Monday, October 11, 2010

On Outlining

If you talk to most law students as their first semester starts to roll along, you'll probably encounter the subject of "outlining." It's a topic particularly near and dear to my heart because currently I'm mired in the practice of doing said outlining for my in-class practice midterm in Contracts. Which is tomorrow. >.<

Don't fault me though, I spent all break doing Torts outlining. I've been darn productive.

Anyhow, back to outlining.

It's an interesting paradox that my perception is that most law students produce documents which really don't look anything like the outlines of 5th grade, neatly typed up with happy little bullet points, and a concise 2-3 pages long. No, no. In law school, ones outline is actually a lumbering behemoth scores of pages long, encompassing every shred of knowledge you've managed to accumulate on the subject from your book, your notes, your friends notes, commercial resources, practice exams. When you work on The Outline, you do so with the prayer that successfully making the thing will be equivalent to successfully finishing the exam. All of us (or so I think) at Friendly School of Law grin and laugh at the labor and ultimate product being sunk in to the outlines, but really, just like neighbors who have just watched each other receive deliveries of various expensive home appliances, we quietly catalog each other's new assets and ponder how ours stack up.

In all of my classes, we're allowed full open notes, something of a blessing and a curse. Generally, there is no scenario in which using every resource one could during an exam period can lead to good things. The Law, even the tiny little slivers of it that get labeled and shunted into 1L schedules, like "Criminal Law" or "Torts," is huge. Unfortunately, exams are short. In the space of the 3-4 allotted hours, you could simply get lost in all of the theoretically helpful material that the no-limit rule allows you to bring. Which would be bad. Particularly if you were intending to do other things. Like write the exam. It seems to be a case as if all of us neighbors buying home appliances have unlimited money and can get whatever we like. Which is great, until you realize that you've now got to figure out where you're going to put your swimming pool-sized dishwasher.

I don't mean to say that I think that large or long outlines are a bad thing. My torts outline isn't even halfway finished (which is to say it's not entirely finished for this first half of the semester), but it's already something like 14 pages. I think the incredibly underrated key is organization. If you can actually _find_ something in that 100 page monster of yours, you'll be a much happier camper than if you're busy flipping through the whole thing page by page...

Meh. Nevertheless, at the moment it's not so much a big deal as it is a personal goal to get underway. Maybe I'll be slightly less miserable in November for doing some of this work now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On The Search For Meaningful Extracurriculars

So, sure, everyone likes to have fun. I'm certainly not an exception to that rule (for proof, just watch me playing Halo/Assassin's Creed for hours on end). But this is Professional School. And we have to be ever advancing ourselves towards successful careers in the field of law. Despite the School's Beer-And-Softball persona, we have to go out and find ourselves some Meaningful Extracurriculars.

I have an interest in doing corporate litigation once I leave here, so when I got in my mailbox a flyer for Trial Advocacy Team tryouts, I hastily went to sign up. The task was to come up with a 5 minute presentation arguing any subject one chooses, so long as you take a side. In my attempt to show how clever, creative, and brilliant I was, I put together an argument for why two birds in the bush are worth more than one in the hand. Once I had delivered my opinion, I was asked for a few minutes a series of random questions testing my ability to advocate against natural positions. I feel like I did fairly well, but unfortunately, I found myself competing against the rest of the Smartest Class In The History Of Ever, and didn't get an invitation to join the team. Luckily for me, there is also a Moot Court team, so maybe I can try my hand at some appellate argument and have better success.

I had a friend shake her head at my hellbent attempts to make my way onto some kind of team or Position of Responsibility. Maybe I'm over-stressing over the whole thing, but I don't think so. After an Undergrad career surrounded by other classmates who were trying to figure out the most direct path between them and New York Banking Job, I feel like I have a reasonable view of what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment. UVA may be incredibly collegial and filled with people who have smiling faces and genuinely care about their fellow classmates, but it's definitely competitive. It's a strange paradox that no one wants to be seen as the guy breaking form with the school mentality, but no one wants to be the person who gets left in the dust because they never did anything but camp out by the Thursday keg and play cornhole. It might just be that I'm a 1L, and haven't been properly acclimated to law school life yet. Even though I've been here for only half a semester, it sure feels like forever. Anyhow, for now, one problem at a time: I have a torts practice midterm I'm going to take in a little bit, plus a host of other things to do on my list.

Okay, okay, I'm not Dead...Yet.

So, a few days ago I got an email from an old friend demanding answers. Particularly answers as to why there have been no witty, brilliant posts from me about law school for the past month.

The answer is: Law School Is Freaking Busy.

Now, by busy, I don't mean overwhelming, stressful, and Un-Fun. Just busy. Between, stimulating classes and a lively section with lots of social events, I'm hardly finding time to sleep. Strangely, though, I have to say that while this is a level of busy-ness approaching my most taxing time back in Undergrad, I really really enjoy it.

Perhaps too much. Because I haven't been blogging.

I'll be better, I promise. For now, the blog posts may be short, but I'll do my very best to keep them regular-ish. There's a ton worth saying about law school though. So I wanna get to it. First return post in a minute.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Been a Long Time...I Shouldn'ta Left You...

So, I've been busy.

Ironically this means that there's plenty to converse about, but hardly any time in which to do so. Even now, I sit at my computer, it's a bit after 8, I have a ton of reading to do for classes which probably won't be keeping up with the syllabus yet again, and an LRW assignment to finish. Fun fact: this post will take several hours as I'll be slowly doing my assignments in between typing. Keep an eye out for updates!

Even that sentence has a ton of stuff I could spill out to you, oh bold reader, who hasn't quite realized that you, as a reader of this blog, are an endangered species, and will probably soon be tagged and paired with a fellow reader of the opposite gender in order to procreate and flush out my readership. I would have my people just clone you but I understand that that's still considered rather unsavory in some circles. Also, this way seems to be more fun for you, and I'm all about looking out for you guys. You're endangered.

Now. Onward!

So, Orientation wrapped up well. We ended early enough so that we could get to the first classes' reading assignments, which were, of course, posted online (and in an official-looking glass box in the law school). Back then we hardly knew each other. We were so young.* We all headed dutifully off to our various residences and sat down to do our very first law school readings.

[Pause here to do LRW...






...Anddd we're back online!]

So, you may not know this, but it's about a day later than before the break. >.<

Such is life in law school.

Now, let's talk about LRW, shall we? LRW stands for "Legal Research & Writing." It's our one and only practical skills class, currently. Essentially it's like a scavenger hunt in the library for a pass/fail grade. Our first assignment was simply to find cases relevant to a negligent misrepresentation on an employment reference. Because it's deemed that we should know how to get from point A to point B in a library without needing a seeing eye dog (though that would be an extraordinarily literate dog--and also probably kind an odd ball at parties**), we're not allowed to use computer resources except to print out cases (a merciful gift from our professor, who will let us print to the lexis and west labs, which have free printing). This meant that my "research team" of myself and two other students got down to searching the good old fashioned way: by picking our way through the ALR Quick Index trying to figure out what the heck we should be searching for. you know what the ALR is? I guess most of you are probably not fellow law students. Which means that my law school humor, and insistence on making law jokes is probably going to become confusing annoying or both. You may want to get yourself a copy of Black's. That's a law dictionary, btw. Anyhow, with that done, we simply had to cite all of the cases, ALR references, and a Restatement in proper Bluebook form. Easy right?

No. Wrong. SO WRONG. The Bluebook is a monster wrapped up in book form. No one but lawyers could conceive of a citation guide so detailed it goes into double subsections. So, instead of happily typing up my assignment, I spent the next few hours trying to successfully confirm that I was doing the bluebooking right. Which is ridiculous, because LRW is a pass/fail year long class. Honestly, we shouldn't stress about it. And yet there were plenty of section mates up to shoot emails back and forth to and GChat.

I sleep less that I probably should, every day feels like one of the more busy days of undergrad, I routinely expect two hours of reading per night per class, but I couldn't be happier. I think I finally found something I might be good at.

I meant to write more, but I've gotta read...I'll keep catching up soon.

*I know some of you may be saying "wait what?" "Back then" was two weeks ago. I have news for you. LAW SCHOOL SCREWS WITH YOUR SENSE OF TIME. So does looking, unshielded, into the time vortex. But that's another story....

