down to business

March 28, 2009

Well, it’s just about April, when the semester’s-end suddenly looms, and with it, the notion of finals, which means the end of slack and the start of the real learning. At least, that’s what I’m shooting for.

Last semester, in a magical stroke of scheduling luck, I only had to write one “real” outline. Crim was completely closed book, we could only bring two double-sided pages into torts, and my civil procedure class required a brief rather than an exam.

This semester being much more representative of “normal” law school, I have four exams, one of which is crim and again closed book, and the other three allow any materials into the exam. The way law students deal with this open-book system is to write outlines, usually between 20 and 100 pages of notes and concepts and case briefs and law that ideally help you quickly reference what you need to answer the questions.

Outlining is really no fun, but it is the only way (for the average person) to review so much material and prepare to have to write on any of it. I don’t think in outline, and I definitely don’t take notes in an outline form. I write paragraphs, that’s how I roll, so it’s a process for me to pare all that prose down to the crucial bullet points, the important holding, the overarching concepts. If I start now, by the time late April hits, when there’s just a matter of days before finals, cramming and frenzy and complete lack of preparedness should not triumph. One thing I refuse to do is let law school become unbearably stressful. There’s a reason I’m not a restaurant manager anymore.

In other news, everything with the baby is good. Next month we have an ultrasound where hopefully we’ll find out the sex, and I’m finally starting to look pregnant, at least a little. I had another fish fry the other night – yum! – but lately my favorite things are pineapple, potstickers in sweet chili sauce, and quesadillas with the hottest salsa available.


shocking my classmates

March 12, 2009

I have to say, one of the more amusing things about being a pregnant law student is telling other students about the impending baby.

The first person I told over gmail chat very early on. She is my closest friend from law school, and we g-chatted a lot last semester, venting about classes or asking each other questions about whether a professor really said this or that. So it seemed  strangely appropriate, while I was back in hometown and she elsewhere during winter break, to tell her during a quick chat. A flurry of adorable gmail chat emoticons appeared in response (they really are very cute  , see?). She was very happy and excited, which was really to be expected.

Then there is the shock. Like during the first week of classes, when I was standing with a couple girls I know pretty well, and they asked me if I was coming to bar review that week, and I said, “aaaaactually, I’m pregnant.” And it was more like: and then a delayed, “Wow, congratulations.” (Still looking shocked and confused). Later, one of these girls sent me an unnecessary apologetic message about her reaction, because she had just been so shocked.

Another girl, who I sat next to in Contracts last semester (we bonded over our great love for our hilarious and adorably disheveled professor) was surprisingly excited. She mentioned I was the first person (well, I assume she meant the first person in her generation) that she knew for whom having a baby was an exciting, planned thing, and not an “oops, oh crap” sort of thing.

Then, there are the guys. I haven’t been feeling the greatest this week, and I missed some class. So when I went to class yesterday and my neighbor in property asked how I was doing, I said, “well, I’ve been better.” I also figured he already knew I was pregnant since I’ve been out about it on facebook for weeks, but apparently not. He said: “Well, what’s wrong?” And I said, “I’m pregnant,” and he looked totally shocked: “Are you serious?” “Yes. I have baby-induced illness.” LOL “Well, kudos to you.” Hahahahahaha. He didn’t say anything else. I think I terrified him.

Like I said, I find all this amusing. There are plenty (well, maybe five) pregnant ladies around the law school. But if I were 22 or 23, I’m sure I wouldn’t know quite what to do with my 30-year-old pregnant classmate either. And I suppose, because I went out and drank heavily a couple times with all these people last semester, they don’t really see me as someone who’s 30 and been married for 5 years. And I certainly have taken my return to student-dom as an opportunity to dress like a student again.

I’m kind of looking forward to looking more pregnant, and maybe having a teacher randomly comment on it. That will be fun. But for now, spring break awaits!


Change

March 5, 2009

I’ve got 3.5 hours before an evening program I plan to attend here at the law school. My trial-level brief is due Wednesday, and while it’s inevitable this will consume my weekend, I have dedicated this chunk of time to getting a good start. I’ve got some new tunes (Neko Case’s new “Middle Cyclone” album), the anticipation of tasty dinner at the program, and nothing distracting around but the internet.

Sometimes I need to begin a productive writing session with a little writing for pleasure. And so here I am. Ten minutes to be me. I think I’d like to talk about Change. (And no, Dad, this has nothing to do with our esteemed President).

I like change. I would even say I thrive on it. I am easily bored and enjoy being out of my comfort zone, at least to a certain extent. I get excited about big life changes, like law school. I was never quite sure how to respond when people used to ask me if I was scared about how hard it would be or what it would be like to quit working. Those just seem like silly questions, concerns overshadowed by the excitement of doing something new for myself, for my future.

But this baby thing…. Now law school at 29 going on 30, that’s change. Having a baby, that’s Change. Unavoidable, really, as my stomach grows and I imagine a tiny person turning around in there, as I have learned it now may do.

Last night my roommate and I talked about her and her soon-to-be-husband’s plans on applying to the Peace Corps. In the short time I have known this couple, I can’t think of anything more perfect for them, and I hope they end up somewhere amazing, doing good work, living life to the fullest, all of that. Traveling, delving into culture and society,  doing new exciting things – these have always been my litmus for living life to its fullest. Family life has never been that goal for me. Being married and having kids has never been a destination for me in life.

Don’t get my wrong. Marriage is good. And I’m excited to have the baby, but it’s also a scary thing for my fiercely independent, do-as-I-please regardless-of-what-others-think mentality. Last night my roommate wondered if the Peace Corps placed people in Mexico, I said, “no, not Mexico…. I hope you guys end up in Peru or somewhere where I can live vicariously through your experiences.” She said “yeah, you could come visit.”

Fab idea, I thought, imagining what it would be like to hike Macchu Pichu and experience another new cuisine. A little later I remembered that my freedom and autonomy peaked in years passed, and soon something, someone, will depend on me to a degree I’ve never fathomed.

This all sounds like a sad story from someone who should be grateful for everything I have. I am grateful – for my life and the opportunities I have and to have gotten pregnant easily and so far, without complication. But letting go of that independence is something that hasn’t been an issue in my marriage, and is just hard for me. I hope it magically changes when the baby is born. I hope I forget, at least temporarily, about wanting to see the world and want nothing but to hang out with my baby.