Archive for the ‘It's my life’ Category

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Some reflections

July 18, 2010

Update: I’ve been warned that my blog has been linked at a site that specializes in negativity. Respectful comments are welcome; however, anyone who appears to be a troll will be blocked. I welcome civil debate here, but you don’t have a right to free speech here. I consider this my personal space and trolls are not welcome. Please be respectful and polite.

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Wow, after that last post, I’m feeling the pressure to write something deep or intelligent…

Hmmm …. nope. Got nothing.

But let’s remember. This blog is basically just a chronicling of my law school experiences, and it isn’t meant to inform or advise. It’s just me talking about myself. Take it or leave it.

I do have to thank Elie and Above the Law, though, for linking to me and boosting the profile of my little ol’ blog. I got over 2000 page views in the last week! Which for me is huge, considering I was averaging around 25-30 page views a day before that. I realize that most of those people think I’m an idiot, but I hope a small fraction of those people like me enough to stick around and follow my journey.

Just look at that page views chart! (Click to embiggen)

And I am totally stoked to be accepted as a MILP, thanks to Butterflyfish! There’s a niche for everyone, and Moms in the Legal Profession suits me to a T. I’m very much looking forward to turning to these ladies for inspiration, support, commiseration, and laughs.

Some reflections on the comments I received last week:

  • I read every comment and tried to reply to most. It was hard to remain upbeat and friendly, but I tried.
  • After giving myself a couple of days to process, the comments didn’t bother me anymore. I was stunned at first, but I realized quickly not to take it personally.
  • Because none of these people know me personally. I asked myself: “Which of these people has my best interests at heart?” None of them do. Every single one was speaking from a place of personal self-interest (for example, what they have gone through). I am trying to take advice where it is well-intentioned, but the mean-spirited stuff is being ignored. Completely. Not because I’m stupid, but because I don’t give mean people purchase on my soul.
  • EPIPHANY: I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I tried to explain, but I now regret it. I don’t owe anyone an explanation or a defense of my decision to attend law school. I want to go to law school, and THAT. IS. THAT.
  • I am an optimistic person and I refuse to let the Eeyores drag me down. I am fully supported by my husband, my parents and extended family, and my friends. In real life, no one has tried to dissuade me; they all believe in me. These are the people I surround myself with, and I know this makes a difference.
  • I am excited to go to law school. I really am. Not nervous, not scared, not obligated. Happy and excited.
  • I’m not scared about “after law school.” I’m as realistic as anybody, but I’m not looking for a job this year. I’m going to school. I’ll worry about the job later. And I will get a job. And I will pay off all my school loan debt. And I will have a career that satisfies me. You don’t have to believe me, but I’m not asking your opinion.

I’m even going to go a step further and be completely honest about this whole law career thing.

I don’t know exactly what it’s like to practice law. I don’t! Apparently, it is a mindless, menial job that requires no special qualifications whatsoever, if I am to believe what I read. Perhaps. I don’t really know. But then, likely none of those people have been a copyeditor either. Mind numbing, tedious work doesn’t intimidate me. I suspect, too, that a lot of people went into law with hopes of “changing people’s lives” or “helping people.” Which is great. I also sense a lot of dissatisfied lawyers have a creative side that is dying to get out, and realized too late that law doesn’t suit their creative needs. I get that. That’s not me.

I don’t know exactly what kind of law I want to practice. And I’m okay with that. At the moment, I’m most interested in Civil Rights — as in, protecting religious freedom in this country. I’m deeply concerned about the attacks on religion by the courts and groups like ACLU, and I want to have a part in defending religious rights. BUT. I realize I may not get my dream job in that, at least not at first. Or, I may have to do it pro bono. Therefore, I am keeping my options open. I’ll need something regular to pay the bills, and I am open to working something less than my dream while either pursuing my dream on the side or waiting for the right opportunities. This doesn’t make me dispassionate, this makes me pragmatic.

I don’t know exactly what the job market will look like in 2013. Neither does anyone else. It could be better, it could be even worse. WHO KNOWS. What I do know is that the status quo is no longer working for me. I am at a place in my life where decisions must be made; changes must occur. I could sit on my hands thinking about it a while longer, but I will be 40 years old in a few years, and I don’t want to be starting my career at the age of 40; I want to start it now. I have no justification whatsoever for continuing to stay at home and putting off a career. This is a golden window of opportunity, and I am seizing it. I chose the lofty goal of law school. So sue me.