** "Your petting me does not imply consideration for a contract of human/dog service. Your petting me constitutes a gift, and subsequent care-taking of you, the human, by myself, the dog, is without consideration, as there was no consideration even under the bargain theory, the most expansive conception of consideration, in which something must be sought and given to constitute proper consideration for a contract. Now give me food, I can't reach the table."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Musical Interlude! [Orientation Part 2, and My First Day to follow!]

Read this post to the tune of "Run this Town" by Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye.

For those of you who don't know, this is a reference to the practice "Gunning" (see earlier posts), this doesn't have anything to do with firearms or anything.

Gun This School

Feel a calmin' in the air,
'Cause the teacher's standin' there,
I'm addicted to the gun,
It's a dangerous love affair,

I'm not scared of the cold call,
And I won't be one to stall,
Only thing that's on my mind,
Is who's gonna gun this school tonight,

Is who's gonna gun this school tonight,
I'm gonna gun this school,

I am, yeah I said it I am,
Don't care much for students, think Proffessor's the man,
Forget about the question, I'm not done talking,
Points here, points there, I'm not done talking,

I run my own study group, specifically for gunners,
I would stay satisfied but I gotta one up,
This is my classroom, forget about the teacher,
Talk for hours like I'm a Baptist preacher,

Put your hands down, your question's so whack,
What, you don't look up every word in Black's?
Yeah I'm talking 50 section (A) section (1), Civ Procedure,
Judge reversed your verdict, you'd better reconsider.
Hold up,

School's a game, but it's not fair,
I break the rules so I don't care,
Ripping pages outta books,
Now we'll see how well you fare,

Sure it means I have no friends,
Throw decorum to the the winds,
The only thing that's on my mind,
Is I'm gonna gun this school tonight,

Hey, hey
Hey, hey
(I'm gonna gun this school tonight)

I am, yeah I said it, I am,
I know all the answers, do it like a grand slam,
I should work for Uncle Sam, I should go advise them
Tell them how to run the courts, I should go advise them,

Uh, huh, and ain't nobody smarter,
In all of North Grounds, I am such a baller,
In the classroom gettin' looks from section-mates, they jealous,
Ain't my fault they all just way too under-zealous,

And they ain't getting no grades,
When final exams come, I am gettin' all A's,
When their transcripts blow,
I'll be laughin' and enjoying my 4.0.

School's a game, but it's not fair,
I break the rules so I don't care,
Ripping pages outta books,
Now we'll see how well you fare,

Sure it means I have no friends,
Throw decorum to the the winds,
The only thing that's on my mind,
Is I'm gonna gun this school tonight,

It's crazy how you can go from being Joe Blow,
To being smartest in your class--no joke,
They applaud for me when I'm in Civ Pro,
Next time I'm in Crim, please no photos,

Laughs and snorts, man you don't even know Torts,
I have all the answers anyone could ask for,
It's a short class, maybe I should talk more,
Quibble over commas, for the next hour,

But i know that if I stay gunning,
All these firms only gon' want one thing,
I could spend my whole life "Paper Chase" running,
When I get my job my salary will be stunning,

I got a resume and a Harvard class ring,
As I'll be sure to tell you when I'm talking,
I take limos to class while y'all are walking,
It's okay, I understand--stand there gawking,

Don't give a crap about the drama that it might bring,
I'mma live till I die--straight gunning,
When teacher's talking, I am disagreeing,
Have you ever thought about the point I'm seeing?

What's that, huh? You think I'm wrong?
I'll have your job (Gun!) before too long,
I was sitting on supreme court when I wrote this song,
You think that you are gunning, huh? Too bad that you are dead wrong.

Hey, hey, hey, hey,
Hey, hey, hey,
We gonna gun this town tonight.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Orientation (Part 1)!

Well, the time finally came Monday, and I was oriented to the law school. We were, as you might expect, corralled into the auditorium where we were welcomed formally by all the important folks at the school. Turns out, we represent the brightest class in UVA's history, sporting a strapping 10.8% acceptance rate and 170/3.85 medians.* Here I sat with all of my classmates, who I would be spending the next few years with. Thinking about some of the achievements they had earned (from Abercrombie and Fitch model to figure skating judge) it was hard to imagine them all sitting squarely on the same playing field as me.

After that, we broke into our sections. Because the assignments had come out a bit earlier, I had already met some of my section mates, but now I got to see them all. Everyone seems really nice, and it looks like we're bonding well. Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better set of people to share my 1L year with.

Each section is guided by 6 Peer Advisers, whose job it is is to essentially make life happy for us. After we filed in to the room, we played "The Island Game" in which everyone says their name and what they would bring with them to a deserted island (that starts with the first letter of their name). It was all going smoothly until one kid said that he'd bring a "hydrogen case we all give up."

That's some old fashioned law school optimism right there.

At the end of the day, we all went our separate ways, retiring to our apartments so we could be well rested for the next day.

Haha, that's actually totally a lie. There was an official UVA 1L Bar Night organized by the PAs, preceded by section pregames. I offered up my apartment and had about 25 people over. It was awesome, for the record.

After all this, I found myself this a law school...?

Or something better.

* When I hear stats like this I wonder if the Admissions Deans might have somehow looked at my application upside down. If I ever needed an ego reality check, I can just remind myself that most, if not all, of my classmates are definitely, by some metric, smarter than I am.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today is the Last Day, Before the First Day (of Orientation), Before the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

I've been in C'ville for a week now. Much of my time has been undertaking mammoth building projects, the scope of which probably would be better suited to being farmed out to the Army Core of Engineers. Nevertheless, here I am, and it's the start of a new week, and my apartment is getting close to completion. I still have far too many boxes lying around, and I haven't finished unpacking things into the kitchen, but at least I'm making some progress.

While my comrades (I'm thinking particularly of NewYorker) may be having similar experiences, I can't imagine anyone else going out with as much frequency as UVA Law students do. Coming from a city where I enjoyed going to downtown clubs (real clubs), it's a bit of a different feel going to Collegetown bars where there's a greater emphasis on beer than dancing (a shame, for me). I guess the trade-off is that I spent a lot less money here than doing the equivalent up in NYC for 3 of the past 4 nights.

One part of me looked toward law school as the Great Reinvention of myself, and this planned Reinvention would be going on on a lot of different levels. It's definitely true that I've managed to be a lot more social (I've gotten out and met a good number of 1Ls and a decent handful of my section mates. Looking back over it, though, I dunno if it went as well as it could. I'm a natural introvert, I wind up on the edges of conversations, or without people to talk to sometimes. I generally find myself trying to play catch-up to stay in the social game. I don't know if I managed to really eradicate that tendency from myself for law school. I was pondering this earlier this morning.

Then I remembered.

Wait a second. We're here for Law School. It doesn't matter if you managed to be the most suave person at the bar or not, if you got the numbers of maybe 4 people instead of 15. Once this little unrepresentative-of-law-school-life honeymoon ends, we're all going to be smack dab back in a classroom (which I never really left) working our tails off to do reading every night. Even UVA with its famed beer and softball mentality, UVA Law still is a law school, so when the socializing (which I'm not great at) ends, the academics (which, God willing, I'll be good at) start, and maybe I'll be more in my element.

"I guess I'm just saying I'm ready and happy to be wrapped up with pre-orientation and moving on to Real Orientation, so that we can get back into the swing of things. My motivation is fueled by pressure (and, on occasion, fear), I want to feel like I'm in the (academic) race and I need to keep on my toes...sitting around is getting old."

That's what I told myself when I sat down at the computer. Be damn careful what you wish for.

Section assignments have been out since Friday, and our CivPro class assignment is already up. If I had been concerned that we were all drifting off into the drunken stupor of lethargy, this bad boy just sobered me right up.

I went online to get the assignment, which referenced the syllabus, which I downloaded and printed. Unlike the syllabi of Undergrad, this one was, shall we say, "extra beefy." By a lot. No longer did I get to have neat little lists of short things to read every class, peppered by the occasional writing assignment. Now the game is a 21 page syllabus with a slew of details, all of which have to fit in to 1/4th of my mental headspace by the time exams roll around.

Would I say that I feel confident? Maybe. I've taken enough Legal Studies classes at Penn that I at least understand concepts and terminology. I skim through the first sections of the syllabus assignments and I see "Introduction to American Court Systems" and "Introduction to the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts" and "an overview of a lawsuit."

The Good News, those are all things I know, I think.

The Bad News, those are most of the things I know, I think.

