Complaining - Sorry! · Everyday Life · Law School - 1L

Law School is Hard

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It’s been a full semester.  Law school is exactly what you would think and nothing like you would think.  I went in with expectations of it being the most grueling time of my life.  And it was, but it also… wasn’t that bad.  I can’t say it hasn’t been worthwhile.  I also can’t say I’ve enjoyed it.  It was hell on earth and I surpassed my own expectations.  I’ve also failed myself a bit too.

I realized about a week after law school started that I hadn’t done my research.  Yes, I did some research on schools.  I did some research on the job market and prospects.  I did some research on my own personal career path.  I did zero research on actually being in law school.

One of the biggest hurdles was that of studying.  I never had study skills while I was in high school or in my undergrad.  One good read-through was enough to get me far enough.  So, I had to develop those skills and develop them fast.  I went from book notes, to case briefs, to post its in the margins.  In real crunches, I would just write in the margins (which is a Marcie no-no).  Eventually, I got the hang of it… sort of.

One big study tool is an outline (my most hated word still).  I did not utilize it to the best of my abilities… or anyone’s abilities… since I didn’t really utilize it at all.  Maybe some people did it in every other academic level, but I never did.  I outline essays, not courses.  Outlining a course is basically the same as outlining an essay… but you do it after and it’s more time consuming (and it sucks).  So when people started outlining, I was lost and confused.  The whole concept was foreign to me.  I resisted doing it and learning about it for so long that I never got around to actually completing an outline before finals (one of those times that I failed myself).

Honestly, from this vantage point, the whole semester is a blur.  All I can remember are the finals.  Finals that cause you physical pain.  Finals that keep you up at night.  Finals that seem never ending.  Finals that practically are never-ending (cough, cough, property).  It’s all hard.  You feel like you’re knowledgeable and coasting through the semester, but really, you’re not and you know nothing.  Finals will make you realize that.

It may be surprising to find that what’s hard about law school isn’t just the coursework.  It’s the support too.

Law school can be pretty lonely.  Maybe this isn’t the same for other people, but I thought it was.  I need people, in general, and, in Champaign, I desperately needed people.  But Free time was scarce and my friends in the school were busy and stressed.  I was too.

My relationships with friends from home were strained (apparently people don’t want to wait until Wednesday to talk to me, jerks).

Even then, I was about as conversational as a wall.

My roommate would leave every weekend and I wouldn’t leave the apartment except to study at a coffeeshop.

Me. Studying in Coffeeshops
Me. Studying in Coffeeshops

My closest friend in the law school took off in the middle of the semester (like ya do) and left a little bit of a lurch.  She was the person I sat next to in all my classes.  When she left, I had no one to sit next to in classes.  I was constantly poor, so doing things like dinner and drinks with other students wasn’t always an option.  I also can’t say I’m the most outgoing person.  So for me, it was extra lonely.

In some ways, law school can be a bit like high school too.  Maybe it’s because the school is so insulated.  There are groups of people that hang out, like little cliques that intermingle with other specific little cliques.  Despite that, everyone is in everybody else’s business.  Nothing is secret and everyone is ready to casually talk about your business.  I’ve never had to watch what I say as much as I have this past semester.  I’m almost positive it’s because we don’t see anyone but each other.  We have nowhere else to get our thrills.  Again, maybe that’s just how I view it, but it certainly added to my mental stress.

I’ve only discussed the bad things.  There are some good things.  Law school forces you to get some of your act together.  None of this blowing off a paper to go to wine night at Krannert.  It instills some good practices for those that didn’t already have them.  I’m obviously where I want to be, even if it’s not fun.  If it were supposed to be fun then it would be an amusement park, amirite?

Despite the difficulties, I’m looking forward to going back.  At least the first semester is over.  Hopefully the next one is better.  I have a better handle on studying and what I need to do before finals.  It’ll be fine.

-m

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Complaining - Sorry! · Everyday Life

2014 needs to just end

It really needs to end because it has been one struggle after the other. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time, but it is a negative post where I am going to rant and be sad and whiny. I can hold it in no longer. 2014 has been a hellish year and it needs to end promptly.

