While I fully intend to keep this as closely related to law/law school as possible, I thought I’d allow myself this little side note since it sort of is–in a round-about way–related.

So about a month ago, I went to a local Italian festival and ended up really loving this one band that played.  They’re called Ray Massa’s EuroRhythms.  They have a lot of energy and a lot of talent.  They have a big band sort of feel to them with a trumpet, a sax, an accordion, a variety of percussion, a trombone at times, a guitar, a bass guitar, and a number of other instruments that are used for certain songs.  I think it was stated perfectly in their History:

They have been acclaimed for their ability to captivate the younger “Pop Culture” audiences while simultaneously thrilling established fans of Italian and Swing music.

It is that type of music where you could feel comfortable going with your friends or your family; something in it for everyone to enjoy.

When I saw them the first time, it was downtown, at a large, out door amphitheatre.  There were quite a few people in the audience and the stage felt distant.  However, the band still managed to project a familiar and relaxed sort of attitude that drew the crowd in.  They were funny and personable.  It was, overall, a really great show.  I’d originally gone to see a group of performers that weren’t playing until later that evening and ended up more impressed with the EuroRhythms than with the group I’d been looking forward to.  I bought all three of the EuroRhythms’ CDs and went home that evening to look up their tour schedule.

The only time I was able to mesh their shows with my own schedule was this past weekend so I made a little road trip of it.  I had quite a bit of reading to do for school so I took my books with me and spent all day Saturday getting the majority of it done.  Then, around 6pm, I left my hotel and went out in search of this San Rocco Festa.  It wasn’t at all what I expected.  A relatively small park with a number of booths set up with food and a couple with shirts and little fair-type-souvenirs.  The stage was about as small as it could be with a 8 man band and it was roughly constructed.  I had my doubts at first but the EuroRhythms went on to do a great show and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

EuroRhythms

During their break, one of the members of the band came over to talk to a group that I was sitting next to.  When he saw me, he asked if I’d been at the other show.  I said yes and we went on to talk for a few minutes.  I was flattered that he’d remembered me and he said he was flattered that I’d driven two hours just to see them perform.  He told me that I should come up to the front after the show and meet the rest of the band.

So of course I did just that.  All of the guys seemed genuine.  They were very funny and laid back.  I stuck around to talk and take pictures with the guys, and actually ended up hanging out with some of them for a while.  At the end of the night, I was even treated to an a cappella version of one of their songs, as we walked through the parking lot.

It was the perfect way to end my life.  I say that jokingly but honestly, with school I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do things like that anymore.  And that makes me really sad.  I suppose I’ll just have to make the time for little weekend trips.  I’ve already got it in my head that I’m going to somehow manage to get all of my work done during the week and have weekends to myself…so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I am a very nontraditional student in the number of classes I’m taking.  My school is very flexible, for which I am eternally grateful, and I am only taking two classes this first semester–Contracts and LARW.  That should make life a little bit easier than it might otherwise be…but I’ll still be working from 7-4 Mon-Fri and in class 3 nights a week.

Anyway.  This week has been Orientation.  AKA crazy.  I’ll definitely post about that within the next couple of days.

So until then–

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Ok.  So last night was the end of ASI and I’m actually feeling pretty good about everything now.

The first couple of nights were another story.  The woman who taught the class…well it turns out that she can put on a good show for the “right” people.  And apparently now that I’m a student and not just a library staff member, I’m part of the “right” people.  She was engaging, funny, personable, and helpful all three nights.  She discussed many things:  learning preferences (and how to adapt depending on what yours are), getting “oriented”, generating questions within the context of a case, briefing cases, effective listening and note taking skills, review and synthesis, outlining, time management, etc..

As we were first discussing pre-reading and then actually briefing the cases, I felt a little panicked.  She gave us several edited cases and had us practice different aspects of briefing.  I psyched myself out, I think, and wasn’t able to concentrate, in the classroom, to read the cases–forget answering her questions.

But then, we were asked to brief a case before last night’s class.  We’d already talked about the case and the circumstances in class on Wednesday night, so everyone was pretty familiar with it but still…So I finished it up before the class started last night and mentioned to my officemate that I figured it was crap but that at least I’d tried.  In the class we went over the facts, the rule, the holding, the disposition, etc..  I was pretty much right on for everything!  That was really encouraging.  It was a fairly straight-forward case and, like I said, we’d already talked about it so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but it really did help me relax a little bit.