After having parted with just under $900 just for my mandatory books, I have been firmly reminded that the law is very big and very deep, and seemingly eager to swallow me in its clutches. Is this better than feeling somewhat out of place at endless social encounters? Ask me in a few months.

I will say this though: I have pretty much set up the Law School Command Center, and the thing place is sweet. I have a mind-bogglingly big desk, a whiteboard, and lots of space for books. Which is good, because having carried those books back from the law school (haven't got a car yet), I think I'm gonna need all the help I can get.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let's Get It Started In Here

I Have Arrived.

I wish I could say there was awesome music playing in the background as I returned to C'ville and entered my apartment as a full-time resident, but that wouldn't be true as my speakers were all still in the moving truck which was somewhere driving behind us. But in my head there was awesome music.

I don't know if I really grasped how long it would take to fully set up my apartment. It's been a few days (the truck came with us on Sunday), and even now I'm living half in-half out of boxes, my bed doesn't have sheets on it, and there's next to nothing on the walls. I've come to hate assembling anything, but find myself compelled by the insatiable desire to eliminate the boxes which are taking over my rooms. All in all though, I'm very satisfied.

My First Swim With the Sharks

If you were to observe the UVA Class of 2013 boards on TLS or Facebook, you would know that it seems like people are doing stuff every night this week. I and the rest of the 1L class, unburdened by things like "interviews" or "responsibility," have done the only thing which seems to be prudent with our time: Found places to go out and drink (preferably for the cheap).

Yesterday, I was at a place called the Biltmore, which I understand serves food as well as drinks. We were in the back part, which was semi-beach themed. I have to say, I feel like I just stepped backward into undergraduate first year. So, was this what I was missing when I was off not doing all the "freshman-y" things my peers were doing? I got the pleasure of seeing a healthy cross section of  drunkenness, but was relieved to know that most people seemed friendly enough. I had a few screwdrivers from the bar, and played a round of beer pong (this place had a table out back where we were), and drank beer for the first time ever (always more of a mixed drink guy). I wasn't terribly impressed and glad I didn't have to pay for it.

Those screwdrivers did catch up with me by the end of the night, and I found myself stumbling home.

Tonight there is a cookout, which has gained an incredible amount of steam in terms of interest. It started out as BYOM (Bring your own meat), but I think the hosts are putting out a call for whatever people feel like bringing to meet the demand. I went over to the store (taking my first feeble steps onto the university transit system) and bought a bunch of stuff. Having been a host a lot during undergrad and also been responsible for getting the provisions, I know how helpful it can be to have someone else picking up stuff.

Status Update: The Great Unpacking
I'm now posting from my re-activated desktop computer, which has been upgraded to have not one, but two monitors! My thinking was that this would help when I need to both write and read things at the same time (like say, get information from westlaw/lexis and type an LRW paper at the same time). I also really wanted two monitors.

Actually, I have to say that my office (which I'm shamelessly naming the Law School Command Center) is really quite nice. It might be my favorite part of the apartment, though it has the least expensive (relatively speaking) stuff in it. I've pulled together a colossal desk, a still fairly current desktop which I had, my wheezing old laptop which I got at the beginning of undergrad (it was cutting edge then, which is the only reason it's even relevant now), plus a new laptop and mini purchased by way of UVA's laptop loan increase program. I've effectively made it such that if I fail to succeed at law school after all this, it's because I suck at law school, and not for lack of supplies. Hmm...I guess that means no excuses.

Elsewhere in my apartment things are still in boxes, and I have a massive pile of empty cartons which I have yet to break down and take out to the dumpster. Unfortunately the dumpster is one building up against an incline and the boxes can be rather heavy and awkward.

Random Comments (Gripes) From My Move
1.) I hate the plastic containers which can't be easily opened with scissors. It's just wrong. I've already parted with my hard earned money so that you can line your pockets but you insist on making your packages impossible to get into. I've cut myself on more of your stupid boxes trying to get out whatever little electronics you've squirreled away in there, and I've HAD ENOUGH. One day I will lock you out of your house, and put your keys in one of those boxes, and leave you nothing but a dull set of scissors to get them. THEN WE'LL SEE WHO'S LAUGHING WON'T WE?!

*ahem* sorry...

2.) Packaging peanuts. Okay, I get that you want me to get my stuff intact, and I appreciate the sentiment. But please, guys, why not consider using bubble wrap? Bubble wrap is fun, it's easy to handle, and it doesn't take forever to clean up. It's clinically proven that popping bubble wrap releases endorphins and will make me significantly less likely to come to your house, lock you out, and then stick your keys somewhere in your swimming pool which has been emptied of water and filled with packaging peanuts. My entire carpet is ridden with the shards of foam and peanuts from all this boxed stuff meaning that I no longer have the option to vacuum at the end of this thing, I have the obligation. I don't like to be coerced.

3.) Makers of floor lamps. Please come up with an easier way to screw your stuff together. I've never been able to get all of the threads to line up from one of your products. Please fix this.

Nevertheless, I'm Ridiculously Excited
Section lists come out tomorrow morning. It's the start of a grand new adventure.

It's the start of my new life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Forward Progress! Apartment Rentership! TV Indulgences!

I have my keys!!

Maybe it's not that big a deal for you, incredulous reader, but I now have my own keys for my very own apartment! Not a dorm where you have to share a bathroom. Where you have to not only remember your room key, but also your outer door key and your ID card. No, ladies and genuine, I have a honest to goodness, bona fide apartment.

I wish I could say that I ran in, jumped on my couch and stretched out. But, well, yeah--there's nothing in there yet. Or at least there wasn't. Mom and I brought down some stuff to get the place primed for The Big Move with the shipping company. I have now returned home to bide my time until the moment of truth, which will be on Sunday. So far, though, I have put up lots of my favorite posters in my den (aka, "The Law School Command Center" tentatively nicknamed "Twin Sabres."), Mom was nice enough to put down nonadhesive contact paper (for ease of removal later) on all of the shelving (a feat of patience and extreme care--cutting out pieces exactly shaped like the cabinet space you're too short to see without climbing on something is a marvel), and I hung my curtains, which Mom was nice enough to iron. Otherwise, I put away some supplies I had already brought up and figured out my layout a little better.

 Oh, and I also bought a new TV! A person was getting rid of his in preparation to move to a new state (he didn't want to move it or risk it getting damaged. Originally, I thought I'd got an incredible deal, but after searching online, I've decided that the deal was merely great, not incredible. It's a 42'' plasma, an indulgence I was tempted to invest in before in LCD form, but was unwilling to pay the price ($800+ for 1080p and brands I wanted etc.) I bought mine from the guy ultimately for $475. It wasn't 1080p--in that my smaller LCD is better--but I saw the screen in operation before the exchange and the picture was great. After browsing online, I'm not sure precisely how good a deal I got, but I do know it's a good deal. The problem is I don't know the model number, and so I can't exactly nail down what the price would be at full retail/sellers discounts. I do know it would be more than $475, and would have had shipping and tax tacked on, though.

Now, there's nothing to do but wait for Sunday when it all goes South.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Week

Read this post to the tune of "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies.

It's just...One Week till I have to leave
Drive to Charlottesville, pick up my keys,
Twelve days till the movers come, hauling,
All of this stuff that I'm taking with me,
Two weeks and some change until,
I have to assemble it all with my drill,
Though thats 3 days of hell,
It's only 3 weeks till I am a 1L!

Holy crap, the summer flew by,
In this I can't lie,
I say it's almost over too fast,
Now I'm tracking, packing, slacking, cracking, fracking, smacking
My head: because it's almost time for my first class.
Haven't gotten section class lists,
So I must ask this,
Do you know what books we're supposed to get?
Notebooks, binders, folders, mad pens,
Pencils, and things to sharpen,
All stuff I haven't purchased yet.
First things first, for good or worse,
I need a plan to stop, rehearse,
Because, honestly, I don't know what I'm doing,
In merely weeks, UVA seeks,
To make me speak, like I have leaks,
Just spouting legal words,
Like the oil that keeps spewing,

How can I help it if I'm a little bit eager,
Filled with enthusiasm of an ex-Ivy Leaguer,
I know that may mean I'm a little bit crazy,
Don't think that last bit is true? You will see,
In just four weeks I'll be wishing I was elsewhere,
Turns out law school is a whole lot of work,

It's just one week till I have to leave
Regardless of what they say, I'll take it with me,
Two weeks till I'm gone for good,
Take one last look at my hometown neighborhood,
And just a few days left of fun,
Didn't realize summer was almost done,
But I'd say, it's all been swell,
And now it's just 3 more weeks till I am a 1L!

