Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ricks v. 1L (with the help of "A New Name For Everything" by The Weakerthans)

Wow. I don't really remember the last time I wasn't anxious about something. This has been quite the life-changing experience. I'm generally one to keep a positive attitude, even when I'm feeling negative about something, but my first 1L semester has made my answers to the most common questions change. "How's it going?" or "How are you?" used to be the simplest question in the world for me to answer. Now I hesitate EVERY time I'm asked that, and my answer now usually is similar to, "I'm surviving." It isn't all that bad really and I'm not unhappy, but 1L has come with many a challenge. When people ask me if I like law school, I usually respond that I do, but truthfully I don't have an emotion either way. It's what I chose, and it's just happening. I don't have time to really stop and think about my feelings about the whole thing, so perhaps this is me snapping in the midst of my studies to take a typographical breather and just reflect. I'm going to steal the words of a favorite song by The Weakerthans to help me explain... because, why not?

"When the bus shelter windows and napkin-dispensers surprise with distorted reflections; it's never the someone you're hoping to recognize." --Sadly, (or perhaps smellily) I don't think I've had my morning routine steady enough to get in a daily shower for a straight week since September. I hold on to sleep for every last minute I can grasp in the mornings (this probably isn't anything new, but the lack of showering at least 6 times a week, certainly is). Hence, I find myself on many mornings quickly assembling whatever high-fashion ensemble of clothing falls out of my dresser, making some attempt to brush, and at least rinse my hair and then I'm on my way out the door. I am often disgruntled as I'm walking from my parking garage to the school to see in my reflection off the shiny-granite walls of a neighboring building that my hair has dried in some funky Mohawk/Alfalfa/Dennis the Menace-esque style.

"When the... borders of night start to give."--Yeah, this is not a new problem, but, for those of you who know me, you'll be shocked to hear that it's WORSE. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I cannot sleep at normal hours. I apparently broke or seriously offended my internal clock because it definitely isn't telling my body the time anymore. It's not just that I stay up late (as I've done most of my life), now I never know when I'll be awake or asleep. It's not healthy, or fun. Sometimes I'll get home in the late afternoon, I'll get dinner, and then after a bit of studying I'll zonk out. Then when I wake up at midnight it's pretty confusing trying to figure out how I should divy up my sleep and homework time. Would someone teach me how to sleep like most humans? Thanks.

"When the one-ways collude with the map that you've folded wrong and the route you've abandoned is always the path you probably should be upon."-- This has less to do with 1L and more to do with living in the DC area. I get lost. This is not a problem I'm used to. Even in Georgia I could always find my way. (Perhaps God was helping me then.) Before moving here I could just check a Google Maps map and I'd be just fine. I'm pretty good with maps. However, DC is a serious conundrum because signage is terrible here! You can't rely on the signs to tell you where you are, where you need to go, or if they do tell you where to go, it's rarely with enough time to get to the proper lane to get there! GPS? Perhaps.

"When you can't save cash or conviction..."-- I've never been in a situation where I have a lump of money that just steadily disappears. I actually am pretty good at budgeting, but I don't like it at all. I go between thinking, "Oh, I've got enough money that I could actually get that!" and "Crap... it's not money, it's debt." I'm a much bigger fan of just having a steady income where I know exactly what I can and can't spend. Trying to stretch my money now is a lot of guess work, and I'm not a huge fan of feeling like there's a chance that I'll just run out of money.

"When the... threads of your fear are unfurled with the tiniest pull."-- It's pretty funny when I'm having a conversation at lunch with my classmates from my section and I realize that there are 2Ls or 3Ls listening in. Sometimes we 1Ls can get very uptight or panicky about pretty stupid things. It doesn't take much for us to worry we aren't doing enough, or could be disadvantaged in some way. Personally, I tend to worry more about big picture things. I don't know if you've noticed, but apparently the economy isn't great. This doesn't help me feel super secure all the time. I can be having a great week and feel like everything is totally fine, and then I'll struggle to answer a question in class or read a discouraging article and then suddenly I'm convinced that I'm not going to make it. I'll never get a job! Of course I know that isn't true. I'll get a job. I might have to mow lawns until I die to try to pay off my law school debt, but the point is that no matter what, things will work out. I know this, but it doesn't take much to cause me a brief fit of "I'll never make it because I couldn't remember the prima facie case for defamation"-syndrome.

"Stand with your hands in your pockets and stare at the smudge of a newspaper sky and ask it to rain a new name for everything. Fire every phrase. They don't want to work for us anymore."-- Words have seriously become very different to me now. Not that I talk differently, but I've found through my studies that there are a lot of words that I've always used incorrectly, been oblivious to, or that I've known existed but never knew of their meaning. I didn't know what "torts" meant before I started law school. I'd heard it a lot, but I had never actually known what it was about. Now I have an entire class about torts. (In short, it means wrongs done by an actor to another.) I learned that you don't get a mortgage, you give one. There are also many words that have differing regular and legal meanings. And there are words that are funny to get away with saying (i.e. bastardy.)

"So put on those clothes you never grew into and smile like you mean it for once."-- I have a lot of events that require that I wear a business suit. I presently own one suit. It's from my mission. It didn't fit then, and despite my addition of a layer or two, it still doesn't fit. I've been meaning to go get me a nice new suit. Speaking of the events that require a suit, the other day I got to feel really intimidatING, even as a lowly 1L. How you ask? I was a judge in a national mock trial competition for undergrads. It was fun! Not everyday that a 1L get's to don a judge's robe!

Anyway, I don't really think this song worked all that well, but it's a good song that you should listen to. Uh...pretty sure there was more to talk about, or at least more interesting things that I should have previously written, but whatever. You already know what I'm like. I'm hungry, so you're stuck with this crappy post. K, see ya.


  1. Thanks Linner. I need that reminder that the debt will be ok. I will NOT go to bed until I'm READY to go to bed! (Haha, I bet you love having the "Go to bed!" fight.)

    The Tylers: Thanks for your visits. And I hope school is going well for each of you.