Next up:  Monday is the beginning of our orientation week.  I’m a little nervous about that.  It’s a simple credit/noncredit class and you basically just have to show up, prepared to talk about different things.  I’m not sure why exactly I’m nervous but I suppose part of it is that I still have quite a bit of reading to get done and I’m going to be out of town this weekend, which will make things interesting.

So tonight we have what is called the “Academic Success Initiative (ASI).”

I don’t really know what to expect.  It’s three hours with a woman who I’ve not had the best of luck with since I’ve been working here.  And it’s not just tonight–we get to play this game all over again tomorrow night and the next.  It should be…interesting.

Part of me feels like this might be a waste of time but the other part of me feels like…Well, if I don’t go, and I end up doing poorly in my classes, I’ll have to wonder if I would’ve done better with the ASI. So I’m going.  And I’m *really* hoping it’s not a waste of time because even now, I don’t have time to waste.  School hasn’t even officially started and I’m already starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do…

Last week I had an email saying that for my LARW (Legal Analysis, Research & Writing) class we had about 30 pages to be read for the first day of class.  No problem.  Easy. But then yesterday I got an “UPDATE” saying oh no, no, no, no.  You actually have 150 pages due before Orientation starts next week PLUS another 100 or so for first class and another 50ish for the second class.  Uh huh.  Oh and in case you thought it was just reading–it’s NOT.  You also need to do the following exercises from the workbook… blah blah blah.  So yeah.  When I thought I was on top of things by reading most of the Orientation book over the weekend, I wasn’t.  I’m actually feeling rather behind now.  Hmpf.

Welcome to Law School, right?

For now at least, I plan to keep this fairly anonymous. But in case someone stumbles upon this humble little blawg, I’ll give a basic introduction:

I graduated with a BA in English in December 2006, with ideas but no definite plan for my future. I secured a full-time job in a public library and worked there from August 2007 to January 2009. Somewhere in the middle of that (Winter of 2007, I believe), I got the crazy idea of going to law school. I bought the LSAT prep books, started to look at various schools, and let myself begin to dream.

As an English major, stress wasn’t exactly a part of my day-to-day student life. I can probably count the number of times on one hand that I felt the need to actually study for an exam. It was my philosophy that if I didn’t know it yet, I never would. In the end, I still managed a fairly admirable gpa.

All of that to say–when it came time to take the LSAT, I was treading on unfamiliar ground, in more ways than one. First of all, I didn’t know any lawyers. I didn’t know any law students or even other potential law students for that matter. So I had no one to talk to or ask about the test. Second, the decision to go to law school was somewhat sudden and I had no real background to prepare me for even the idea of it. The weekend before the test, I was out of town but I was still reading, practicing, and preparing for the LSAT. When I was down to less than 48 hours, I had a minor breakdown. I’m not positive, as I’ve never experienced anything like it before nor since, but I think it may have been a little panic attack. I couldn’t focus my eyes on the reading and it became difficult to breathe. I won’t lie–it was pretty scary.

Maybe all of that means that I’m not cut out for law. It’s a tough field and there are a lot of tough people in it. I’m pretty committed at this point though, so who knows how it will all turn out in the end…

On the bright side, I will have a unique advantage, going into school. At the end of January, I started working full-time at the law school’s library in the circulation department. While this isn’t quite as relevant as working, for example, in an actual law office, it will provide a sort of comfort level that other 1Ls might not have. I’m here 8 hours/day, 5 days/week. I’m getting familiar with the building and even some of the faculty (I’m still not sure if that part is good, though).

Another huge plus in all of that is the convenience-factor. Other part-time students will be driving from their job to the school during rush hour. I’ll lock up my desk, grab my casebooks & notes, and go downstairs to the classrooms.

Of course, I’ll probably be the first to go insane, as I will be in this building for 14 or 15 hours some days. So there are trade-offs.

I’ve been reading law students’ blogs (or blawgs) the past couple of weeks and I decided to jump in with my own thoughts & experiences. As I don’t necessarily expect a following, I’m doing this largely for myself. I’ve kept journals/blogs of one type or another for as long as I remember. Part of this will be, I’m sure, ramblings. The other part, I hope, will be records of my experiences and reactions to the things I’m learning as I progress. Assuming I keep up with this over the next 4-5 years, I think it will be interesting to be able to look back over, from time to time, and see how I’ve grown. Also, if someone does happen upon my corner of the web, perhaps something will help, encourage, or–dare I hope for as much?–cause them stop to think for a moment.