And that, as Forrest would say, is all I have to say about that.

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Mom used to tell me this little ditty:

I know my heart, I know my mind.

I know that I stick out behind.

Wait … well, the first line’s great anyway. I do know my heart, and I do know my mind. That’s the awesome thing about being 30-something.

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Fluff

May 19, 2010

We’ve now entered the period of waiting, the time between the tuition deposit and Orientation Week. The only law school-related item I have to share is that I took myself off CU’s waitlist. They sent me a mass email saying “be patient,” but reading between the lines, the reality is, “it’s highly unlikely.” No matter, I’d made my decision. I responded and said they may take me off their waitlist.

Another $300 tuition deposit is due June 10, and I am prepared to make that. Otherwise, I am just taking it easy. I am resting my brain. My intent is to enjoy my “Last Summer of Freedom” to the fullest. I am going to do fun things with the kids. I’m going to laze by the pool. I’m going to read books for fun. I am going to start school refreshed and rejuvenated. I’m making a conscious decision NOT to submerse myself in all things legal or school-related. There is plenty of time for that in the span of my 30-40-year career ahead of me. For now, this summer is designated “me time.” The end of an era, the beginning of a new one.

So until then, toodle-do!

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Not impressed

April 14, 2010

I try not to broadcast to my friends and family about my decision to go to law school. I’m more of a wallflower than a limelight kind of person. I do not come from a highly educated family, and I don’t know any lawyers, doctors, accountants, or anyone really even rich. We hang with the computer-guys/nurses/teachers kind of crowd. (Which is a GREAT crowd.) So the fact that I’m going to law school is big news to everyone in my circles. It’s not expected from me; it’s quite out of the ordinary. And since too much attention, even positive attention, give me the hives, I try to steer away from the topic in social settings.

But word is getting around* and the typical reaction to the news is “Really?!” accompanied by either raised eyebrows or a blank stare. The people who know me best are very supportive and think it’s great news. In fact, with some people, this is all we talk about anymore. There’s a kind of mysterious fascination regarding that ethereal unknown … laaawwww schooooool. It sounds prestigious, but … what is it exactly? No one really knows.

*Imagine my shock upon going to a BBQ for my hubby’s co-workers and being greeted by people I didn’t even know with, “So, you’re going to law school? That’s fabulous!” (I had not gotten in yet. Hadn’t even applied.)

Among my most personal relationships, it’s more complex. My mother is 100% for it. She graduated college at age 39, so we’re in a similar situation in that regard. She went on to become a jet-setting executive. She can only see positive things coming out of my self-improvement endeavor.

With my husband, it’s very complicated. He’s confessed that, while he is immensely proud, he is also scared. Scared that once I become a fancy-pants lawyer, I’ll become too good for him and leave him for greener pastures. I can thank a friend of his for that, as he graciously related his own personal story of his wife becoming a lawyer and leaving him. Her being “too good” for him is likely his own projection of his feelings of inadequacy rather than something she ever said or implied… however, hubby takes it as fact. It’s actually kind of funny, because I’ll have to work as a lawyer for years to make anywhere near what he makes.

But there are three people in my life who, if not dead against my going to school, are at the very least completely unimpressed: my kids.

The question I get from them most is, “Why do you have to go to law school?” Not in the whiny way, but in the “what in the world do you need to go to any kind of school for? You’re a mom.” way. The two younger ones just don’t have any concept of it, I think. In their minds, being their mom is all I am. Which is true in a sense, but I don’t think they’ve given a moment’s thought to how I may be spending my time while they’re in school, or what I’m going to do when they leave home. They are living on the assumption that tomorrow is the same as today. They are living too much in the present to consider the unknowns of the future. (How awesome is that?)

My 11-year-old, though, is anxious about it. She doesn’t want me to go to law school. She’s worried that she’ll never see me anymore; I’ll be at school all day and I’ll study at school all night. And if I’m being honest, my kids are the one thing that make me wonder if I can do this. Can I do school and be there when they need me? It’s my biggest area of self-doubt. My daughter is very resistent to change of any kind, and I’m sure she feels threatened by this change in our lives and routines.

