case. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

PTI (Pardon The Interruption)

Yes, I know I've been MIA....it's been due to reasons beyond my control really, reasons I will attempt to explain very soon. I have SO MUCH I want to share, so please STAY TUNED!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Hey folks! I made it to College Town, finally!!!! Moving actually went very well, surprisingly. My daughter is absolutely ecstatic about her new home, as am I. I spent the first couple of days unpacking and getting familiar with our new surroundings. I enjoy my new neighborhood, which is really quiet and very conducive to studying. I also LOVE the fact that I can get anywhere in College Town in 15 minutes or less. On the other hand, I don't like the fact that I no longer have a job. It's the oddest feeling ever! I'm extremely risk-adverse and am having an issue adjusting to the fact that I'll have to live on loans. Luckily, I got an increase in my child support, so I felt extremely blessed about that. Tomorrow is the first day of Law Preview, and in true procrastinators form I have not even begun briefing the cases for the first day of class. I'm going to get it done tonight, I promise. In the meantime- I hope all the other 1L's out there are having as smooth a transition as I am thus far! Good Luck!