I went into 2014 hopeful. I had taken my December LSAT and I was planning on going to law school and everything was great. Then on January 2, 2014, I received my LSAT score of [insert disappointingly low number]. That certainly put a damper on my brand new year. It was also the first time I fell into a depression pit of Netflix and popcorn in my dark, windowless basement. I never struggled with existing as much as I did in that moment.

Luckily, I managed to get out of that mess. I put my LSAT hat back on and studied my rear off . Oh, I studied. I spent hours in the library every day, suffering through thirst, exhaustion, and claustrophobia. I took the test on February 8, 2014 and it was pure hell on my psyche. First of all, it was much harder than the December one. Second of all, the environment made me want to throw myself out the window. But I took it and I wasn’t going to let it get me down.

Until Oscars night when I received my score… my [insert one point more than the original disappointingly low number]. I burst into tears on the spot and bawled my eyes out for about thirty minutes in front my my friend. I probably cried every fifteen minutes until the end of the Oscars. With that, my law school expectations were dashed for that year.

Two weeks later, my uncle died. He died peacefully, but entirely too young. We have all come to accept it. He struggled in life, with communicating and expressing himself. He had epilepsy and developmental issues that contributed to it. We’ve all come to see him as ‘free’ and happy. I think I might still be in denial. I haven’t been back to the Dominican Republic since 2011 so I haven’t been able to properly feel his loss. But when I picture going back to my grandparent’s house, I know it won’t be the same.

A month later my favorite dog almost died. He had diabetes, unbeknownst to us and it had formed into diabetic ketoacidosis. He had to be hospitalized, which also came with a big vet bill. He was sick a lot in May since it was hard to get him regulated on the insulin. But again, the family and I pulled through.

The month of May was filled with job interviews and rejection letters. Actually that was my entire May thru last Friday. It may seem minor, but it’s disheartening. I applied to so many jobs, I have lost track of the number. I got a few job interviews and worked my butt off to get through those interviews intact–one of which I worked my butt off to even get there. Each time, I was rejected or just left to guess that they didn’t want me. With the doggie costs and all the housework planned for the summer and my huge student loans, I was under considerable pressure to get a job. As lazy as I am, I don’t actually enjoy being a waste of space, so I felt that pressure intensely.

Then, on July 19, my favorite dog got really, really sick. He was fine and happy and then three hours later, he was vomiting. He couldn’t lie down and he could barely keep his head up. My mom and I agreed that if he was still sick in the morning, that we would take him to the emergency vet.

He didn’t get better and we took him to the vet. We wanted to avoid another hospital stay because… it was just so expensive, so we let them run tests before agreeing to anything else (like admitting him). Their tests didn’t give us too much hope. I think it’s safe to say that it took away our last hope. He was going into multiple organ failure. He was miserable and we didn’t want him to be in so much pain. He could get healed, but he’d still be sick. The diabetes took a big toll on him and asking him to pull through something so devastating as having all your organs work against you… It was too much and we loved him too much. So we decided to put him to sleep and it was just a horrible day.

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My Kingston ~ Nov. 6, 2000 – Jul. 20, 2014

Then, just last Friday, one of my best friends left for Florida. Good for her, but now this place just kind of sucks. And her leaving has made some other relationships of mine undergo harsh inspection [another depressing and angry post for another day].

This year has been pure hell on my psyche. I know that for some–and definitely most of the people that are in my life–it’s been a fantastic and great year. My best friend is pursuing her big dreams in Florida, my mother finally got the music job she’s been dreaming of for ten years, my other best friend got into beauty school, my other friends have all wonderful things happen to them. And that’s great for them! I’m sincerely happy and their happy.

But damn, universe. I’ve been knocked down more than a few pegs. I have felt very alone, very useless, and like a huge failure. 2014 needs to end and I need my fresh New Year. I need the restart button to show up in front of me right now.

Restart