Monthly Archives: August 2018

Update on August’s Reading Goal

At the beginning of August, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to hit 150 books. At the time I was hovering around 120, so 30 books in 30 days seemed ambitious but doable. 

Well, it is August 31st and I am here to tell you….

….

I am ending the month at 180 books read since January.

On the one hand, I’m really excited about that, but on the other hand, I’ve been watching the number slowly tick up all month so the excitement has worn off. Like, ‘Yup, I did that. Living alone improves your reading statistics, who knew? On to the next goal.’ 

I’ve been tracking my reading numbers for 7 years and this is the first time I’ve broken 180. (Including the year I counted the comic books I was reading in a fruitless attempt to make my impossibly high reading goal. That was a depressing year.)

Law school officially starts next week so my habit of 2-3 books a day  is probably about to crash and burn. However, I’ve still got my audio books and I’m looking forward to see where this goes. 

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Glasses

I used to joke that I sat in the front row of my law classes because I was in denial about needing glasses. However, now that I have glasses, I want to know how I passed any classes.

I love being able to see the slides!


Obscure Books

Bronze Age America
Humor: A Critical Analysis for Young People
Poems of Abraham Lincoln 

What do these three books have in common? They’ve been on my to-read list forever and I never thought they’d leave. Until today. 

Folks, I’ve made the most glorious discovery. Admittedly, it is one that should have occurred to me last year: I have access to multiple libraries through my university. Actually, not just my university, but all the libraries in all the state schools across my state. All mine! 

I started searching some of the more obscure tomes on my to-read list and I have been delighted by the results. This is dangerous, folks. This is power. 


Why I Make Time For An Internship

“Nerd,” chortles my boss, as I gush about my classes this coming semester. “Who is excited about administrative law?”

He is, for one. His words hold no sting. Administrative law is his passion. Any enthusiasm I show pales in comparison to the years he has poured into crafting laws and writing briefs.

Unlike last January, when I started working for him enthusiastically but wholly ignorant, I now know our cases and the arguments used to support them. Or at least, I think I do. My boss loads me down with easily a thousand pages of new cases and law review articles to read to catch me up to speed. Even with my speed-reading ability, this is going to take a while. But I don’t mind.

I love it. I love the mountain of paperwork and the uncharted arguments. I love overcoming my ignorance. I love the dense sentences that take three or four reads to understand. I love it because when I do understand, a whole new world opens before me. I learn why this topic matters. I learn to care.

I love it because I truly learn, a feeling I do not get from my classes at law school. Perhaps it is the institutional nature of school. Perhaps it is the textbooks with their carefully edited cases. Perhaps it is simply the difference between studying a topic in breadth versus in depth. I do not know.

What I do know is that if a professor tried to give me this much reading, I would howl in despair. My boss does it, and I’m delighted.

That’s why I find the time for an internship, for a chance to get out of the law school. If my world only revolved around school and extra-curricular activities, I think I would go insane. Law school may educate me, but it does not get my blood boiling. Working in the real world does. Knowing what I am doing matters does. Working with people who love their work does. It is a reminder of why I am in law school; a shove to get through the next day, the next week, the next year.

It is a reminder that this is what I get to do when I graduate. This is what makes it all worth it.

 


Textbook Prices

Me: This year I am not going to rent any textbooks. Too stressful. Besides, I like books! Why would I return them?

* sees textbook prices *

*rents all textbooks *

* Saves $873,028,2014,678 *


Unpacking the Summer

At the end of my adventures in Idaho last summer, I wrote a blog post where I talked about finding a new side of myself. I, bookworm and indoor aficionado,  learned to sleep under the stars, hike for fun, and white water raft. Part of the appeal of going to Colorado this past summer was the idea of further developing this new side of myself. 

And in a way, it was. I camped. I hiked. I white water rafted. (It is a lot more fun without the raft of paranoid middle school girls.) 

Image may contain: sky, mountain, cloud, tree, outdoor and nature

Yet looking back, I would not say this was a summer of discovery. Rather, it became something more precious: a summer of remembering. 

