Category Archives: wisconsin

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. 

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Badger Game!

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I had a BLAST today at the Badger Game with my brother! Who knew football could be so fun to watch? 


Interactions With Loquacious, Linguistic Stranger

Today’s adventure in stranger danger brought to you by the Madison Public Library. 

Frankly, I consider it remarkable self control that I have been in Madison almost 3 weeks and yet managed to resist visiting the public library until today. (If you want something even more incredible, I spent an hour there and didn’t leave with a single book.) However, today I broke down and decided a trip to the library was in order. 

The visit started off normally. I picked up my library card, checked out the Young Adult section (disappointing), and was pleasantly surprised by the Adult Fiction selection (so many Georgette Heyer books! And mysteries!) My meandering eventually led me to the foreign language section. The Madison Public Library has an impressive selection of foreign language material, ranging from Czech and Yiddish to Russian and Mandarin Chinese. I was standing there admiring it when a guy somewhere in his mid 20’s came rushing around the corner. At first glance I assumed he was just really eager to find a book. Then he said, 

“Ahhhhh, ummm, are you looking for anything in particular?” 

He didn’t look like a librarian, so I just smiled politely and told him I was ‘just browsing.’

“Ahhh….yes….” a long pause, “I’m teaching myself German.” 

I must have smiled or in someway acknowledged this remark because, after another pause, he rushed on. “Ah, I have already taught myself Norwegian and French. I mean Portuguese.  Eventually I am going to learn Greek and Lithuanian and French and…and Latin.” 

Feeling this sudden confession deserved a response, I responded, “This library has a very large selection. I am sure that helps.” 

“It does! They have so many languages.” And he proceeded to list all of the ones around us. “Oh, by the way, I’m Dave.” 

“Amy,” I said, wondering where all this was going. Was he going to try and sell me something? 

“Yes…ahh, nice to meet you. This is a very good section. Look, they even have Yiddish. And Japanese. Lots of novels in Japanese.  I went to college in Oshkosh. I took Spanish there. Like two years of it. I’ve lived in Madison two years. Oh look, there is Hindi.” 

He continued to ramble, primarily about languages. He told me he considered learning languages on his own way more efficient than learning it in a class, because this way he didn’t have to take quizzes. He mentioned an interest in Italian. This went on for at least ten minutes. By this point, I realized he probably wasn’t trying to sell me anything and he definitely didn’t work for the library. I found his linguistic claims doubtful but listened politely. Looking back now, the situation doesn’t seem at all that intimidating (if anything, rather funny) but I felt uncomfortable and decided to trust my gut. I told him I was headed downstairs to look at the children’s section. He offered to show me the way and as soon as possible, I slipped out of the building. 

And so for the second time in two days, I have had an unusual run-in with a complete stranger. I wonder if it will ever stop being a little weird? It is hard to find a balance between wariness and warmth.  I want to be approachable, and yet I also want to be smart about it.


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. 


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! 


Hello, Madison!

It has been a long time since I have updated, but that doesn’t mean my life hasn’t been full of crazy, exciting changes! I am excited to announce that this Fall I will be attending the University of Wisconsin’s Law School.

I had a peaceful, wonderful summer working in Idaho and hopefully that will be the topic of my next blog post (once I have consistent internet.)

Until then, I will happily fangirl about this new opportunity. I am so EXCITED to go to law school! Becoming a lawyer has been my goal and dream for 18 years. The longer I am here, the more it dawns on me that this is really happening. I am finally here. Orientation hasn’t even started yet and I think I might burst from happiness. Imagine when it does! That is why I am getting this post out now, in case I combust from enthusiasm.

I am excited. I am excited for textbooks and assigned readings and class discussions. I am excited to meet my professors and talk with other academic minds. I am excited for structured learning. This is going to be fun!

This buoyancy inside my soul heartens me. I wasn’t really feeling it until I got here. I could logically list all the reasons for going, but my emotions weren’t behind it yet. As an emotionally driven person (ENFP, y’all), that worried me. However, I should have realized it would come once I got here. I love school. I love books. And you know, I might even come to love Madison.

When my parents were dropping me off for my undergrad in Tennessee, a beat up pickup truck flying a Confederate flag passed us on the road and the driver promptly spat out a wad of tobacco in our direction. I remember that moment quite vividly because I was certain my parents were about to turn around and take me straight home.

Thankfully, my parents are made of sterner stuff…which is a good thing because Madison decided to take it up a notch for Interesting Beginnings. Greeting us upon our arrival this past weekend was a parade of topless women! (And some men. But they weren’t really the point of the parade.) They carried signs about objectifying women’s bodies. To be honest, I feel like there are better ways of making a point, but I guess they did have shock value going for them. Hello, Madison!

I am sure topless women are only just the beginning. I will be sure to keep you all updated on my adventures on this new journey of mine!


Pandas on Parade

I have a new favorite tea from Fava Tea Company: Pandas On Parade. It is a herbal, fruit tea with bamboo leaves in it! 

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Very yummy! I think is going to be one like Duchess of Earl, something to always have on hand!