Everyday Life · Law School - 2L

Marcie’s Christmas Movies :: 2016

Last year, I made a list of my favorite Christmas movies.  They were cheesy, they were terrible, but they were beloved.  I thought, in honor of Christmas 2016, I would update the list.

I’m proud to announce that, while I do still love the horribly cheesy Christmas movie, I also now enjoy less horribly cheesy Christmas movies and have expanded my horizons.  Again, I invite everyone to check them out, but to also keep your expectations very low.  I have to stay true to me and me really likes cheesy Christmas movies.

2015 Xmas Movies:
1.  Dear Santa (still on Netflix now)
2. Christmas Kiss (still on Netflix now)
3.  Kinky Boots (no longer on Netflix)
4.  Love Actually (still on Netflix–and watching as I write this post)
5.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town (was never on Netflix.  Their mistake)

2016 Xmas Movies:
1.  The Holiday (no longer on Netflix–those jerks removed it before Christmas).  What’s not to love about The Holiday?  It has Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Eli Wallach, and the music is amazing.  I love me some Frou Frou.  Also, I just find it to be relatable to a certain extent.  Judge me.

2.  A Holiday Engagement (on Netflix).  This is a cheesy one, but I like it.  It’s about a girl who is dumped by her fiancé and hires an actor to play her fiancé.  Shenanigans ensue.  It’s light, predictable, and even though it takes place over Thanksgiving, there are Christmas ornaments and trees in it.

3.  The Last Holiday (on Netflix).  This isn’t as cheesy, but I think it deserves to be on the list.  The one-liners in that movie are hilarious.  “That’s why they call it gambling and not crocheting!”  Classic.

4.  Christmas Kiss II (on Netflix).  Surprisingly, it’s not as horrible as the first Christmas Kiss.  I was surprised to see that.  The acting is less horrible and the storyline isn’t nearly as cheesy.  The characters spend more time together and they’re generally more likable.  It’s an improvement.

5.  A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (on Netflix).  I just watched this today.  If anyone likes dogs, Christmas, girl power, and the popular guy from Mean Girls, then this is definitely a movie for you.  It’s meet-cute with dogs and I’m all over it.

Enjoy!

~ m

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Everyday Life · Law School - 2L

On Lessons From My Mother…

I’ve found myself saying one phrase in particular since the end of my 1L year: “My mama taught me better than that.”  I started saying it because I had weddings to attend and no money for the wedding present.  Everyone was very forgiving and understanding but my mama taught me better than that. Now I have been saying it because my mama did teach me better, but oh well.

I hate that I’m ignoring her lessons too.  My mother is wise and smart and she taught me better.  It’s probably all the stress and struggle of returning to law school, starting 2-Hell year (heard that the first day and, after the first day, know it to be accurate), but just because I’m sleep deprived doesn’t mean I’m the same bratty sociopathic child that I was. I clearly need a refresher course, so these are some of the things my mama taught me.

1.  Obviously, you always get someone a wedding present, whether you attend the wedding or not.  The bane of Summer 2016 (although shoutout to my boosk, Liz, at Baby Got B.A. for being a poor grad student with me and splitting the presents).

2.  If someone offers to pay, you eat like you would if you were paying for yourself and/or you get a small drink.  This is a lesson I’ve carried with me since she told me when I was in elementary school.  I use it to judge my friends as well, so be warned.

3.  Don’t waste your energy on pointless things or things you can’t change.  In this instance, because it’s her giving me advice, it’s in regards to my “temper.”  My mom is fairly non-confrontational, which sometimes drives me crazy.  The funniest example of this is my current irritation with the U-Haul across the street from me.  She shut down my ire with one sentence:  “Are you really this angry at a U-Haul?  Aren’t you in law school?  Shouldn’t you have better things to worry about?”  Yes, I do (but the U-Haul still irks me).  However, the most legitimate example of it is with people.  I had friends where their political views and selfishness made me so angry.  My mom always said that either I learn to deal with it or you end it.  There’s no point in wasting energy arguing with them.  This may seem inconsequential or obvious, but it has affected how I am around people ever since.

4.  Putting milk in coffee is for poor people.  I feel like this needs context to not sound as weird (and possibly elitist) as it does, but all I can say is that my mother and I put either half and half or coffee creamer in our coffee.  I once called her while I was in undergrad and told her that I put milk in my coffee (I’m not sure if it was because I was poor or needed to do groceries).  She felt very sorry for me and said that she’d give me money to buy some creamer and then said milk in coffee was for poor people.

5.  “It’s fine!”  I’m a control enthusiast and I like things a certain way.  Presentation means more to me than my mother will ever understand.  She doesn’t sympathize with my plight.  Every now and then, I’ll hear my mom’s voice in my head whenever I’m being over-controlling about stupid things, like what order the books on my bookshelf should be in.