Roll up to Ivy, prepare to check-in,
Open my door and my brain starts tickin',
Maybe I host some law school parties,
Invite the smarties,
And get them to give me outlines,
That might streamline all my study,
Make Review buddies,
"Hey, girl, your notes are so fine!"
Okay so that's a bad pick-up,
I know, so shut up,
I dare you to make a better line,
Unpacking all my stuff,
I wonder if I have enough,
I only brought 100 packs of Ramen,
I figure maybe I'll need more,
In case I never leave my door,
Unless I'm going to classes once again,

How can I help it if I'm a little bit eager,
Filled with enthusiasm of an ex-Ivy Leaguer,
I know that may mean I'm a little bit crazy,
Don't think that last bit is true? You will see,
In just four weeks I'll be wishing I was elsewhere,
I really wish that 1Ls got clerks,

It's just one week till I have to go
It's mindblowing that the time really here--you know?
Five days more left of fun,
Then I have orientation,
Two weeks till the epic move,
Have to drag out all my things and assemble to,
Sorry, didn't mean to dwell, it's just
Only three weeks till I am a 1L.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And Then, Something AMAZING Happened

No, I'm not talking about my laptop loan increase coming through. Though that was pretty important, if not actually amazing. Seeing as I had filed a receipt and not an estimate, I was (am) already on the hook for that $2,500 of computing merchandise which I have so happily been playing around with for the past few days.*

Today, I found out that YOUTUBE HAS 3D!! Okay, so maybe this is old news to the rest of the world. It's perhaps possible that because I'm not cool enough to have a posse of would-be filmmakers willing to help write, shoot, edit, and upload humorous/enlightening/awesome videos of me, I may not be fully up on the modern trends and such. Anyhow, I know now that 1.) Youtube has 3D, and 2.) It has an option that doesn't require glasses!

On 3D enabled videos (which you can get to by searching "yt3d:enable=true") you can select the type of apparatus you'll be using to get your 3D, ranging from various multi-colored glasses (from the cinematic good old days) to the POWER OF YOUR MIND (crossing your eyes correctly). Now, I was never good at those "magic image" books where you had to see the hidden image in 3D. I, for whatever reason, actually saw the images inverted--rather than popping out at me, they sunk in to the page, even more hard to find than before. Nevertheless, this exercise in cross-eyedness is a success for me.

If you don't have glasses, like me, here's what you do. Select "cross eyed" in the 3D dropdown menu at the bottom. Look at the video, cross your eyes. If you remember ever being shown as a kid how you can "make your fingers touch" by holding them apart and crossing your eyes till the images of your fingers overlap, do that. What you should get is a 3rd image in the middle of the two pictures on the screen. You need to cross your eyes till the images line directly over each other. This may take some practice, but stick with it. Let your eyes relax and cross, this may help. Once you get the right state, it will be easier to hold in place.

Now that you've done that, focus only on the middle picture and nothing else. Let your eyes slowly focus in on what your seeing, and get yourself to believe that this phantom image is the real image, that there is nothing else to look at. Let your eyes come into focus on the picture. You may need to sit forward or back to the screen and maximize or minimize the YouTube video. You may also want to make the video as high resolution as your computer can handle w/o skipping.

You are now experiencing the world in 3D.

Here is an example of a 3D vid for you to try on [EDIT: You're gonna need to double click on the vid to see it on youtube, where the video is correctly formatted side-to-side for cross-eyed viewing and other viewing options are available]:

And this video is not in 3D but it's hilarious and awesome. If you haven't heard of the "Double Rainbow Guy" then go here. If not (which is to say, "if you have indeed heard of the guy"), then watch the autotuned song of him by the folks who brought you the Autotune the News videos, below. This has gotten a ton of views, so if you're like one of the people who contributed to around 3.5 million views of this...feel free to watch it again. Because it's awesome.

*BTW, I've finally managed to get my facial recognition software to know who I am more often than not. And, no, I don't want to hear why you think I don't need facial recognition software. You are wrong.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"This is Madness!"

So, I'm drawing ever nearer to having real, actual content to comment on. Which is good, because I feel like every time I wander over here to post of late, I have nothing more to say other than "things are just like they were a few days ago. Getting more stuff. Yay!"

As it is, this is very possibly true, but I figure I ought to come up with something to say: after all most of you who see this are friends and family whom I've convinced can follow my progress by logging on here, and if I don't post you may very well think I might've kicked the bucket before setting foot in class--sort of a preemptive strike. Nevertheless, in my latest haitus I've experienced enough that I can now bring you, oh faithful reader (unless this is your first time, in which I say, "you, oh soon to be faithful reader") my brilliant comments on the obvious.

Concerning the Bar Exam
On most of the blogs that I read concerning (ex-)law students much older and wiser than me, there have been steady streams of posts regarding the Bar Exam. Unfortunately for whatever laziness instincts I may still have left by the time I get to it, if I wasn't convinced before, I now know this: You absolutely have to take a prep course (BarBri) to prepare for the exam. Not doing so hovers between stupidity and suicide, with a heavy bias towards the latter.

Over the past few weeks/months, I've watched these poor, funny, lively students devolve into ravenous, insane were-students, who do nothing other than study, and when time allows, lash out at those around them due to the stress of studying. Luckily, some have been kind enough to develop and send on warnings to those who cannot possibly comprehend the gravity of the test that they are about to take.

I have to say, I find it hard not to believe them. As the truisms go, going to law school teaches you "how to think" not "how to lawyer." Unfortunately, the Bar (what little I actually know about it) seems to be squarely focused on the latter, which means when it comes time to sit down to take the test which will determine if you've just spent approx. $200,000+interest of your future earnings and 3 years of your past life for absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, professional school pricing is based on your expected income post graduation with a license. And $250,000ish isn't exactly the kind of money you can earn with a lemonade stand. If it were, then I'd be going to Wharton's executive education program for lemonade stand CEOs and learning how I can squeeze every last dime of profit out of the lemons.

I've always done well at standardized tests. Indeed, I've actually come to think of them as fun amusements. Sure I may not want to have to be up early on a Saturday to take the SAT for 6 hours, but if I had to, at least I might as well enjoy the parts that weren't too bad. The same went for the LSAT, which was a test made in heaven for me, as it required absolutely zero knowledge of any subject, just the ability to logic your way to an answer and read passages hand picked to be racially sensitive and politically neutral and fill in little dots.

Up until this point, I've never taken an actual class for any kind of standardized tests, but I think my luck has run out, concerning the Bar. Even though some of you might say my ego is uncontrollable, unstoppable, and incredibly charming, even I can't see myself going through, what, 3 days of testing without having spent a long, long time making sure I knew what was going to be asked. Even though I didn't do any more preparation for the SAT than just show up (and take the PSAT when offered at school), I bowed to reason and bought a book of logic games to practice on and about one year's tuition worth of practice tests from LSAC. Looks like I have to give in to the Man, and pay for an expensive prep class after all. Unless some nice employer will do it for me.

On OGI (On Grounds Interviewing)
On TLS, there has been talk about the mysterious methods of UVA's OGI. On some level, I have to say that it's a bit weird to hear people using new acronyms for OCR (On Campus Recruiting), which has been branded so deeply into the heart of all Whartonites. OCR was that magical time of year when juniors (for internships) and seniors (for full time jobs) went everywhere around Huntsman Hall in suits, simultaneously trying to walk about like they owned the place (which is, of course, a lie--Jon M Huntsman owns the place, and our collective souls), and trying to hold themselves together after getting slammed with interview prep and ridiculously time consuming group projects. Nearly everyone did OCR, but with the change in the winds of the economy, people found themselves suffering and facing circumstances which they certainly didn't anticipate when they were reading the "$80,000 median starting salary for graduating seniors, plus bonuses" in the brochure.

Now, it's OGI. Different initials, but same end goal: Be one of those mythical people who actually sets the median where the brochure says it is. After reading that helpful current student's post, OGI looks to be more of a strange, job related, strategy game. There's all the bidding and accepting and such. It looks incredibly fun and mind boggling at the same time. After all, who you bid on is almost certainly an major determinant of who you can get a job with: a firm you don't bid on won't give you an interview. After seeing all of that, I can see why law students wind up being a little crazy.

