Category Archives: Life

I use my sister as an excuse to eat spinach

Whenever I do something healthy, I blame my sister. 

People: “Spinach as a snack?”
Me: “Yeah, my sister eats kale.”

People: “Did you just eat the skin on that kiwi?” 
Me: “Yeah, my sister does it and she is hardcore.” 

People: “You walk to class every day?”
Me: “Yeah, you should see how far my sister bikes to get to her class.”

People: “Did you just go for a run?” 
JK, I don’t run. My sister does, though. 

My sister inspires me. If Anna does it, I assume it is healthy and I should probably do it too. 

Usually, though, I just use her as an excuse. Whenever I feel people judging me, I mention Anna. “Oh, you think I am being healthy? Ha! If you only knew my sister…”

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Reformation Day Adventures

Happy 500th’s Reformation day, everyone!

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It may only be 9 am, but my day has already gotten off to an…interesting start! I attended a Lutheran church last Sunday but was disappointed when no one mentioned it was Reformation Sunday. After all, this is the 500th anniversary. I assumed every church would celebrate!  An announcer did mention, though, that they would have Bible study on Tuesday morning, “actual Reformation Day.” 

He literally said “actual Reformation Day,” so I showed up to Bible study this morning assuming the pastor would at least mention it. But…

Nothing. Not one word. Not even a very good Bible study, either. The pastor read from the hymnal and that was about it. Afterwards, he let his dog out of the office and the dog promptly peed on my shoes and then licked it up.  No one found this strange. 

Throughout the study, the 20 somethin’ year old guy sitting next to me kept pulling out a legit, cotton handkerchief and loudly blowing his nose. I am pretty sure he had a cold. It added to the oddity of the situation. 

With a such a morning, I expect great things from the rest of this day! 


College v. Law School: Office Hours

Professors’ office hours confuse me. I think I used them wrong during my undergraduate. Either that or Bryan College had an exemplary open door policy. Office hours here at the law school baffle me somewhat. 

You see, during my senior year of high school I read an article that said graduate students should make sure to stop by and chat with their academic advisers on a regular basis. I figured if that held true for graduate students, it ought to hold doubly true for undergraduate ones. In college, I visited my academic adviser at least once a week. As long as his door was open, I marched in and struck up a conversation. Topics ranged from Starbucks ice cream to Biblical restitution to the state of Virginia politics. I went by myself; I dragged friends with me. It never occurred to me this was unusual. I built relationships with all my professors in a similar way, though perhaps not so specifically. Office hours, to my mind, meant an opportunity to get to know the professor outside of the classroom. 

Office hours here at the law school look somewhat different. You go in, ask your very classroom-specific question, and move on. You might fit some small talk in, but dropping by just to drop by is an alien and discouraged idea. 

In a sense, I get why. Even my smallest law school class rivals the combined student numbers of the Politics and History department at Bryan College. If all of us wanted to drop by for a chat, the professors would have no time to do anything else. They aren’t my academic adviser. In the big picture, they churn out a lot of future lawyers, and I am just one more. I get it…

Yet it still throws me. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced Bryan College was unusual. The school set a policy that sought to value each student and each interaction with them. Whether they always succeeded is up for debate. However, being in an academic setting away from it, I am doubly grateful for it. Bryan College gave me quite a sense of entitlement! 

What does this mean for me here law school? If I want individualized attention, I will just need to put a little bit more effort in. I am sure it will be easier to find specific mentors once I have more direction. Until then, it is up to me to seek out the people who can help me find that direction and sit in those stale office hours until I get it! 


Midterm Musings

I accidentally gave up coffee again. I really didn’t mean to, but here a week has gone by and I haven’t had a drop. I used to drink at least three cups a day. There is something comforting in the thought that I can fall out of my bad habits quite as easily as my good ones.

The problem started with midterms. I had my first ever law school exam on Monday. The Thursday before, I started throwing up and blamed a 24 hour bug. By Saturday, I acknowledged that it was probably nerves (and possibly coffee withdrawal.) I remained nauseous through Tuesday morning.