Image may contain: 13 people, including Heather Sherrill, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Abby Welch, Haylee O'Hearn, Kathleen Mattina, Caroline Adams and Amy Buchmeyer, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Law school is stressful. It is a melting pot of emotions and nuances and feeling like a failure. I emerged war-torn and exhausted. Going to Colorado felt like a terrible idea. As the weeks leading up to my departure became days, I kept wondering if Young Life would really would miss me too much if I just…didn’t go? After all, they’d told me there were two legal interns. Maybe they didn’t need me?

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer, smiling, plant, sky, tree, cloud and outdoor

I knew better than to bail last minute, though, so I got on my plane, read 4 books, and started a truly amazing internship. What made it amazing? 

  • I had work that mattered and that I loved. 
  • I worked with incredible people who made me feel loved. 
  • I lived with 8, wonderful, sometimes crazy women who loved me and took the time to let me know it. 
  • I participated in an internship program that provided mentors, speakers, and a small group that all poured into me and left me feeling…you got it, loved
  • Finally, I got hour after luxurious hour to read and think and be alone, to truly love myself. 

Image may contain: 13 people, including Liz Knepper, Andi Seaton, Kathleen Mattina, Haylee O'Hearn, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Caroline Adams, Heather Sherrill, Amy Buchmeyer and 3 others, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

The theme you should notice is that I was spoiled this summer. I was spoiled because people treated me like someone remarkable, someone smarter and funnier and more pulled together than I ever felt. They made sure to invite me to all their activities and never took offense when I declined to instead stay home and read. I always felt included but never pressured. And considering how many times I turned them down to read, that is saying something. 

Yet while I felt beloved for my reading and bug-killing abilities, I also felt the love did not stem from my personal attributes. I was surrounded by God-loving people whose love for each other stemmed from that love for God. Certain personalities might mix better and certain skills be more praise worthy, but at the end of the day, those things mattered less than the fact that each intern represented someone loved by God and thus worthy of love.

Image may contain: Kathleen Mattina and Amy Buchmeyer, people smiling, outdoor and nature

I was spoiled this summer because I felt unconditionally loved. I was spoiled because I got to do work that interested and excited me. I was spoiled because I got to live in the incredibly beautiful mountains with no humidity. 

I called this a summer of remembering. Why? Because it was a summer of remembering that my worth is not in what I do, or where I live, or what grades I get. It was a summer of remembering who I am when not stressed, not busy, and not networking. A summer of just being…me. Was it hard sometimes? Oh, you bet. But for all that, it was a summer beyond my expectations. 

The thing I want to take away, the thing I need to take away, is that this path wasn’t the most natural, the most prestigious, or even the most sensible. But in the end, it was the most fulfilling. God knew what He was doing even when (especially when) I doubted the most. 

Image may contain: 15 people, including Haylee O'Hearn, Heather Sherrill, Shelby Hoovler, Alexavier Xue, Caroline Adams, Amy Buchmeyer, John Sivils and Abby Welch, people smiling, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

 

(And because I couldn’t find the right place for it in this post, extra grateful shout-out to my awesome fellow legal intern, John, who now knows a lot more about Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, public sector labor law unions, and agency deference than he ever could have wanted, but who always let me interrupt him and patiently listened while I rambled away. Thank you.)


Audio Books

About this time last year, I made a wonderful discovery: the Libby app. This app connects to your library card and lets you check out ebooks and audiobooks. I owe my remarkable reading achievements this year in good part to the app. 

The biggest problem I have is when I am in the mood for an audio book and cannot find one readily available. Sometimes the wait list is relatively short and I get it in a day or two. Sometimes it is six months or more. I’ll go through pages of my to-read list at a time trying to find one available. 

To overcome this problem, I did something quite unlike me: I created a chart. I went through all 933 books on my to-read list and checked the Libby app to see if it offered them in audio form. If it did, I placed the books in three categories: Available Now, Available Soon, Not Available for Many Months. Then I put a handful of them all on hold. 

I may have a 35 minute bus ride to school every day this semester, but I will be well stocked up for the trip!