Today is the last day of my vacation. I’m back at The Boy’s house after spending almost a week traveling with him. Tomorrow I will drive back with the dog and he’ll be making The Big Move two weeks later to join me in our new apartment. Exciting and nerve-wracking and a little weird. More about that to come, I’m sure.

As for the last week or so, we were staying in a pretty rural area. Now, even rural areas generally have wifi, right? The internet in the hotel we were staying at was on the fritz almost the whole time we were there. I will be the first to admit that I have an internet addiction. I mean, I don’t get the shakes or anything, but I’m usually checking my email before I even get out of the bed in the morning and I almost always hop on for a few minutes at the end of each day.

Not having internet for a while was uncomfortable, to say the least. I try to stay connected through my various email accounts. I don’t balance my checkbook since I can just check my online banking account. I mean, I use it for everything! I use it to check the weather and to get directions! We actually had to use a map. A map! A paper map! Who does that anymore?

Anyway.

The biggest frustration for me was that fall and spring class waitlist results came out while we were vacationing. It turned out not to be a problem, but I thought it was like summer waitlist, where you have until 5pm the day after the results were released to claim your spot or it was auto-forfeited. Luckily (I guess), those who were fortunate enough to get a waitlist spot have a couple weeks to claim it this time. Not that it concerns me.

It turns out that I’m almost dead last in all of my waitlisted classes! I have no idea if it’s because I’m a 2L or if it has something to do with the particular classes I’m interested in or if I’m just spectacularly unlucky, but when I’m #73 of 74 on the waitlist, I kind of lose hope.

So not having internet access didn’t really matter, since I wasn’t a waitlist winner anyway. Now I have to wonder, do I just wait until the other 72 on the list kick it? Or will we be all randomized again at some point and I will (*fingers crossed*) move up the list some?

Otherwise, I might never graduate, since I am signed up for about 6 credits each semester, and I think you’re supposed to have a few more than that.

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After my exam about two weeks ago and my paper about a week ago, I sort of lost the drive to do anything. Anything at all. I’ve been daydreaming almost constantly about sitting on a lounger in the shade of a palm tree, listening to waves crash into the shore while tanned men serve me frosty drinks. Maybe with cherry and pineapple garnishes, you know, the kind with little plastic swords stuck through them? Oh God, I’ve just reignited the craving.

You see, law school is never over. Summer vacation? Ha! Summer vacation (at least, the two weeks I get of it) is for re-tweaking my writing sample in prep for interviews and sending out resumes to the interviewers who’ve backed out of EIW and figuring out what classes to take next year.

I did get a chance to relax a little, but there’s always that niggling feeling at the back of my mind telling me I should be doing something productive. It takes all (or… at least, some) of the joy out of relaxing. In truth, I was able to spend a few hours at a beach house. I had to drive half a day to get there, but it was so totally worth it.

Four of us sat out on the beach for a couple hours in the late afternoon. The early August water was the perfect temperature, even though I got my ass kicked by the waves. We drank beer and felt the sand blow against our legs as we sat on the tailgate of a friend’s truck and watched a storm come in over the water. Honestly, it was one of the most perfect evenings I’ve spent in a long time.

I have one more week of vacation before I have to start prepping in earnest for EIW. I plan to make the most of it. So for the none of you who read this, if I happen to be sparse, forgive me. I’m trying to forget I’m a law student, even if very briefly.

With the economy being the way it is right now, I imagine I’m in pretty good company when I talk about the near impossibility of getting a good job. One of the problems with being in law school, however, is that I’ve only just finished my first year and already I’m supposed to be looking for the job I’ll have when I graduate two years from now.

The way it works is that at the end of this summer, I will participate in Early Interview Week. During this hellish (after all, I’ll be wearing a skirt suit and stockings in August) week, I’ll be participating in 20ish interviews, trying desperately to sell myself to a firm in hopes that they will hire me for next summer. With luck, the firm I summer with in 2010 will offer me a permanent position for after graduation. I mean, that’s how it’s supposed to go anyway. With my luck, I won’t get a permanent offer. Heck. With my luck, I won’t get a summer offer.

Actually, that’s not even luck. You see, in a strong economy, I (as a student somewhere smack in the middle of my class) would have a 50/50 chance of landing a big firm summer job my 2L year. In a weak economy, my chances are (as quoted by my career counselor) “slim to none”. (Aside, I do recognize that .s are supposed to go inside “s, but as someone who has done a bit of computer programming, I cannot abide by grammar’s most nonsensical rule.)

As it is, I am hoping to wow some interviewers with my work experience and maybe my cleavage (ha, that was a joke… but really… if it works… no, not really… maybe.) I’m not putting all my eggs in the EIW basket, though. I’m also sending resumes to small and mid-sized firms both in this city and in several cities around the freakin’ country. God only knows where I’ll end up next summer, and then… you know, howevermany years after that.

When I was applying to law school, I thought I’d be bringing in mad bucks my first summer. I thought I’d certainly have a sweet job my second and possibly several firms to choose from when I decided on my permanent home. I never thought I’d look back at my old job (making less than $50k a year) as “the good old days”.

Law school is like training wheels for law practice. I don’t mean that they teach you the law or teach you how to practice law or anything like that. What I mean is that they teach you how to handle your alcohol so that you can be a functioning Big Law attorney. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told by my elders.

In undergrad, I briefly dated a 1L at my undergrad’s law school. He would take a shot of J├Ąger almost every night before bed, just so he could sleep. Often, he wouldn’t have time for dinner or movies with me, but he would invariably call me from a bar, drunk, at least two or three times a week, even during Appellate Brief week. Last I heard, he’s a successful attorney, so there must be something to it.

