best and worst

June 8, 2009

This lazy Sunday evening is a good time to catch up on blog business. Although…. I think I’ll post-date this so I don’t end up with a ton of posts on the same day. Thanks to lawful living for the tag that inspired this post.

So let’s take a reflective look at 1L year. It’s been a wonderful and difficult and crazy year for many reasons, only one of them being the departure from my working life of six years to the start of law school. Among the many changes, experiences and events:

  1. I’ve lived an hour away from my husband around 60 to 70 percent of the time, yet our relationship has been at least as good, possibly better than ever. I attribute this partly to the fact that we have less time to get on each other’s nerves about crap that doesn’t matter, and partly to the fact that it’s easier (for us anyway) to appreciate one another when we see each other two or three or four days per week. That said, I’m certainly looking forward to being back together full-time in August, with baby not far behind.
  2. Eight months ago we decided to “see what happens” for the first time in our five-year marriage regarding having a baby. Two months later I found out I was pregnant. It was a little scary to consider pregnancy during law school (images of running out of class to vomit danced in my head last December) but I’ve been extremely blessed to not feel like crap except on the very rare occasion.
  3. A surprise for me this year has been genuinely enjoying the return to school and the study of law. Unlike many law students, I came here with a specific goal (to become a sole practitioning immigration attorney) which stemmed from my experience with my husband’s immigration process and my involvement in an online forum of people in similar situations. So I didn’t know how I would take to the study of contracts or property or criminal law. As it turns out, I really enjoy studying law, and almost all my classes have been interesting to me in one way or another. Being a little older and having had some life experience has definitely been a bonus in this way. I think I am well-suited to study the law, but had I done it when I was 22 or 23, I’m pretty sure it would have been torturous for me. Having a lot more connections to “real” life and being able to relate many areas of study to practical situations has made most subjects pretty fascinating. And the more fascinated I am, the easier it is to study and the better I do (usually).

That all said….

Best memory of 1L year:

This is strictly the best law school memory: Going out after my Civil Procedure mock trial in late November with my classmate/friends for mojitos and dinner followed by a series of strange blue-green drinks. Ha, I’m so old I didn’t know what they were, but they tasted like candy! That would actually be the last time I had much to drink for nine months. I guess it was a memorable night because we all felt like we had accomplished something intimidating and distinctly lawyer-like during our whole experimental civil procedure class, and it was great to go out, relax and just enjoy’s each other’s company before we all burrowed in to prepare for our first set of law school exams.

That memory is closely followed by completing my December 16th torts exam, heading almost immediately to hometown, packing, and then getting on a plane to Mexico the next morning to meet up with F. That memory is not first in part because while I know all that happened, my post-finals brain blocked out any actual memory of any of that happening.

Worst memory of 1L year:

I really didn’t have a terrible experience this year. I’m too old and wise — or maybe conservative (in a personal sense) — compared to many law students to have partaken in any regrettable evenings of boozing or done anything else I really wish I hadn’t. The worst moments were any day in the early fall semester when I showed up in contracts not completely prepared, or just not really comprehending the material, hoping to god the professor wouldn’t call on me. I came into law school hanging onto a deep anxiety about talking in class and public speaking in general. I’ve gotten over a bit more of it this year, but I’m still not someone who thinks really well on my feet, so it always makes me nervous to be unprepared and have to answer complex legal questions.

The other thing that comes to mind (and its definitely more of an experience, not a memory) is the regular sense of dread about the state of the economy and the decision to return to school, necessitating far more student loans than I had ever contemplated before law school. That will be with me the next two years as well, but on at least some level I’m confident things will work out all right in the end.


looking pregnant

June 7, 2009

For the last two months, since I could no longer comfortably wear my regular pants, even with the help of the amazing, highly recommended Bella Band (or the slightly cheaper Target Be Band version), I’ve been asking my husband every weekend whether I look pregnant or just fat. The verdicts are mixed, depending on what I am wearing, although in the last two weeks, it’s become obvious that I finally look overwhelmingly pregnant.

Two weeks ago when I was at the prison (for my summer clinical/internship), sitting at lunch talking to the legal assistant who helps us organize our inmate interviews, she asked: “So when are you due?” I’m not 100% sure she hadn’t heard me or one of my colleagues talking about me being pregnant earlier, but it was possibly the first time someone had mentioned my pregnancy just based on the sight of my growing “bump.”

A few days later I was shopping for furniture with my mom when the salesperson asked me the same question, then quickly following with “I think there’s a baby in there…” I reassured her there was — certainly stopping her heart from racing at the thought that she made have just committed the ultimate social faux pas — and we chatted for a few moments about it being my first child and a boy.

Last week, back in college town, I ran into a fellow student who was in my legal research and writing section this spring but who I don’t know well. We were in the bathroom and she looked at me and said, “Wow, I didn’t even know you were pregnant.” I hadn’t seen her in a month, and I noted how quickly “he” got huge between the week before exams and now.

Two days ago was I walking down a crowded, pedestrian-only shopping street in college-town when an older woman walking toward me saw me, stared at my belly for a second and then beamed at me as she passed by.

For me it’s interesting to have people stare at my stomach, and particularly to have strangers unabashadly smiling at you. No one has come up and tried to touch me yet (thank god) but I’m sure that’s coming soon.

As my doctor says every visit, I’m just sort of chugging along here. I still feel great, except for a modest increase in backaches, and so far it hasn’t been hot for more than two or three days, which this summer anyway, is a huge relief to me. Back to working the 9-5, time is flying and before I know it it’ll be time to evict my parasite and become a mother!


June 7, 2009

I did not intend to take a hiatus, it just happened. First for a law school update, then maybe a pregnancy one, then maybe one about my summer job.

Exams were hell this semester. So much so that I didn’t even feel like writing about it. I got very lucky fall semester to only have one exam where I had to write a full-on outline. We have an unconventional criminal law program at my school including a closed book exam that was a LOT more about using your intuition and applying your moral compass to different scenarios than trying to answer substantive questions about the law. We could only bring in two sheets of paper for torts and there were relatively few cases to learn in that class, besides they weren’t that complicated, so it was relatively easy to study for. I made a standard 40-some-page outline for contracts, the class I enjoyed the most and spent the most time on, only to get my worst grade. And my civil procedure class had a brief due in place of a final.

So…. I wasn’t altogether prepared to write three longer outlines on more complicated subjects this spring. I started early, but was burned out and distracted well before exam week. I had gotten behind in con law and admin, so it was extremely time-consuming to catch up, learn everything and feel prepared for the exams.

That said, May 16th was an incredible relief and I’m glad to officially be a 2L. I had more than a week off between my last final and the start of my summer clinical program back in college-town. I used that time to resurrect my garden, hang out with friends I had neglected far too long, and generally enjoy as much Midwestern spring as I could.