6.  “The money will be there.”  This first popped up when I went to college.  I’ve never been great at getting my own outside scholarships, sos when I was talking about loans and all these financial worries about attending the school I wanted versus the school that gave me aid, my mom would always tell me that the money would be there.  Definitely applies today still.

7.  The Art of Chill.  I’m still learning this.  Anyone who has met my mother knows and has said that she is the most chill person on Earth.  The world could be crashing in around her and she would be perfectly chill.  Life is easier when the stupid things don’t bother you and then you can focus on important things.  This sounds like Lesson 3 and I suppose it’s along the same strain.  She doesn’t let things bother her, even when they would bother any other normal human being.  She doesn’t judge people, even though she should.  I aspire to her chillness.

I’m stopping at 7 because that’s her favorite number.  It’s also encroaching onto another post I want to do.  I appreciate all that my mother has done for me. 🙂

ms

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This is our family photo… very hard to get.
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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Everyday Life · Law School - 1L

Marcie’s List of “Christmas” Movies

I am the queen of loving the casual Netflix binge.  My roommate and I have a nice bit about it.  Lately, I have really been trying to get in the season of cheer, despite my looming finals, the lack of Christmas decorations, and the extremely warm weather we’ve been having.  I listen to Christmas music and I watch Christmas movies, when I can.

I love Christmas movies, good and bad.  For the most part, I like them really bad and very cheesy, with acting that is so horrible it can physically hurt.  I’m not sure why but watching them just adds more cheer to my Christmas spirit.  It leaves me light and free of concerns.  I know exactly how every movie will end and I know I’ll enjoy that ending (because I’ve seen it 30,000 times in the other cheesy Christmas movies).

I wanted to make a list of my favorite Christmas movies (some are on Netflix now and others were on Netflix at some point).  I invite everyone to check them out, but to also keep your expectations very low.

1.  Dear Santa (on Netflix now).  I actually thought this was a very sweet movie and the character was relatable… to me.

2. Christmas Kiss (on Netflix now).  This is the movie where the acting is physically painful.  But I watch it at least 3 times every December.

3.  Kinky Boots (on Netflix now).  This is not a Christmas movie… but I directly associate it with snow and Christmas. Also, this movie (and its broadway musical) is amazing.

4.  Love Actually.  My roommate makes fun of how many times I’ve watched the movie this year (and not all of them in December).

5.  Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town.  The claymation one.  That’s is favorite Christmas movie.

Enjoy!

– m

PS. This was supposed to be posted two days ago and it somehow ended up in a draft folder. Life’s a mess.

 

Everyday Life · Law School - 1L

When I Grow Up

While I have not been posting on WordPress, I have been on it!  I read the blogs of the people I follow and it’s usually my only human reprieve!

I was looking through my drafts on here and I found this jewel.  It’s from earlier this year.  I could not have thought of a more imperfect/perfect time to happen upon it.  I am right on the precipice of finals and I feel like I’m drowning.  This post is a good reminder and motivator.

Things can’t be easy… or else everyone would do it, right?

Enjoy and wish me luck on finals!

I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian. I’m not gonna lie–being a vet and working with animals was my dream come true. There was always a right and wrong answer, you get to pet the dogs and kitties, and you can make a pretty decent amount of money for it. When I went to college, I went to a school that was known for its music and biology program because I was gonna be a vet.

Obviously, that didn’t pan out for various reasons. Science is a requirement for biology and animal science and I was not a big fan of it. Also, biology is a big component and I was, apparently, not very good at biology. It was the one time my self-preservation jumped in and said, “Maybe this isn’t the wisest course of action.”

I dropped the biology major and decided political science was the one for me. Not because I liked political science, technically. Late into the major I realized that political science is the study of war and more wars (at least in my focus). Regardless, I did like it enough. If I could go back in time, I would choose a different major, but that’s inconsequential.

If anyone has read back on my posts from last year or maybe the year before (definitely last year), then they know that I have been going through some academic/professional angst. Was law school really what I wanted to do? Would I even make it through? Was it worth it? What the hell would I even do as a lawyer? Do I have a long term plan? Is there something that I would rather do instead of lawyering?

That last question messed me up. Of course there are things I’d rather do than lawyer. Being a lawyer sucks! You have nightmares in the middle of the night about a pretrial the next day, you have to deal with angry/crying clients who don’t know what your job really is, you have to make collections calls for attorneys fees, you have to drive–so much driving, and you have to wear suits (depending). It’s a horrible job. As a paralegal, you do a bit less than the attorneys… and it sucks. By extension, being a lawyer sucks. I can think of a million other things I would rather do than be a lawyer. Like be a millionaire’s housewife, stay a paralegal, do something with my political science degree, work for the federal government (state government is garbage, don’t do that), or become an aimless wanderer.