The law school actually encourages our drinking, having student organization sponsored “Bar Reviews” every Thursday and having weekly on-campus beer and hors d’oeuvres events after class. Not that I’m complaining. Not in the least. I absolutely love being able to leave Con Law, skip across the lawn and talk Evidence while drinking a foamy PBR. (Slight sarcasm there… I think they serve Miller Lite or something. But it’s always foamy, I don’t know why.) And then beginning in December, law firms start inviting students to cocktail meet-and-greets where we all awkwardly stand around (for the first bit anyway, until you’ve had enough wine to stop feeling awkward) asking “So… what attracted you to such-and-such firm? Oh really? That’s interesting. Please remember me when it comes time to hire summer associates! *wink*”

What I was told by 2- and 3Ls during my first week here was that the school sponsors these events so we can build up our tolerance, so we don’t make idiots of ourselves at cocktail receptions. Later, we need to have a tolerance for alcohol so we can be functioning alcoholics, working our asses off during the day (and some nights too) and drinking our asses off at night without worrying about hangovers (you know, so we can be productive the next day). In order to finish law school, you have to give $150k and your liver.

I don’t know how well I’m doing at this part of law school, though. Last night, I got ridiculously loopy on three beers. And I woke up with a hangover.

Remember back in the day, you’d leave school on a Friday and not think about it again until you went back on Monday? I remember being bored in the summers, so bored because I had absolutely nothing to do, nothing to think about, nothing to worry over.

What I wouldn’t give to be bored.

Summer exams are done, but within the next week, I have a 15 page paper to write about a land use problem, I have to write a settlement agreement, I have to schedule two mock interviews and I have to begin sending out resumes to firms who are not attending early interview week.

As soon as that’s done, I have to start researching the firms I’ll be interviewing with for EIW, memorizing main clients, big issues they’re working on, background on the interviewers and start figuring out questions I need to ask them. What should I ask? What should I volunteer? I’m not sure. I imagine that working at any firm is just about identical to working at any other firm – the only differences I’m really concerned with are the people I’ll be working with. The people can make or break a job, but I’m not going to pretend that as a summer or a first year associate, I’ll be able to hand pick my projects. I’ll sit in a room doing document review for hundreds of hours a week. My only hope is that when I go out to happy hour with my coworkers, we actually get along.

Then classes start the Monday after EIW, and I have to worry about writing papers and hoping I get callback interviews and ADR team tryouts and the list just goes on and on and on. Even when I’m on “vacation” I can’t actually vacation, because I’m so preoccupied with what I have to do next and what I should be doing now.

There is always something hanging over my head.

One of the biggest problems I have had since being in law school is not properly managing my stress levels. I have a very bad habit of procrastinating until everything seems so overwhelming that it sends me spiraling into panic attacks. This, my friends, is a Bad Idea. Another result of my procrastination is that I never really know that I’m stressed until I start to show some pretty severe physical symptoms.

I think when normal people get stressed, maybe they get a little extra snappish, you know, have a shorter fuse in general. When I get stressed, I don’t even notice… until I start waking up with blinding headaches from clenching my jaw all night. Another thing I do is have trouble breathing. It’s really hard to explain. I will hold my breath without even noticing I’m doing it. Other times, I breathe in, breathe in, breathe in… without letting it out, until I’m dizzy. It’s almost a physical compulsion, not something I can help, and I don’t usually notice I’m doing it at all. It gets much, much worse when I’m stressed.

While typing this, I’ve already caught myself clenching my jaw and forced myself to relax it three times.

I’ve been spending time trying to learn relaxation techniques, but so far they’ve been unhelpful. Yoga takes up time and ends up being just another obligation weighing on my mind (not to mention that I still end up clenching my jaw and holding my breath (I know, I know, during YOGA)). Meditation is the same way, I have a hard time forcing myself to relax enough to breathe like a normal person and I find myself worrying so much about the time it’s taking up that it just makes me even more stressed.

So far the only thing I’ve found that works is to lay in the bed with my fat puppy, rest my head against her side and pace my breaths with hers. It’s usually what ends up helping me fall asleep at night. I think I might start trying vigorous exercise. Maybe running. I figure I’ll be concentrating too hard on not dying to hold my breath.

Law school itself is a headache. I constantly have so many things to think about and so many things I need to do/learn/read/research, that I find myself clenching my jaw quite often, which leads to splitting headaches. It’s bad enough already, so when a classmate gives me an even worse headache, I must seriously use all of my willpower not to go fucking apeshit and start screaming at them.

One classmate of mine wears a fragrance that bothers me so much, that as soon as he comes near me, I have a hard time not crying and vomiting because of the pain in my head. Unfortunately for me, this person happens to sit near me in every class we have together. I’ve tried subtle hints, I’ve tried leaning as far away from him as I can, I’ve even tried simultaneously chewing gum and rubbing essential oils under my nose so I can’t smell him. Once I outright told him that I get headaches when I sit near him because of his smell. It. Just. Doesn’t. Work. He still chooses to sit by me and wears whatever godforsaken scent that is. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m almost having Pavlovian responses just thinking about sitting near him.

Luckily, we don’t have any classes together next year, but I can bet that there will be plenty of other classmates who just don’t understand that strong fragrances have no place in the classroom. Maybe if I give into the pain and just start vomiting and crying every time they come near, at least none of them will ever want to sit by me.