I have never been someone with test anxiety so it is rather embarrassing to experience it now. I find it perfectly understandable that someone else might be nervous, but me? The thought takes me down a peg.

Or six.

So goes law school. I want to blog more but attending law school is a lot like walking fast up a steep hill in high heels. I know I am getting somewhere, and I will have great calves when I get there, but in the moment I am afraid that if I try and talk about it, all you will hear are my gasps and sobs. 

My brain knows that this all part of a bigger process, but I am not sure my heart does yet. I am broken down to be built up. I will eventually reach the top of the hill and it will be worth it. However, here in the weeds, it is easy to forget that. Emotionally I feel drained. My habits, good and bad, are erratic and the thought of quitting crosses my mind at least once a day. I feel socially isolated and academically unmotivated. The future seems dim and uncertain. I have always been the girl with a goal, now my goals shift and flutter and fall apart. 

Everyone tells me that I am normal, that this is just the way law school is. Sometimes that knowledge helps, sometimes not. After all, I did not come here to be everyone else. Yet, at the same time, it is comforting. The faculty and staff here get it. They went through this. The 2 and 3Ls may smirk knowingly, but at the end of the day, they survived. I will too. 

Amidst my  angst and uncertainty, there still remains an unshakable confidence. I like being here. I am happy. I am challenged. I don’t want to quit (usually.) The law is fun and I am learning interesting things. This is a world I enjoy being part of. I like the fast-paced learning style and the substantial amount of stuff I know now that I did not know two months ago. I can see my progress quite easily.

The disconnect comes when I turn around and try to see my future. People at the law school always ask me what kind of law I want to practice, and then tell me that no one actually knows anyway, so if you do know, you don’t know, so don’t stress. Simple, right? If only. It is a weird mix of “don’t have a plan” but simultaneously “try everything so you can make a plan.” Oh, but also, “don’t overwhelm yourself.” Yet while not overwhelming yourself, “MAKE SURE YOU GET GOOD GRADES.” Ahhhh, but there is a curve, so statistically, you won’t make good grades. But that is okay, because everybody gets a job eventually. (Probably.) Now go figure out what kind of law you want to practice, so that you can network in that area. But remember, don’t have a plan.  

Is it any wonder the law is full of alcoholics? 

In this mess, I got nauseous and stressed and accidentally gave up coffee. Now I think I should make a concerted effort to stay off it. The last thing I need is another stimulus. We’ll see how long this good intention lasts!  With the way life has been going, I may be downing six cups tomorrow. 

I think I will make it a little longer than that, though. 


A Delightful Day

I think Tuesday/Thursdays are going to be my favorite days. At least, today turned out to be really fun. Here are some highlights: 

  • On my way to school, a homeless man told me I was beautiful! (In full disclosure, he also asked me for apple juice so he might have been just buttering me up.) 
  • I made a new friend! (Not the homeless man, though he did ask for my number.) 
  • I got free pizza at lunch.
  • I won a Starbucks gift card! (Won might be too strong a word. I was given it because I got cold called on twice my first day of classes and the lady at the Lexis Advance training was very sympathetic.) 
  • I wore my hair in a low bun all day and it STAYED! (Yay perms!) 
  • I read a book for fun between classes called Loyalty and Legislative Action: A Survey of Activity by the New York State Legislature 1919-1949 by Lawrence H. Chamberlain and it was so unexpectedly good I gave it 5 stars. 
  • My roommate bought me KIMCHI so I got to eat that with my dinner.  

All in all, a delightful day. 


A Summer of Camp

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I am currently flopped on my bedroom floor staring at pictures from camp and trying not to cry. It is an unnerving experience. I didn’t expect this sudden, unexpected influx of emotion. Camp was wonderful, but come August, I was ready to leave. I arrived desperate for a break and camp gave me just that. It gave me time to recharge and refocus. By the end of the summer, I felt energized and eager to tackle the world (or at least, law school.) I was ready to go. 