It’s my hope that one day she’ll be proud of my accomplishment and look at me not just as “mom” but as a role model for her future endeavors. I hope that she appreciates the choice I made, why I made it, and how it impacts our future. I hope she appreciates the hard work and dedication, the sacrifices and rewards. As we go through this experience together, I will not be the only one learning. I will be an example for my daughters, and I hope they take the lessons to heart.

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Because law school wasn’t enough to worry about

March 5, 2010

The town of Evergreen is situated west of Denver about 30 miles, tucked in the mountains, surrounded by evergreens (hello) and crowned by a sky-blue lake. It’s become a popular bedroom community of Denver thanks to its close proximity and beautiful setting.

It’s the type of place that boasts a Walmart and a Home Depot, yet few homes are visible to the passerby because they are tucked into lanes and valleys, hairpin turns and slopes. Most homes have acreage, and it’s a popular place for log cabins (or log mansions, as the case may be).

My husband and I have dreamed of owning a log cabin for years, and we have spent the last 10 years or so searching for just the right place. Evergreen is relatively expensive because the wealthy tend to be attracted to it. We bought a 3-acre parcel of land high on a mountain nine years ago, but have never built on it, for various reasons. So we have continued our search for the perfect place (at the perfect price, mind you).

Several months ago, we came across a place that was going into foreclosure. The owner had bought an old log cabin (circa 1960s) and built a new, modern structure around it. Unfortunately, he ran out of money and into trouble before he could finish the project.

When we first saw the place, the price was still too high for us. But, as is common with foreclosures, especially ones with unfinished work, the price did come down. Now, my husband takes a long time to make decisions. Every big decision like this is agony to him. After several visits and several months, he finally decided to go for it. We closed on it about a week ago.

It’s a unique place in that a few remnants of log walls remain, as well as the original stone fireplace and foundation, which crops up indoors here and there. The rest of the house is modern, by which I mean style, not just that it’s new. It contains some unique angles and materials including copper. The colors are a little … WOW. But somehow, it works. It’s beautiful.

But there is a lot of work to be done. There are well issues, roof issues, tree issues, concrete issues, plumbing issues, and so on. That’s why it went so cheap–not many people will put up with all that. But we decided to take it on because once it’s done, the value of the property will increase dramatically. Also, its location is ideal for a vacation rental property, so that is the plan–to put it up on the internet as a vacation rental to help cover the mortgage.

So what does this have to do with law school? Well … the timing. Couldn’t. Be. Worse. Perhaps it’ll turn out okay, but I’ve been crystal clear to my husband: once law school starts, I will not be spending any time worrying about what needs to be done on the cabin. How will the pressure of having a second property mesh with the pressure that law school will place on the family? How will we handle the financial obligations of both? That is what we shall be finding out come Fall.

Hang on tight–it’s a wild ride!

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Life goes on

February 15, 2010

…with or without law school news. While “wait mode” means little-to-no news on the law school front, that does not mean I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs!

To give you a peek into my personal life, here’s a little synopsis of how my February is going.

I am the cookie mom for my 11- and 7-year old daughters’ Girl Scout troops. Right now I am up to my eyeballs in spreadsheets and cookie boxes. To be a cookie mom, the most basic requirement is to be organized. I have the most amazing spreadsheets going. What drives me crazy, though, is that while I never have issues with the Brownie troop, the Junior troop’s numbers never add up! I’m driving myself bonkers trying to reconcile everything, and I think the thing I’m meant to learn from this is to just let some things go. After getting off work on Saturdays, I spend the rest of my weekends doing booth sales. Something like 20 booth sales between the two troops.

So, when I’m not stressing over cookie spreadsheets, I’m working on my fifth grader’s science fair project, which is due Wednesday. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, science fair projects were strictly for junior high students. What the heck are they doing science fair projects in fifth grade for?! Anyway, my daughter was very intimidated by the project, so I’ve had to hold her hand through the entire thing. Luckily, she picked something very easy to do (bread mold), so the only hard part has been putting the presentation together. She sees words like “hypothesis” and “variables” and freaks out; my job is to rephrase the big words into kid language. The good news is the project is nearly finished and we can relax tomorrow (haha).