Literally, anything that’s less hard and more gratifying.

While any of those other jobs are great and very tempting, it wouldn’t be the same. Being a lawyer is pretty powerful. You make solid connections in law school and then later on in the bar associations and any practice you go into. With that power you can change things. Not to sound too cliche, but I want to change the damn world. I want to climb up all the ladders and fight for the vulnerable and unrepresented. And I want to be a lawyer.

So yeah, there are better jobs and I still wish I could have been a vet, but I would rather be a lawyer than anything else. I can lawyer.

-m

Everyday Life · Law School - 1L

On Lessons from My Roommate

Happy Halloween to all!

But this post has nothing to do with Halloween, except that I am writing this whilst pre-gaming alone because I have no friends (jk, but really).

I have probably never mentioned this before, but I have a boy roommate this year.  I’m still working on a nickname for him.  Nice kid, good person, likes fizzy water.  We ended up living together through my roommate listing on the “Admitted Students” site.  He responded.

Now, I have lived with a male before.  His name was Shaun, aka Shauny and we’re still in contact.  I figured it would be similar.  But oh, how wrong I was.

First lesson.  Guys really do casually talk about sex.  Yesterday, before he traveled away for the weekend, we were discussing whether or not women could really actually do “falsetto.”  He provided some real life examples of a woman in falsetto… his girlfriend.  I told him to get out of my apartment (because I am mature).  This is not the first incident of such conversation–in fact, it’s the third.  There’s nothing explicit in these conversations.  But I only speak to two people about sex and they’re both my closest, bestest friends… not my boy roommate.

Second lesson.  Some people–some guys–automatically think you’re cool when they find out that you live with another guy all casually and the like.  Girls are always like, “Is it weird?” But guys are like, “Really? That’s so cool!”  Regardless, you are leveled up in the eyes of your peers.  While I say the opinions of lesser people, like your peers, are irrelevant… it still feels pretty good to be leveled up in any situation.

Third lesson.  The Packers.  I will never cheer for the Packers (for various reasons, one of them being the Packers logo toaster my roommate forced on our apartment and that now sets of his smoke detector every time I use it).  However, because of my roommate, I could understand why someone would… even though they’re from the Chicagoland area.

Fourth lesson.  Tagging/Labeling your food.  I had to put my name on my carrots this week.  My roommate and I both enjoy carrots as crunchy snacks.  Unfortunately, I never got to enjoy my last bag of carrots because my roommate ate them.  Despite the fact that he bought a brand that’s drastically different from mine (much more fancy-looking), mine were organic (and probably more expensive, let’s face it).  In all my roommate situations, I have never had to label my food.  We all just knew.  Maybe that’s a girl thing or maybe it’s one of his gaps.  But that mistake won’t happen again.  He can now eat his poison bougie carrots, secure that they’re not mine and I’ll have reason to actually get pissed if he does eat mine.

Fifth lesson.  Letting go.  My roommate steals my grapes every time he opens the fridge.  This may seem like a non-issue to someone that is a bigger person than me.  However, those grapes were expensive and I am poor.  As soon as he confessed, I was about to flip a frisbee.  But then… why?  He takes a grape.  Yeah, okay.  It’s a whole bag of grapes and I wouldn’t have even noticed if he hadn’t said anything.  I’m glad he did say something because it makes me feel better, but… there was no point in flipping anything because he took some grapes.  For anyone that knows me, letting this issue go is a huge thing.  I’m still in shock that I laughed and joked afterwards (five years ago, one of my roommates took my coffee once and I have yet to forgive her for it).  Boy roommate taught me a very important and valuable life lesson.

Okay, that’s enough. If my roommate ever saw this, he’d probably be really weirded out.  Thankfully, we are only connected on the Facebook, which is one account this blog does not post to. 🙂

Have a happy and safe Halloween!!

-m

Everyday Life · Law School - 1L

On Law School Orientation…

Hey all!

I have been on a super long hiatus for a while now.  My last post was over a month ago, but… before that post it was two months of not posting.  It seems like an improvement to me.

So many things have happened since my last post.  As many may know, I am currently enrolled in law school.  Strangely enough, one of the biggest hurdles to law school came in the form of orientation.  Sounds harmless, right?  Orientation used to just be boring.  You sit in a room with other people while professors/advisors tell you things that you already know.  Maybe there’ll be coffee.  In law school (and, from what I understand, grad school in general) it becomes boring and bone deep terrifying.