On A Different Subject All Together

More to come soon.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Oh Yeah! Other News:

I was catching up on the handful of blogs that I've taken up reading and saw this from Legal Alien, which reminded me: "Holy crap I'm actually starting law school in a month and a few days." Not only that, but for the first time in ages, we're actually getting emails from the law school with orientation-y type things!

For instance...

I have a UVA email address! 
It's nice and shiny and had the option of being a Gmail account, which I took, because, let's be honest, there's no email better than Gmail. There's also no business like show business, but that's for another blog post. I doubt I'll ever use the address directly, though, as I've got every email I care about forwarded to my main gmail and the accounts linked so I can send out on them. Nevertheless, I've got the pebble theme up over there, and it's very peaceful. Sharky likes.

I have to turn in my darn immunization forms!
I'm a very anti-shot person, and so I'm none-too-thrilled about the prospects of having needles shoved up my arm in the name of protecting myself and others. I'm also none-too-thrilled at trying to figure out who I'm supposed to call to get records of all of this stuff. I suppose my pediatrician. Honestly, can't we just agree that we'll all not get sick and that'll be the end of that?

I ordered a brand new laptop!
Mine is on its deathbed more or less, and the school requires laptops. As such they have a one-time loan eligibility increase up to $2500 for anyone presenting a receipt for their laptop. Now, I could have tried to be frugal and gotten an economical solution, minimizing the amount of loan increase I would require, but i got to thinking...$2500 can buy a lot of computer. And netbook. And extra monitor.

Right around now, I have to look into trying to get the utilities set up in my apartment, a task which really does signify the coming of a new era. I am slightly nervous though, as I've never had to pay for utilities before, and I have no idea how much I'm going to be spending per month. If stuff gets to expensive I may start staying over at other peoples places for showers, and my apartment will be the ambient temperature outside, no matter how hot or cold that is.

Course Listings Are Up!
Although I don't know what my personal schedule will be (our section assignments apparently don't come out until August), I do know that for the first time in years I will have to suffer class on Fridays. [Moment of Mourning] After so long, I'd sorta forgotten that real people do anything on Fridays--I had always presumed that the weekend started Thursday mid-afternoon when my first semester classes ended last year. I also didn't have class on Monday that semester, I believe, so I also figured that everyone had 4 day weekends. Suppose that wasn't as accurate as I'd hoped. Hmmm...

I don't know too much about the majority of the professors yet, but I am excited to meet them.

Anyhow, that's what's new!

Oh...uh...hi! How long have you been standing there?

So I went away for a little bit to handle some things in Real Life. Strangely, doing so has left me feeling slightly more unaccomplished than when I embarked, mostly because I haven't been on the slightest bit of a schedule.

Alas, I've got a bunch of things to get caught up on/start, like that idea for making a running narrative of my past experiences, a training manual ("MAUI: Black Edition" is coming, I promise! Soon!), my gunnerish pre-law school reading, and DDR. Honestly, what is my world coming to when I can't block off an hour and some to play my favorite games with hyperactive electronic music?

And the countdown to law school continues. One month from today I will be heading down to Charlottesville to pick up my keys! I'm excited. And so is everyone on Top Law Schools.

TLS Forums: Once you go TLS, you don't go...hmmm...nothing rhymes with that...
Never has there been a more retched hive of scum and villainy than the TLS forums, where it seems that every single type-A law student and law school hopeful comes together to talk about anything. No matter how minute the detail, no matter how trivial the squabble, no matter how offhand the comment from the admissions rep, there is always a team of TLSers waiting to respond like a SWAT team to LS gossip.

I, of course, being cut from a higher cloth than those peons don't stoop to perusing or commenting on those boards



On occasion...

Uhm...Moving On
They don't tell you how addicting it all is: the whole law school application and attendance process is incredibly addicting for a certain group of people. Those people tend to happen to be the people going to law school. No matter how much some given student complains about the LSAT, the waiting, the applications, the more waiting...some part of them gets s strange thrill out of it. Perhaps it's because we as aspiring law students are competitive by nature. The law school applications process is nothing but a very complex game which each of us tries to outmaneuver the other in. I have to wonder if that's part of the draw of We love keeping score, and having a running list of statistics on the competition in a heady addicting reality (just ask anyone who sits at LSN for hours hitting the reload button for their graphs in between the refresh button for every status checker known to man).  It's my suspicion that if you asked a law student that was honest with himself and seemed to be truly enjoying law school, he would say that the whole process had some fun moments.

In other news, I need to start thinking about "final preparation" kinds of things, including securing my utilities and buying my books. Unfortunately, there is very little about law school which involves getting money, rather than losing it. Indeed, now I count it as a win if I can keep all of my expenditures on a given "buy stuff for school" day down to a reasonable $100 or less. But when it even costs $10 to have the Undergrad send your transcript so that the law school can know that I didn't make my degree on Photoshop, it seems like that might be a lost cause.

On the Identity Crisis
Fellow blawger idwsj found out that his shadowy identity isn't as shadowy as he might have suspected when, after a post commenting on being anonymous, several members of his section informed him that, yes, they knew who he was. Idwsj made the good point though that it may be slightly awkward for people who you don't expect to to know who you are, but really it's not the end of the world so long as your future high power law office friends can't randomly Google your name and bring up a post titled something like "Bodies of Law: Which UVA Law Hotties Trigger Strict Scrutiny and Which Should be Rendered Undateable Per Se" [note: the first two parts of that joke were lifted from Con Luv, because they took every potentially funny thing I already knew about law and made it into a music video, reducing my already weak material into nonexistent material =P]

I feel like I probably won't encounter too much of a problem with that, considering pretty much noone reads my blog except for the people who know me who I've compelled to read it (like you, Sister of SmartArt).

Anyhow, I promise I'll be back on schedule again soon, and you can all revel in my awesomeness yet again.


~ TheSharklord

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Not too long ago, I was Facebooked by a friend of mine, who I shall name CrazyCanadian, because she is, well, a Crazy Canadian. Perhaps it may aid you to think of her as part frat boy, part socialite, part genius, and part just insane. But in a good way. Usually. When she's not getting me thrown out of places. (Yeah, I'm looking at you. =P) She pointed out that I currently had a blawg that had nothing about law school. In my defense, I'm not actually in law school, which means that I don't have much by way of up-to-the-minute content that some CrazyCanadian some people may want to hear.

At this point I'm sitting in the back seat, playing with my game boy and idly looking up on occasion and asking "Are We There Yet?" I know, of course, the answer is no, because the car's still moving and I haven't caught sight of anyplace that I'd particularly want to be. My lease won't start until the early days of August, and, as such, I'm simply crossing day's off of the calendar, waiting for the day to head on down to The South and pick up my key.

Till then, I've been occupying myself with learning new dishes to cook* (such as Teriyaki Salmon and Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo), spending exorbitant funds on UVA Law Apparel (Under Armour is too expensive >.<), working on my DDR skills, and reading law school related materials turned up by my mother. Currently I'm reading a book concerning how to do well on law school exams.

Despite whatever lack of eagerness I brought to the affair of reading what looked prima facie (heck yeah, I know Latin) boring as heck, I'm actually really finding it interesting. Which is making me start to wonder: is this how gunners are born? Rather than genetically bred to walk among and terrorize the normal law students in some deep dark government facility, did they just start reading up early on stuff and actually start to like it?

I find it unlikely. My perspective so far is that it's not necessarily the acquisition of knowledge or even the demonstration of said knowledge that makes a gunner a "gunner." I think it's all about the way one goes about it. So, while I do find what I'm reading in this particular book to be quite useful and engaging, that doesn't mean I'm going to go and condescendingly look down on everyone who doesn't use or agree with my methods.** I will, of course, be judging you inwardly.

I think that I'll walk in to my first day of class very prepared (after all, I'll have had nothing else to do with the previous 2.5 months). I don't think I'll fear Cold Calling, will find The Reading all that bad (which isn't to say it'll be fast or easy), or will have a hard time keeping up with Class Discussion. Odds are, I'll probably wind up sitting in the front of the class, because it keeps me focused (and goodness knows, the Demons of Distraction on the Internet are everywhere)***. I'll raise my hand a lot and participate because it helps me remember the class material. I'll be doing everything they say gunners do. But I'll do it nicely.

