I am Marcie. I am a naturalized citizen, with a lingering immigrant mentality. I am quickly barreling towards 30… but for all everyone else knows, I am 26 and have been for a couple years now. All I really want to do is give back and help other people and I chose to do it through law. I am a third-year law student (3L) with my graduation finally approaching in May. I have loved all my experiential practice and have hated every living second of being in law school. From what I understand, that’s… normal? I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing beyond that point, except the bar exam.
I know it’s January and not the beginning of January, but I’ve been wanting to do this challenge for some time. I never have much to write about since my life is basically law school, so I thought that a challenge would kickstart me into doing something with this blog. I got the challenge from a blog that I follow (enticing vice) and it seemed doable enough for my melting brain. 🙂
I’m not sure if this is a nationwide thing or just an Illinois Law thing, but each year has a hashtag. As a second year law student, I started to deeply understand #2Hell year.
I don’t have many amazing things to say. This year was hard and I only enjoyed about 50% of my classes. I took a whole bunch of classes that I got to choose all on my own. Some of them were mind-blowing and amazing, others were snooze-fests that killed me during finals. But I don’t think it’s the class load that necessarily kills you. It’s the job searching, it’s trying to figure out what you want to do after you graduate, it’s about having to think more and more about graduation (and post-graduation), it’s clinic, it’s extracurriculars and it’s basically like being the middle child of the family.
However, I became a mentor of sorts this year. It’s weird to think of myself as a mentor since I’ve always considered myself a mess, but it happened. They don’t need my mentorship now (they’re all excelling at their internships <3), but talking to them and helping them had a positive impact on me, and hopefully them. They made me think about the kind of person I wanted to be and the kind of mark I wanted to leave on people. My dark depression probably would have been darker if I hadn’t had my little baby 1Ls.
This year was hard in so many ways and it’s weird to think that it’s over. I had a few personal struggles. This year made me doubt whether or not I really wanted to be in law school. I would call my mother and she’d have to convince me to finish the semester, then just finish the year. I obviously did both those things, but it was a fight to not give up in the middle of the semester (or week) and move back home.
So how do you get through those moments? It’s easy to get lost and forget yourself when you’re overwhelmed by classes and can’t think of one good thing about school and hate every living second of it. I struggled and I found a reason to keep going.
In the words of my insane Civ Pro professor: don’t let yourself get so lost in law school that you forget why you decided to go to law school. Besides the outstanding amount of loans that I need to pay off, I thought back on my 1L summer at Immigration Project, I thought about my bosses when I was working as a paralegal, I thought about my friends who motivated me to go to school, I thought about my family and the opportunity that I’ve received.
I don’t say blessing often, but going to law school has been a blessing. I am unbelievably fortunate to be here. I don’t enjoy every moment, but I know so many people who would love to be in my position. These last two years have been a privilege and I have to make sure that I make the most of it.
I absolutely know what it is like to struggle through law school. I struggled through these two years financially, emotionally, psychologically, and I’m on the other side of it now. So for anyone who feels the same… I got you.
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.
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. 🙂
I re-read my last two posts about law school. Neither of them are particularly happy. In fact, it makes it seem like I’m in a huge depression spiral of law. That might be true sometimes, but law school has its ups and downs. To balance out my last post (which I really did intend to be a happy post), I am going to write about some law school moments that I would never take back. They’re moments that remind me why I am going to law school.
Three big moments mainly come to mind. This was the biggest. This past spring I had the opportunity to meet the Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She came to University of Illinois and the only thing I can say is #blessed. The first night, she held a “conversation” with the whole campus. People from around the university asked her questions and got a chance to hear her speak. She talked about her personal experiences and how it felt to be nominated. It was also a conversation full of Yale Law graduates, so a bunch of Yale jokes were being tossed around. I’m not a Yale grad, but they were still funny to me.
The next day she was at the College of Law and participated in “Meet the Judges” where you heard her talk even more about her experiences and being on the Supreme Court. Afterwards was a meet and greet for all the student organization executive boards. Funnily enough, I am on the executive board for the Latino Law Student Association. We were the first to meet her and we got to chat with her for a bit. Everyone else on the board was super calm and smooth. In classic fashion, I brought the end of the line and I had rehearsed what to say… but then she intercepted me. She said “I’ve seen you around, you’ve been to the events.” Of course I went to the events. “That’s the thing about curly hair, you’re very noticeable.” We are, aren’t we? Then she waited for me to explain who the hell I was–I choked. I apparently didn’t know my own name. Eventually the ball got rolling though and we had a little chat about mi patria. She’s been to the DR, no big.
There is photographic proof of this. One of the benefits of being in LLSA was that we got a picture with the Justice. One of the conditions is that it never makes its way onto the internet, so no one else will see it. Then we got to see her judge the moot court and Justice Sotomayor is one tough lady.
That day still makes me smile. I missed a whole day of work and had to skip a class–I also had to buy a suit–but it was amazing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she’s an amazing person. She’s my woman crush and so inspirational. She’s the bomb, she’s SCOTUS bae. I’m totally fan-girling.
Beyond Justice Sotomayor, I was admitted into the Domestic Violence Clinic for this fall, which will allow me to work with real clients (under supervision) and provides amazing practical experience. It’s apparently quite selective since only 8 people made it in. It’s going to be extremely demanding, but I am very excited. It’s going to be a taste of what being a real life lawyer will be like, especially with how it is organized. It takes learning outside the stuffy classrooms and give you a real client with real issues where you need to advocate for them.
Additionally, the externship office knows their game and got my pathetic butt into an externship with the Immigration Project (more on how I failed a finding a job like a responsible person later). I will be working under these amazing lawyers who are devoting their time to providing low-cost legal advice to immigrants from a wide variety of backgrounds. They are the only ones that provide low lost immigration aid outside of the Chicagoland area. And it’s right in Champaign. I start Monday and I’m pumped. It’s exactly what I want to do when I grow up. I am endlessly grateful for that opportunity as well.
Good things can come from law school. Don’t let my bouts of depression convince you otherwise. Grades are just one thing, but the experience is another.