My career adviser at the law school sent my boss an e-mail today. He shared it with me:
I hope we might be able to find a time to discuss Amy’s summer employment—what went well, areas where our students can improve, and how we can best help you recruit future attorneys and interns.
A fairly innocuous request. Probably. Certainly helpful information for the law school. After all, if their students are going around burning bridges, they’ll want to know. And anyway, I want to develop the relationship between the career office and the foundation. This is a great place to work.
But I have a confession: I’m a teeny, teeny bit annoyed by it.
It feels like my law school is checking up on me. Like a Mom asking if her kid played well with the other kids in kindergarten. ‘Is she social? Did she share? Did she bite Little Timmy again?’
I worked an adult job that I got on my own without any assistance from the career office, the diversity clerkship, or the law school clinics this summer. In fact, I have been working this job for over a year and a half now. So it seems a little silly to have someone checking up on me. Even for useful, research purposes.
My boss was also confused.
Because I am not a kindergartner. I am not a high schooler. I am not even a college student. I am an adult who chose a course of study through the law school. The law school is not my parent. Or my boss. It has no responsibility for me. And while I will probably laugh at my annoyance tomorrow, tonight I very much wish I could say:
“How Amy’s summer employment went is none of your business!”
(But it went well, for the record.)
I need to re-write the paper I am getting published. Or if not re-write, at least edit. Look at it. Read the feedback I’ve received from the few, trusted professors I sent it to. I’ve never been one to dread my own writing before.
But I will be honest, few things rank higher on my list of things I want to avoid.
The paper has to be at least somewhat good, right? A prestigious, academic journal wants to publish it. I don’t doubt my own content. I love the subject. But this paper…
I hated writing it. I hated researching it. I constantly felt pressured and stressed. The feedback I got from the law review editors as I wrote it made me cry. A lot. I remember my early, shiny attitude where I assumed all the warnings about how we would come to hate our chosen topics were nonsense. How could I hate a topic I chose with such care?
But oh, how I hate the topic now.
And yet I don’t. I still think the case was great. I think my paper will prove a solid addition to the scholarly literature. In my head, I can see no reason this paper should fill me with more dread than any other paper I have written. I send my work to my boss regularly for feedback and only feel minorly miffed when he cuts 98% of it.
So, as you can see, I am quite irrational in my dread. But there it is. Dread because the paper reminds me of one of the most miserable portions of my life.
And that is what I think it comes down to. I don’t want to deal with this paper because I wrote it while juggling—and dropping—way too many things. So even now, in a theoretically calmer time of life, all I can think of is, ‘oh shoot, what am I not doing because I’m sitting down to work on this thing?’
I consider one of the perks of working at a small, non-profit legal foundation that I get to do a little bit of everything. I handle communications, blog for the website, research briefs, write memos, and deliver final copies of the work to the clerk of courts.
Most recently, I’ve been handed the task of figuring out grant writing. It is a bit intimidating. But fun.
Today I finished reading my 7th book on grant writing and non-profit fundraising. For someone who has thus far succeeding in bringing in $0, I sure feel like an expert. Hopefully some of this research will pay off. (Literally and figuratively!)
My grades from last semester have sslllooowwwwwwlllllyyyyyyy started trickling in. Most importantly, despite all the stress the class caused me, I can officially say: I did not fail Fundamental Rights.
Actually, I got an A. Which particularly matters because out of all my classes, Fundamental Rights worried me the most.
First, it was a freshman level class. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be as a law student to fail a freshman level class? My classmates were 17 year olds who spent most of the class wrapped in fuzzy blankets, eating snacks, and catching up on gossip. In fact, on more than one occasion, the professor quit talking because you couldn’t hear him over the sound of the students talking.
Second, I kept missing classes because the school administrators would schedule it for the same time I had other classes. Like Law of Information Technology, a way more confusing class I felt obliged to attend. Missing the first time or two left me vaguely stressed. Five weeks in a row and I was convinced I would fail Fundamental Rights.
Third, probably because it was a freshman level class, the professors’ teaching styles…ranged considerably. The first professor said “rice” instead of “rights.” (“Human rice is the basis of our society!”) The second professor ignored my request for notes when I missed the class since she didn’t teach during the scheduled teaching times. The third professor usually ended our 3 hour class after an hour. (Appreciated, but not conducive to learning.)
I had no idea studying abroad would leave me so expectant for pass/fail grades!
Today I got to walk across the street and deliver a brief to the clerk of courts.
AKA, my favorite activity ever.
Since I started my job about a year and a half ago, delivering a physical copy of the completed brief became my particular role. And I love it. I love the feeling of walking with a giant stack of papers (why do 7 Supreme Court justices need 23 copies of the same 30+ page paper?!) I love walking in, handing them over, and receiving the confirming stamp. Then walking back.
I get such a thrill from it. All that energy and hours of work climaxing in the moment I walk through the doors of the Clerk of Court.
The only thing more fun might be getting the decision back from the Supreme Court. But even then I’m not sure. The buildup is the best.
I am spending my last day as a 25-year-old working on a Law & Information Technology final for a class that ended in May. It feels oddly symbolic–and utterly depressing.
I also work today. This too feels symbolic. I spent most of the first half of my year in this office crafting my law review note and trying to squeeze work hours in while juggling twenty other commitments.
Neither memory leaves me feeling particularly joyful. 25 is not a year I would willingly repeat.
Colorado, Madison, Thailand, Madison some more. The real takeaway I see from 25 is that the second year of law school is somehow more terrible than first year. And I didn’t even think that was possible.
I suppose I grew as a writer and traveler this past year. I overcame a lot. I think I also failed a lot. Or at least I fell flat on my face more times than I care to count.
I am not sure what hopes to have for 26. It will cover one more year of law school. It feels a bit like one more year to ‘get through,’ which I don’t want to be the case. I love birthdays because they mean a new start. But with 2L year still nipping at my heels and 3L year looming ahead, I feel more braced than expectant.
But you know what? Here is to 26. As my favorite poet, Tanner Olson, says: hope doesn’t let the story end.
And another year of law school is not the end of the story. So, that is how I want to approach 26. Hopeful. Even if I am not really sure what to hope for. Because it represents a new year and a new chance to kick law school’s butt. Or at least try not to let it totally kick mine.
Thought I was done talking about Thailand? Me too.
But guess what Thammasat University finally produced this morning? The final I never received.
As in, the final due June 15 that they never sent out? Yeah, it is now due July 15.
Good thing I didn’t get around to throwing out my notes yet. (That was actually what I planned to do this weekend because who expects a final at the end of June when school has been out over a month?)
To quote my Mom, it is like I’m back being homeschooled. School never ends. You just do it all summer.