Biking

Perhaps because of this readiness, I didn’t mourn leaving too much. I knew I would miss several of my fellow staff members, but I’ve said goodbye to people before. It was a great summer but one that had now come to an end. I was happy to stick all my emotions and thoughts into a “Summer 2017” box and move on with life. 

mountain view

I guess, though, that I should have realized that a summer like I experienced needs to be processed through. It needs to be remembered. The good, the bad, the fun, and the painful…all those things are valid and part of my experience. White water rafting, hiking, horseback riding and big base kickball, those are things I did. Me! The girl who previously ranked hiking alongside cavities, or rush hour traffic. 

Hiking

Turns out, I really like mountain biking and kayaking. I love the mountains. I’m not half bad with kids (though I’ll never be an elementary school teacher!) I really like Idaho and Montana. I proudly wear Chacos. You know, before leaving I wrote a blog post where I said, “At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m also excited to find a new side of myself.” Turns out, I did!

Eating

Camp was everything I hoped it would be and more. I found a new side of myself. I relaxed. I was challenged. I made friends. I learned to live more freely and more fully in the moment. Going forward, my hope is that the lessons I learned and the peace I experienced over the summer will stay with me. God is good. It was wonderful to be daily reminded of that this summer. Whether in the mountains of Idaho or the streets of Madison, may I always remember that God is at work and that He will accomplish great things. 

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(Photo Credit goes to Joe Jank who did an amazing job with pictures this summer)


The Overabundant Emotions of Orientation

What a week it has been! 

Orientations are always a little awkward. New school, new place, new people. I find it extremely stressful. As a rule, I like people. However, the balancing act of making a good first impression (over and over and over again), while scouting potential friends and study buddies, while also attempting to find the bathroom is a little bit too much for me. By the end of the day, I’m exhausted and frustrated and convinced everything went horrendously wrong. Then I wake up the next morning and discover that the world has not, in fact, ended and that I’m energized and ready to try again. After all, it has only been 24 hours. New friends, here I come. 

But it is hard to make friends. First strangers must become acquaintances, and then acquaintances must be developed and nurtured into friends. This can take time. I want immediacy. Frustration creeps in. I start to convince myself that I am not going to make any friends, that I’m isolated…and then I remember. I only met these people 48 hours ago. I need to give it time. 

But you see, it doesn’t feel like 48 hours. It feels like a lifetime. By the end of the day I’m exhausted. I don’t want to attend the optional, evening events my classmates are attending. I don’t want to join them as they go from bar to bar. Their idea of a good time is not my idea of a good time. I start worrying that they will all bond without me but I’m just Too. Dang. Tired. to care. I need alone time to put things back into perspective. It has only been 72 hours. I have 3 years to make friends. 

And so I stress myself out. I worry that I should be more social and then I worry because I don’t want to be social. I’m tired of small talk but I want what small talk can eventually brings…deep conversations. 

How to describe orientation? Bewildering and isolating. And yet…there are those moments that make it worth it. Like exploring the library. I’m so excited about the law library. I could (and probably will!) spend hours down there. There are so many books with dry sounding titles that make my mouth water. I’m so eager to dig into legal theory and jurisprudence that it will be a struggle to prioritize my actual studies of contracts and civil procedures.  I’m not worried though. Those things fascinate me too. I’m going to take advantage of this legal education. 

The law librarians also make orientation better. They are wonderful. So are the professors I’ve met. I can’t wait for them to start keeping office hours so I can drop by and talk. It is hard to stay discouraged when I feel so confident about what I’m doing. The law is definitely the subject for me! The more I hear, the more encouraged I am. I am more and more convinced that this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. 

Friends will come. When not overtired, I’m confident in this too. It will just take time. After all, I have only known them for 4 days.

That is my week in a nutshell. Don’t worry, I’m not nearly as emotionally unstable as I sound! I’m just impatient (and prone to dramatics.) Classes start Wednesday and they are going to be awesome. Blogging is very cathartic. I remember why I used to do this every day. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me more consistently!