On the half a block walk to class this morning, the professor I TA for asked how discussion groups went on Monday. I answered him honestly: I had the hardest time keeping the students focused. At least one told me that as an atheist, he didn’t believe in what Luther wrote, so why bother reading it? Others tried to distract me by sparking debates about the authenticity of Scripture or the meaning of separation of church and state. I hoped he would say something about the relevance of Luther in class.
And oh, did he ever.
Professor: “My TA* informs me that some of you godless atheists think you don’t need to read Luther and can get away with ignoring what he has to say. Well, you can’t. Get out of your bubble and read something you disagree with. It will do you good.”
And at that moment the student who made the atheist comment turned and locked eyes with me. The message was clear.
*Actually, he didn’t just call me his TA. He referred to me by my last name–which I don’t share on this blog. But basically, “Miss Amy says…” Which sounds even more like I went and tattled on them.
Do you ever speak before a group of people and then conclude to dead silence?
That happened to me after I gave my class presentation. The professor even said, “Oh, is that it?”
So I sat down thinking, “I talked too fast. That must have been it. Or I didn’t elaborate on my points enough. But if that was the case, why didn’t the professor ask more questions?!”
You know how it goes. But then, after class, the professor walked up to me:
“Great job with your presentation! You seemed very confident up there. Were you a teacher?”
The first thing that popped into my mind I could not say. Namely: “No, but I have a lot of experience B.S.ing my way through group projects.”
So instead I thanked her and assured her I was shaking with nerves inside even if I looked outwardly calm.
Because no matter how hard my school tries to drill into my head that as a woman I am not confident enough and I need to own my skills more, it still comes across weird to say, “Yeah, I was confident because I read that dissent like 6 times and then practiced my speech a dozen times.” Then again, maybe I should have. In the moment, though, I was torn between gratitude and a desire to deflect, deflect, deflect.
I have a head cold. It is pretty miserable. It hit me in the middle of the afternoon and all my classmates in my evening class suffered listening to me sniffle.
More relevantly to this story, a very small window exists between my evening class ending and my bus arriving. I usually make a beeline out of the law school.
But today they had cheese in the foyer.
And as a good Wisconsinite, I do love cheese. So, sniffling and miserable, I happily loaded up a plate and hurried out the door.
I missed by bus by under 10 seconds. I then had to stand in the cold for 35 minutes waiting for the next one.
Totally worth it.
Today in Evidence class we studied evidence offered as a character attribute (not allowed in court) versus evidence offered about a habit (generally allowed.) One of the defining attributes that differentiates the two is whether it is “morally ambiguous.” In other words, if the evidence tends to make the jury make a moral judgement about the defendant (i.e. he kicks puppies and so is a bad person), it probably won’t be allowed into court. (Probably?)
Anyway, one of the examples that came up today was a piece of evidence from a bartender stating that the defendant in a hit and run case came to the bar consistently for five years in a row every Saturday and Sunday night, drank vodka for an hour, got rowdy, and left. Thus, even though the bartender could not say that on that specific night the defendant was at the bar, he had a habit of drinking on Sunday nights which lines up with the hit and run.
All this as background to say: the non-Wisconsin native professor took it as a given that “he drinks for an hour every Saturday and Sunday night” would obviously leave “negative” impression on the jury.
And all of us from Wisconsin were like, “But would it? Would it really?”
Which made for a very funny debate.
Because we Wisconsin natives had several caveats before we would agree that a habit of drinking regularly was more negative than “morally ambiguous.”
Like, was he chugging vodka, or just nursing a glass? Social drinker or in isolation? Who defines “rowdy”? Was there a football game going on?
The poor professor did not know what to do with us. I don’t know if we ever got to the real crux of his question.
The problem with scheduling every waking moment of your day is that inevitably you forget and book something else for the same time. Or three something elses.
I triple booked myself Friday. (Meeting-seminar-work.)
I quadruple booked myself today.
First, I have a night class. I have had a night class the last 6 weeks. I have no idea how I forgot it.
Second, I agreed to chaperone a movie night. I find it hilarious that I am requested to chaperone college kids until I realize I’m 6-8 years older than most of the students anyway. And that makes me feel old.
Third, the city chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a social event for us Fed Soc students. It included two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices. I got to chat with both of them. Let me tell you how it went:
Me to Justice 1: “I fangirled so hard when your decision came out. Like, I told everyone about it. It was the best! I really loved it. Your due process argument was so good! I’m such a fan!”
*Judge 1 looks faintly alarmed and begins to slowly back away*
Judge 2: “Have we met before?”
Me: “Oh yes, I was president last year.”
Judge 2: “Where are you working now?”
Me: “Still a student.”
* this goes on for about thirty seconds*
Clearly I made a meaningful impression on both.
Fourth and finally, I agreed to pick up my sister from work. At least, I think I did. Possibly she just announced I was picking her up. At any rate, when I told her I had a busy day ahead of me, she just glanced up briefly from her phone and said:
“Just don’t be late.”
I am TAing this coming semester for an undergrad class! It is a very exciting opportunity. I have no idea what I am doing.
I read the handbook very carefully and it said TA training would take place today and gave a building. I asked the department I am in for more specifics. They didn’t know anything more either.
But it said all day training so I took off work today and showed up at the building. All for nothing! If the training did take place, they hid it well. I wandered around the entire place and found nothing.
Which is fine and all, but I still have no idea what I am doing.