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.

Hmm...do 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 bomb...in 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 asking...is 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.
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.