I will be the non-evil gunner. Because, honestly, the gunner who isn't evil is actually just a kid who gets an A. And it's about time I started getting some more A's.

At least that's what I tell myself, as I prepare to scratch another day off the calendar and wait for the end of July.

* PS: Ladies, if you want a guy who knows how to cook and clean and will be future Dictator of the World, feel free to email me at TheSharklord[at]Gmail.Com to set up a date. First 10 women to respond get their name on a country, in Sharky's New World Order. Note: This offer is not valid to SmartArt, RIA, or CrazyCanadian. SmartArt, you won't be able to appreciate having your name on a country as I will have you locked immediately in a dungeon where they only play Ke$ha on repeat 24 hours a day. RIA, you don't need any additional fodder for your already inflated sense of self-worth ("I can't be expected to drive!" "Give me your law school acceptances!" "Buy me a Bugatti"). CC, I feel like you'll just ignore me and do whatever you like anyhow...

** Those who fail to comply with my methods will, ultimately, be forced to live in dungeons after I've established my New World Order, which, more than likely, will be after I graduate law school.

*** Don't lie to yourself. You spent at least two minutes on one of those links before finishing my blog post, didn't you?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tell Me Who's Watchin'?

First off, you should watch this. See if you can spot the money you could be saving if you switched to Geico.

I know the video may be corny and low budget, but as a marketing major I'm drawn to all advertising curiosities. And low budget or not, it's hilarious.

Now, on to other business.

One fond pass-time of mine is to watch the movies. Growing up, my father and I would always watch the new films as they would come out (we still do). I've tried to get out as much as I can to the theaters lately, though this has been hampered by my lack of cash flow. Nevertheless, I got out to see two movies lately...


The A-Team

It would be dishonest of me to claim that I grew up watching the original show, but I've seen enough clips and references to be able to appreciate a remake. If nothing else, I know the iconic opening credits. I have to say, this was a pretty darn good movie. It managed to find the golden balance between the ridiculous and the campy. Also, the A-Team of the movie was lead by Liam Neeson, and, let's be honest, he spends all of his time in movies kicking butt. There are few movies that I would be willing to watch twice in theaters, but this would be one of them.

The Karate Kid

Another good remake. Certainly worth the watch. I had to roll my eyes at some things though...
  1. Looks like Will Smith couldn't kick the habit of having someone do a rap number after the end of a video he was (indirectly) involved in. Stay at the end of the movie to hear little Jaden Smith drop some sick verses with--wait, really? Justin Bieber?! Oh that's some bull... Responsible dads don't let their sons promote or profit from "Bieber Fever."
  2. These kids are wayyyy to little. I think that the kids who were in the original movie were all in high school, so they were somewhere in their teens. Dre (the new Kung-Fu Kid) is 12. It's hard to become engaged in Dre's love interest with a shy and musically gifted Chinese girl when you feel like a pedophile for watching the two of them kiss.
  3. Slightly related to #2: The fighting is absurd. I actually winced watching the Kung-Fu scenes in the movie, partially because the hits were extremely realistic and partially because THE KIDS ARE IN THEIR TWEENS. What happened to the ethics Barney taught us? You didn't see the big purple dinosaur land a devastating kick to his enemy's chest which would be sure to cause a fractured rib and internal bleeding. It was like the original Karate Kid meets Never Back Down. At times the "bad guys"--the lead adverse love interest of the Girl plus his two main thugs--seemed hard to believe, as they came off very much as snotty rich kids. That is, until they laid Jaden Smith out on the apartment playground like he was wet laundry out to dry.
COMING SOON: What I most want to see!

Trailers for coming movies that I have to watch...


When this movie is released in IMAX 3D peoples heads will explode. The CGI is pristine beyond belief. The nerd in me is going into cardiac arrest with excitement.

The Last Airbender

Okay, well at least M. Night. Shyamalan isn't making more horror movies with odd twists at the moment. Based on a popular animated series from--guess where?--Nickelodeon, this looks baller.

Despicable Me

A Supervillian with delusions of grandeur? Doesn't sound like me. My grandeur isn't an delusion.

Scott Pilgram vs. The World

It's a video But not a movie based on a video game. A movie BASED ON AWESOME. The E3 2010 video game trailer for this movie is so cool it gets added too, below:

Enough for now. Let's move on.

COMING SOON FOR GAMES: Why I might trade gaming for sleep as my non-library activities this year!

My other love is gaming. I like games in general, but I don't often find myself willing to finance Microsoft's bid to take back the world from Google by buying games for my XBOX 360. That may change as E3 is currently running and I'm seeing a whole lot of gaming in my future.

Halo: Reach

It's Halo. Enough said.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Because, let's be honest, who doesn't want to shove a hidden blade into his or her enemies sometimes?

Portal 2

The Coolest Game Ever Made RETURNS! And yes, I mean it's even cooler than Halo. SmartArt, I know you think I'm obsessed, but...well, no I am.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Being the car enthusiast that you are, RIA, I expect you to buy this game.

And, because I'm tired of finding and formatting YouTube links, we'll adjourn.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes to Passers By

To whomever found this blog because they searched Doctor Who on Google:
You, sir or madam, are awesome. And have incredibly good taste.

To Google Analytics:
Thanks for making a service by which I can display uncanny powers of intuition and all-seeing knowledge, all by checking stats on a website.

To Nobody:
Thanks much for putting me in the roundup!

To NoMan:
Why did you poke my eye out???

[Law School Journal #2:] Standing on the Edge of Oblivion

Chapter One: Preparation is the Hardest Part

It is the summer of 2009. By some sheer grace of God and sweat, blood, and tears, I’m now looking at a somewhat less troubling GPA. I find myself in a position remarkably similar to last year: I returned to work for my old department, in the same location. My room is not far removed from my original habitation. I am on the internet looking at law schools. My chances, despite my improved GPA, look slim. I begin to stumble across the websites that many aspiring law students find themselves browsing: “Top Law Schools,” “Law School Predictor,” “Law School Numbers.” I refrain from asking too much about my chances: I already know they are poor.

Every year, thousands of hopefuls set their sights on law school. With the economy being the way it is currently, the opportunity cost of getting more education is at a shockingly low level. Nevertheless, the legal market has long  since succumbed to the weight of far too many students coming out of law school for far too few places to work.

It has been a long time since when my mother went to law school. She went to a strong school: what aspiring law students would now call the "T-14." She describes from her experience the school administration could cheerfully promise that everyone who graduated from the school would find a job, and it was simply a matter of determining how cushy a job one would get. Gone, it seems, are those days.

The law school application process is a lot more forward thinking, I think, than in my mother's day. Applicants now are no long simply fixed on the strengths and opportunities of the schools themselves but also on that all important question: Will going to this school get me a job in 3 years? With the costs of law school attendance continuing to rise, pushing the total cost of school shockingly close to $200,000 in 3 short years, plus the weight of interest, going to law school seemed to become a business decision, a risk analysis. Learning for learning's sake was well and good, but only if it paid off with employment. Or at least, that's what I learned on TLS.

A year after having decided to consider law school, I found myself in a better position than before, certainly. I would hesitate to say I was in a "good" position, but I certainly was in a better one. I had worked hard in my classes, harder perhaps than I had ever needed to in undergrad. It has paid off, and I had my best year by far. Now as I sat in a very similar position thinking about my future, I exposed myself for the first time to the world outside of my door. I logged on to

TLS, as the frequenters of the website call it, is a forum for but aspiring and current law students to meet and socialize about all things having to do with school. At the time of my first log-on, I didn't stay long. I don't know if I even bothered to generate a user name and password. If I had known how much time I would spend poring over the forums, seeking to extract the all-important pearls of wisdom from the waves of alarmism and overly opinionated commentary about nothing of import, how it could so easily consume a man, turning him into an obsessive follower of every thread vaguely referencing something of interest, I might have been appalled. At the moment, though, I was innocent. At the moment, though, I was sane.

A condition, I assure you, which would not last.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Doctor Who: My Obsession

This post is about me gushing commenting calmly about Doctor Who. It has basically no law school content. Ignore if you wish.

So, I can't wait to go to law school, but I also can't wait for Saturdays (or Sundays, when I actually watch) when Doctor Who comes on.