I had mandatory orientation on August 20th.  The whole week beforehand was not well spent.  I had nothing packed, I had no idea what I was doing, the professors hadn’t posted the syllabi, I hadn’t even looked at the book list, and the reality of what was happening hadn’t set in.  But I knew I needed to be in Champaign on August 20th and I knew that I would be homeless when that happened.  My apartment wasn’t going to be ready until August 22nd.  On orientation day, we were going to take our student directory photos and I had a plan for that too:  I was going to have my best friend straighten my hair so that no one would recognize me from the directory.  I mean, my name was going to be listed as Luz and Luz had straight hair.  Marcie has crazy curly hair.  My plan was perfect (it wasn’t).

Before I knew it, it was August 19 and I was at my last day of work.  I had gotten to work at little late because my hair appointment ran overtime, which is kind of expected when your friend is the one doing it.  The last day of work was pretty anticlimactic, but my emotions were all there.  I drove down to CU (Champaign-Urbana) by myself after hanging out with my mom.  On that drive, the panic set in.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  Sure, it was only an orientation day, but it was the orientation day.  I would be surrounded by my peers for the next three years.  I would be surrounded by professors that I would actually have to build a relationship with.  I knew no one.  I knew nothing.  My biggest fear in all this was that I would get too scared and back out.  Law school was my first big risk and a part of me really wanted to take it.  The other part was panicking.

Luckily, I had a friend to comfort me the whole 3 hour drive to CU.  Thanks, Maddogg (she has WordPress)!

I stayed at my friend’s place that night and got up bright and early in the morning to get ready, fix my hair (because the beast does not like to be tamed), and find some place to park for the day.  Parking in CU is ridiculous.  I parked over a mile away from the school and had to walk that mile in direct sunlight, but at least it was a beautiful, sunny day.  I made it there, slightly sweaty and slightly grumpy, and registered.  I grabbed some coffee and stood in line to get my directory photos taken.  I wanted to get that crossed off my list first and foremost.  My hair was only going to get worse as the day progressed.

I made awkward conversation in line with people in my section and small section.  I got up to the front and then the photographers turned us away to take the class photos.  After that, we listened to lectures from the dean, from the SBA leaders, from advisors, from a local judge and various people.  That was all pretty typical orientation stuff.

The problem didn’t start until we went to lunch, which they called “Lunch with your Section Professors.”  I thought it was very creative.  We ate while the professors spoke about their classes and expectations and answered questions from the section.  Now, at the earlier orientation stuff, they were telling us that law school didn’t have to be the difficult horror story that people have told us it is.  We needed to learn time management and just had to stay focused.  At the lunch, the professors took that byline and threw it out the window.  A few came right out to say that it wasn’t undergrad anymore and they had high expectations.  Even to attend office hours, they expected more preparation than I’d ever done for my classes in undergrad.  That might be more of a reflection on me and my classes, but I was terrified.  So terrified I couldn’t finish eating my lunch.

Afterwards, we had our “first class” in Legal Writing.  I misread the email and didn’t know about the class, but that didn’t end up coming back for me.  However, it wasn’t a great confidence booster after the emotionally tumultuous lunch.  We went to another lecture and I learned that alcoholism is a big problem in law school and the profession as a whole.  It felt good.

Okay, in all honestly, that was the most helpful lecture of orientation.  It talked about psychological issues that may surface during law school and how to handle them.  I learned some very useful tips to talk myself out of an anxiety spiral.  It spoke to issues that I’d been trying to deal with over the summer and that I knew would be harder to handle during the school year.  I am truly very grateful for that part of the lecture.

After that, we were ordered to have our pictures taken.  It really irritated me since I was taken out of line and there was zero time to get the pictures taken with all the program they’d scheduled.  I was actually late to the rest of the programing because I was taking that picture (which turned out horrible).  Because I was late, I also got separated from my group and ended up in the wrong lecture with a bunch of LLMs.

By the end of orientation, I was done.  They had a reception afterwards, but I didn’t want to stay at it.  Besides being scared to go to law school and having all my anxiety rush back at full force, I really had trouble connecting to people in my group… and people in general.  Along with having doubts about attending law school, I had doubts about being able to make friends with anyone in the school (which they emphasized in all the orientation programing).  The orientation itself wasn’t bad (the photos were and they definitely heard my frustration with it on the feedback form) but I was feeling so crummy by the end of it.  I was, again, afraid that I would chicken out.  If not chicken out, then fail in an epic and expensive manner.

Thankfully, that was only orientation.  Right now, I am about to enter Week 4 or my 1L year, which would make 1 month.  I am eternally grateful that everything from orientation is behind me.  I got lost in my own head that day and it really affected how I reacted and perceived things.  I took some time afterwards and talked myself down.  In the end, there was no point of being scared of possible failure.  I hadn’t even started law school and I was terrified of failing out.  I don’t have to worry until November about failing out.  😉

There are still moments where I get scared (not orientation day scared), but I always try to remember what I’m doing this for.  I’m doing it for my community, for my family.  Then the fear goes away.

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