And last week all three kids got sick. The vomiting all night kind of sick. That was fun. Today, they are perfectly healthy but constantly whining about “nothing to do.” (Enjoy that while you can, I say!)

Oh, and my husband is trying to decide whether he’ll take the job offer in North Carolina. (Probably not.) And he wants to buy a cabin. I refuse to discuss either situation anymore, because we’ve said everything that needs to be said, and he needs to quit stalling and decide already.

And we just had our taxes done.

And we have a new puppy, who is a lot of fun but also still needs a lot of supervision.

I’m not sure what else is going on because frankly, I can’t remember anything previous to these last 24 hours. Life goes by in a blur, and as soon as one thing is done I’m onto the next. It’s been a month since the pediatrician told me I need to get my daughter in for an x-ray, and I still don’t know when I’m going to get around to it.

If a letter from DU or CU came in the mail, I probably wouldn’t even notice it at this point.

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This has nothing to do with law school, but…

January 25, 2010

…I got a new puppy, and he’s really cute. His name is Scruffy, he’s nine weeks old, and he’s a Pomeranian Maltese Poodle mix. Or, as I call it, Pommapoo.

I’m not much of a dog person, truth be known, but the kids have been begging for one, especially my 11-year-old. Hubby promised them one. I said fine, as long as it’s understood that a) I’m not the one getting up in the middle of the night with it, and b) I’m not picking up poop. That’s where I draw the line. I wiped bottoms for a good 7-1/2 years of my life, and I’m through with the poop duty.

Anyway, he’s pretty adorable, and I’m enjoying him. He’s pretty smart–not too many accidents in the house, and he even knows not to go up the stairs. He has a great temperament, which is the most important thing to me. He’s not nervous or yappy, and he loves people, especially kids. Very friendly and hangs out with anyone.

Law school? Hmm, nothing to report. DU was still not sent the 2nd and 3rd LORs, so I sent an email to admissions saying that if they request another report they will find the LORs to complete my application.

Wait, wait, wait ….

Update: DU replied and said they get sent reports from LSAC once a week. So if the report doesn’t get sent this week, they said to let them know. Yet another reason I am liking DU more–they are giving me a good vibe by interacting with me personally.

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From Cashier to Lawyer?

January 9, 2010

While killing time between “real jobs” and school, I’ve been enjoying employment at a famous and esteemed corporation — Target. No, I don’t work for corporate HQ; I’m not even a lowly assistant manager. I’m a cashier, and I make $8.12 an hour.

Personally, I think it’s kind of funny that a cashier from Target has law school as her next undertaking. Of course, I have held “real” jobs before. I worked for a number of years as a technical writer, and later as an editor. But lately, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. It’s a position that I cherished and enjoyed, but now that my kids are bigger, I’m ready to move on to something else.

I took the job at Target initially because I just needed to make a little extra money a month, and I didn’t want something full-time. I also didn’t want to put any of my kids in daycare, so I was after something I could work in the evenings and on weekends. I decided retail fit the bill. Target’s not my first unskilled part-time job; I put myself through high school and college by working fast food and a variety of temp jobs. Strangely (or maybe not), I have really enjoyed my job at Target for the most part. It is definitely low-stress, and I get to leave my work behind me when I clock out. It’s a great place for people watching. It’s a great environment, too. It gets me out of the house and keeps me from becoming too bored.

The best part for me, though, is that it keeps me humble. I may have a college degree, and I may be smart enough to get into law school, but people are people, and I enjoy working with the wide variety of people at Target. Most of the adults are high school graduates, while the younger kids are students. But many of them are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. These are the people who are living paycheck to paycheck, and for many of the adults this is their second job. It’s a great reminder that this is how most of America lives. When they talk about how tough it is to pay their bills, it’s serious stuff. Yet so many of them have such great attitudes and live life full of humor and gratitude.

It’s been a great job, and I pray that when I’m a lawyer, I never become the type of person to think I’m better than they are. I hope I look back on my time at Target to ground me and humble me when I might need it. “Cashier at Target” might not be a great resume booster, but it’s one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had, and it will stay with me forever.