There are those of you who perhaps don't know what or who Doctor Who is. For those of you for whom this is the case, I pity you. Essentially it's the ongoing story of a human-looking alien who can travel through time and space in a spaceship which is stuck looking like a police box. A police box that's bigger on the inside. Essentially he just runs around being an interstellar baller. Doctor Who is also the longest running sci-fi show in the world. This is a gross over-simplification, so you should go here to learn the full extent of the awesomness that is Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is by far my favorite TV show ever, as it simultaneously gives me incredible sci-fi story telling, heart wrenching drama, brit-wit, Brit accents, ridiculously awkward but incredible Doctors, and gorgeous/hilarious/generally awesome companions. Now, it may be that I'm a sucker for accents in general, and particularly for Scottish ones, and I have a deep abiding appreciation for red hair, but I think Karen Gillan is amazing. Or I think Amy Pond (Karen's character) is amazing. One of the two. Amy Pond wanders through the ridiculousness that is the Doctor's day-to-day with hilarious incredulity to it all. I have to say, I hope I wind up going through law school with the same attitude.

The Series 5 (which is up to its last 2 shows!) Trailer:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

[Law School Journal #1:] Enter the Law Student


The year is 2008. I have just finished my sophomore year. It is the early portion of summer. I am sitting alone in my temporary summer lodgings: a room in a part of the Quad foreign to me. I have just started my first summer working for my University's Conference Services Department, hired as manager. The weather is already blazingly hot, but the personal air conditioning holds the heat at bay. I am at my computer.

I did not always want to be a lawyer. Indeed, most of my life I had fervently opposed the notion. My mother was a lawyer in private practice. She worked long hours, and there would be some periods during my high school years when our respective schedules would be so busy that I might not see her for days. My mother worked hard and earned little for her efforts. I had spent long days with her at her small office before I was old enough to stay home alone, and had learned then that this was not the life for me.

In the summer of 2008, I found myself sitting alone in my room. Just a few weeks earlier, my grades had come trickling out of the long pipeline that was the final review and tallying of all of my accomplishments over the previous semester. The grades had not been good. A look at my transcript would not have suggested that attending a top law school was in my future. At that moment I wasn't even focused on the possibility of law school. At that moment I was fixated on the terrifying reality that if I didn't manage to make a change, my chances at employment were shot. That in itself was saying something. I went to a strong undergraduate business school, and I started my four year stint with the shining figure of $80,000 fixated in my mind. This was the average starting salary of a graduate of my school.

The figure was something of a fallacy to me: I was a marketing major, not the option which brought with it massive rewards in exchange for massive time commitments. My choice of major ensured that I would have the opportunity to keep my creativity, though I might never reach as high highs, financially, as some of my classmates. Add to that the recession, which by now was more than a notion, and the view among business owners that marketing was a luxury which could be cut in lean times. With my transcript, my theretofore lackluster resume (in my opinion), and these conditions, I was coming to realize that I would be happy just to scrape together any internship next summer, never mind a dream firm job.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what led to my lackluster showing after my second year. I would not say that it was lack of trying. Perhaps it can be best described as an “incorrect application of my talents.” I had spent my high school years doing well: I took hard classes, but still managed to be successful enough to get slightly over a 4.0 cumulative QPA. “QPA” stands for quality point average, a GPA weighted to account for APs and Honors. Perhaps I had always believed that I could manage to do “just well enough” that I could always manage to scrape by. Perhaps I had forgotten that my goal should always be to shoot for an A, and accept a B only as the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps, I thought, I wouldn’t be staring at these C grades.

The air outside was hot. My face was grim. My future looked bleak. Unfortunate circumstances, but an auspicious evening nonetheless:

This was the evening I decided to go to law school.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nice Guys [Law Students] Always...

So I was wandering through my Facebook feed, when a link to a friend and former group-project-teammate was posted up on her website's blog. You may or may not agree with her comments on any given post, but the blog got me to thinking about various topics...

"Nice Guys" in Dating, and Life in General
First off, if one is a nice guy, is it really that easy to change? I would consider myself to be something of a Nice Guy. In general, the people I'm close friends with find me to be understanding, fairly selfless, and willing to listen (evidence to the contrary notwithstanding). Odds are, I will eternally be one of those people who hear "I just don't want to screw up the great friendship we already have." As an interesting aside: Have you ever noticed that whenever An At Least Mildly Attractive Girl Who Is Actually Just A Friend is trying to set up The Nice Guy with the At Least Mildly Attractive Girl Who Is The Love Interest, that the former finds it hard to believe why the latter wouldn't want to date The Nice Guy? For "Just A Friend," The Nice Guy is everything a relationship partner should be (sensitive, caring, understanding, funny, etc.), but if "Just A Friend" and "The Love Interest" switched places, their positions towards The Nice Guy would switch too!

The Romantic Interest of the Nice Guy can automatically change The Girl from "You'd make such a great BF!" to "You'd make such a great BF(F)!" It's like Schrodinger's Cat. By Observing (having an Interest In) the change her. Wild huh?

My friend says in her post that she struggled to decide exactly what to tell her guy friend who was asking about how to meet folks in that she didn't want to taint his Niceness by turning him into a "cooler" but more a-holish version of himself. I have a suspicion that'd be harder said than done. A common fallacy (I think) among (some) girls is that guys "can be changed" for better or for worse. Despite touting phrases like "you can't change a man" they nevertheless try to bend the rules, just a bit, just this once. It's my opinion that it takes a longggg longggg time to manage to change someone's personality: Any changes one sees in short time are simply cosmetic.

But that's enough of that. Back to Law School.

"Nice Guys" in Law School
Does it pay to be a Nice Guy in Law School? In what is described to be a super competitive landscape, riddled with so-called Gunners, is being nice in the Law School World a liability? Is giving someone the outline that you sweated and labored over the entire semester so as not to be driven to insanity by last minute writing stress stupid? Despite what happy-go-lucky movies may say, altruistic acts don't always pay dividends (though if you're looking for dividends, you're exercising false altruism...). I will say this much that I know from past experience. At my Undergraduate Business School, we heard rumors upon acceptance that the place could be cutthroat, that no one helped anyone. Turns out that was about as wrong as one could imagine: We needed each other. We worked together in groups all the time. If you had, indeed, been an a** you would be hated, shunned, and ultimately thrown under a bus come peer review time (as I did to one particularly awful teammate at the end of my undergrad career).

If there's one thing that I've learned so far, it's that to successfully learn the law, you need other people. Whether it's because you're running a study group or you're being collectively grilled by way of the Socratic Method, the law is a complex animal which one person alone cannot hope to defeat. Unless he/she has multiple personalities. Who all got 170+ on the LSAT. So, perhaps for once it's a good call to be a Nice Guy. Because it's a lot better to share the love (and the outlines) and get some in return than to always go solo and be a Gunner on your own.

Because no one likes a Gunner.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Law School Blogging "Story Mode"

As I start to pick through One-L, I grow envious of those people who have enough discipline to do things like keep journals which they can convert into long selling, super popular books among the law school obsessed. Perhaps I should be recording some incredibly gripping anecdotes about how Professor So-And-So systematically broke one of my academic arch rivals through brutal use of the Socratic Method. After all, it's can't be too hard to dramatize the mundane events of daily life," I typed, eyes fixed on the bright laptop screen in the semi-darkness of a room that was already too hot without the addition of energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs. The date was June the 5th, meaning that it was less than two months until I would be accepting my keys to the apartment that would be my lair for the next 3 years of life: my law school experience. Law School...the mere mention of the words sent tingles down my spine. Was it excitement? Fear? Would I be prepared? Would it be me who would provide the fodder for the professors' cannons? Would I be the one who would be crying, huddled in a dark corner of the library, drying my eyes with the pages of a case book that had betrayed me, hidden its precious secrets from me. Why did Law School have to be this way? Why did it have to be so hard about it after all? I imagine writing a good Law School Novel is taking one part truth, one part changed names, two parts summarizing of experiences, and a whole barrel of drama.

Good thing that LS has plenty of all in supply.

Look forward to the first Law School Journal coming to a blogshelf near you soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Everything You Thought You Knew...Is Wrong

"You don't sound like a law student." 

Something like that was what my mother calmly informed me the other morning. I suppose that's not entirely inaccurate. I do have a propensity to ramble on about things, often I fail to get to the point. Perhaps that's something I should work on.

In a continuing effort to become the Ultimate Law Student, I decided to procure the infamous Scott Turow book, One L. I haven't opened it up yet (just bought the thing yesterday), but from what I've heard in passing, it'll be a horrifying portal into the world of a beleaguered law student who is making his way though 1L at Harvard.

Sounds like a fun read!

I can't say that I know exactly what will comprise the book, but I'm sure it'll be dramatic. Another similar book, for someone who is looking for things of this vein is Ivy Briefs, which is more contemporary, and features a student at Columbia Law.

In Other News, Filling the Apartment: I Can Haz Furniture?

After a truly startling outlay of money in a truly remarkably short period of time, I'm truly pleased to be truly receiving the first of my truly awesome furniture. Packed into extremely heavy boxes, I think it'll be extremely fun to set it all up; however, just like Christmas, all of the boxes have to be undisturbed until I arrive in Charlottesville. Dad has been kind enough to not be opposed to securing power tools for me, which is good, because it's probably going to take a day and a half to set up the furniture in the place. There are perhaps some among you [pointed look] who might consider my furniture choices to be extreme, but you were probably the same people who were incredulous of me when I simply decided to install some computer speakers for my PC...Don't judge me. Let me have my super-futon in peace. =P

On the Friend Front...

I should start introducing you to my friends. Though I'm increasingly wondering how anonymous this blog may be (as it's read by so few people that I can be fairly certain that most of you read it b/c you've been referred by something connected to my actual person and I'm not terribly guarded about the details of my life), I will certainly allow my friends to remain nameless.

By which I mean I'm going to start coming up with nicknames for you guys. Eventually I might do bios, but anyhow, here's what I've been up to.

Anyhow, since I've nothing better to do, I've been keeping up with old acquaintances.

Flyboy: The Soon-To-Be-Naval Aviator

Went over to Flyboy's house a few days ago, and learned that I may not be too bad at shooting things, at least with a BB gun. Flyboy has a magnificent backyard--the woods of his town--which though its overgrown foliage, big trees, and copious amounts of poison ivy would make a great place to shoot a jungle war movie (minus actual jungle-climate plant life). Flyboy's little brother, who we'll call Frank, Bill, or whatever else Flyboy and his older brother are calling him at any given time (don't ask why, they just give him random names) went out to a wooden jungle gym that was built out in the woods a way from the back porch and strung up cans at varying lengths, creating the perfect shooting range for me to hone my skills before I descend deeper into The South where everyone shoots things (or so the rumors go). I have to say, for not having used a BB gun before, my aim wasn't half bad. Maybe I should drop LS and start playing Duck Hunt professionally.

SmartArt: The Art History Girl

Have we hung out, lately? No. Why? Because she's been running around Europe looking at museums. I love you. But I hate you.

RIA: The Ridiculously Infuriating Asian

What have we been up to? Good-natured bickering. Essentially that's all we do, it's just defined by the places, times, and methods we do it. A note to you, RIA: 1.) Un-restrict your number. It's confusing to me. 2.) You WILL learn to text message. 3.) STUDY FOR THE LSAT. Honestly, must I chain you to the table? Hmm...I feel like I saw a website for that kind of thing... 4.) I updated the blog! Happy??? 5.) Don't bother complaining about your inclusion in this post, you must be this tall to post comments to this blog. [Holds arm at 4 feet]

NewYorker: The Kid From...New York.

Got dinner with NewYorker after he got of work yesterday. It's something of a tradition of ours, to eat, and commiserate about law school. It's truly good for the psyche but bad for the budget: going to Pod every time one of us got a response back from a school was an expensive proposition, especially considering NewYorker applied to like 50 billion schools.

Anyhow, remember these names and more to come...I'm sure they'll be back.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

I've been home for just over a week, though it feels like longer. The beginning of August is fast approaching, bringing with it the promise of exciting times, as I will leave for Virginia to try my hand at the whole Law School thing. In under 3 months, I will have been long past orientation, and have sunk into the hard, bitter grind that is daily life at school.

How do I know it'll be a hard bitter grind? Well, this handy dandy "guide to 1L life book I got as a gift from my mom tells me so. So, do you say "aww, that's cute, his mother bought him a book?" No. Because the book was just the beginning. Going forward there are some realities that I've had to face:

I Am Unemployed.
I've come to accept this reality as true. I've also decided that the conventional low-effort summer jobs that I would want for two months will not be materializing in front of me. Blahablahblahtheeconomyblah. Looks like waving  my fancy undergraduat degree around isn't going to make it rain.

Because I now have a long summer's worth of time on my hands, said mother has seen fit to make sure I don't just sit around the house ["You'll get soft!"]. And so I received the "How to not fail out in one year from Law School" book. Followed by 3 hornbooks. It's true, everyone says that one should "relax, take time to recharge the batteries" and such in the last summer of blissful freedom. But since Dream Internship fell though, summer bliss seems to be punctuated with ways to mitigate the lost good experiences. And so, I now have the tools I need to master CivPro before I even set foot in a classroom. Or at least know enough to survive my first cold call.

[Sidenote--Expecting me to follow my bolded heading structure was stupid.
A word on cold calling. I honestly don't think it's going to be that bad. I've had legal studies classes before with the Socratic Method, and I really don't find the prospect terribly frightening. If by some strange twist of fate, this record of my life becomes popular enough that some 0L is out there reading my words (I'm talking, of course, before I become rich from publishing this blog.), know this: The Socratic Method and Cold Calling are NOT THAT BAD. Unless you haven't done the reading. Then it's hell.

The key to getting past any irrational fears you--yes you, 0L--may be be having of the demons that are the Socratic Method (SM) and Cold Calling (CC) is understanding the true nature of the beasts. Accept that the professor knows more than you. Accept that you likely will not know that much less than the average classmate you may have. Accept that the point of the Socratic Method is not to be "right." Understand this: any good professor can break you if they want to. Whether you succeed or bomb a round in the SC pits with your prof is simply determined by whether or not they let you walk away with your organs intact.

You may do great in your first CC or you may bomb it. If you did the reading and intelligently attempted to apply it, at least made it show that you did so, you did fine. Did you pay attention to the comments of the prof? Did you listen to the person who eventually got it right? Did you remember how you got there? If you can answer yes to that, then you did fine. At the end of the day, let go of the fear of classroom embarrassment: chances are, half of your classmates are just happy it wasn't them.]

Back on Track--Now where was I with these headings? Oh yeah...

I Have No Furniture.
This means that I need to shop. A lot. Over the past few days I've been budgeting out money that I received as a gift to cover my furnishing expenses. Despite the fact that I've been stockpiling stuff for my dorm for the past 4 years, I have been living solely off of the university's interior design. >.<

Given that I have the money to spend for a nice little shopping excursion, it's been a bit of a time trying to balance the two warring angels on my shoulder: Price and Quality. I've got a firm intent to hold on to my stuff forever (there's stuff in the house from my parents college and undergrad years--heck, I'm going to be sleeping on my mother's first mattress out of law school come the fall), which means it needs to be high quality. Unfortunately, higher quality is tied to higher price, and then I feel guilty that my honest to goodness intents to be frugal for once have taken a tumble again. It's for a good cause I suppose. After all, all of my dorm gear is still good to go, so the whole quality lasts thing must be true.

I Now Have a Totally Free Summer.
Hang on a second...I'm unemployed! That means I can do whatever the heck I want! ["Want" is defined by what I can afford] I have to say, I think there are upswings to this. High School Best Friend is going to be joining the Navy as a pilot in the fall, so I may not be seeing much of him after this summer for a while, but since I'm free I can hang out whenever I want. Today I went on a day trip with another friend to Annapolis at the drop of a hat. I have time to catch up on reading, and entertain no one in particular but you (see, like that personalization??) with this blog. Actually I have a bunch of stuff that I want to do, and this way I have the time to do it. Good deal.


Now, for my Cool Things of the Day. First is a Red-Bull sponsored mega-skydive over here...

What you need to know: A man is going to jump out of a balloon borne pod in the Stratosphere, plummet towards earth, break the sound barrier, and hopefully survive. Go to the website to see the awesome intro video, if nothing else.

Also, listen to this song:


Mmmkay, that's it. Ttyl.
This blog is updated approximately whenever I feel like it. Those of you who expect some kind of schedule will be sorely disappointed, and probably don't realize how scatterbrained I am.

© TheSharklord. Yes, I reserve my rights. Look, touch, but do not steal. Or I will find you.