Tag Archives: law school

Law School Hope

I met with the registrar today. I went in braced for the worst. After all, with TAing and studying abroad and all the other things I crammed into my law school career, who knows what I missed. And let’s just say…it was not a spectacularly fabulous day leading up the meeting. It began with the fire alarm going off as I was getting out of the shower and didn’t exactly go up from there. So, I figured, learning I needed an extra semester of law school would come as no surprise. 

But guess what? I’m only 12 credits shy of graduating.

And I am only a particularly long and tedious bar application away from being able to practice law in Wisconsin this Spring. 

And if I continue my current GPA, I will be able to walk across the stage with honors cords. 

In other words, the end is truly in sight. And I’m not drowning. I feel like I just braced myself to lift a heavy bolder and discovered instead there was nothing there. I’m on the downward slide. I’m going to be a lawyer.

It tastes like hope and I am so shocked by how much that emotion surprises me that I almost want to stick it in a box and bury it out back in case I lose it. 

But it is real. I am going to make it. I am almost there. 

Costumed (Part 2)

Some people told me: “nice costume.” Others asked what party I was going to. Still others just looked at me blankly and said “what are you supposed to be?” And a few others still asked for my number. 

It would have been flattering if they would just take no for an answer but I find people who ask you for your number on the bus rarely do take no calmly.

They want to know why they cannot have your number; they ask if you have a boyfriend; they assure you that they think it is ‘super cool’ that you’re in law school. (You can see the desire for free legal advice dancing in their eyes.) And inevitably, when your no remains no, they accuse you of playing hard to get. 

But it occurred to me I could fix this problem if I looked less nice and more scary. So I did my best to do just that.

Either it worked or people felt too cold to bother me. In either case, I felt cool so that’s really what matters. 


For weeks the student workers where I TA have been talking about their Halloween outfits. What to wear, when to wear it, how to get an unsuspecting boyfriend into a couple costume…all these things I heard. So, come October 31st, aka today, aka Halloween…I decided to join them in going all out.

I wore an Tudor gown with a cloak and high heeled boots and (though not shown below) a crown and veil. 

And then I walked outside and discovered it was snowing. 

No one at the bus stop was wearing a costume but I didn’t think much of it. I was an instant hit and three people asked for my number. (I politely declined to give it out.) 

I then got to campus. No one was wearing a costume!

I went to the house where I TA. And again…nothing! In fact, they’d all forgotten it was Halloween and asked me if I was celebrating the snow or something. 

I went to class; I attended a lecture in a different building; I wandered around campus. I saw maybe half a dozen people dressed up and no one close to my level. I can only surmise that the sight of snow shocked everyone into forgetting which holiday it was. 

But if Thailand taught me one thing it was how to take masses of people staring at you so I quite enjoyed myself despite sticking out like a sore thumb.

Stealing Knowledge

What a day.

It started with a student coming to my office hours.

Well, technically it started the moment I woke up. For a few, sleepy seconds I felt hot and scratchy and thought maybe I had a fever. I actually got really excited at the thought. Yes, I thought, a day off.  Which probably should have warned me that I was ready for a breakdown. 

But, as I was forced to acknowledge a few seconds later, I did not have a fever. So I went to office hours. And a student showed up! He wanted to talk about law school. He had already taken the LSAT and just wanted to know if I had any recommendations about applying to law schools. I told him a bit about my own experience. 

Then he asked how law school was going. And I kid you not, I started crying.

Thankfully, not sobbing or anything. But no matter what I tried, I could not stem the large, wet tears trickling down my face. So I played it off. I rolled my eyes and made a comment about fall allergies. 

And still the tears kept coming. 

I talked about typical first year classes, tricks for finding jobs, things to look for in a law school. I talked about the importance of finding something outside the law school, a preemptive strike against alcoholism and depression. I told him law school was a rough place and that he would think about quitting at least once a day. 

And gosh darn it, I cried. Poor kid thanked me for being honest and then practically fled. 

But my day was not done. Somehow I survived my Evidence class and thought longingly of my hour break till my next class. I would curl up somewhere, I decided. Maybe have a cup of tea. 

Then I got a message from another student. He wanted to talk about his exam results. He knew I did not have office hours at the moment but, if I was free, he was already at the law school.

I went in search of him. The problem is, I already gave him all the feedback I could about his exam. He didn’t flunk or anything. But he didn’t do great and I think he could do better. I already told him this and gave specific pointers about his essay. I had no idea what else to say. 

So, I offered to give him a tour of the law school. It distracted him and meant I didn’t have to think very hard. I showed off the picture of my balding, great-great grandfather in the library basement and dutifully pointed out the beautiful view from the study room.

As we talked I learned he was a freshman in college, the same age as my youngest brother, and originally from China. My older sister instincts kicked in. When the student expressed interest in the law, I tracked down the only other Chinese law student I know and made the introduction. Then I said I had to go to class but he was welcome to come if he wanted. 

He did want. In fact, he was delighted. He listened to the professor wide-eyed, occasionally turning to me to enthuse about something being discussed. When another Asian student walked into class late, he gaped for a moment and then said in a stage-whisper to me, 


I nodded, a little embarrassed. But also a little surprised by how excited he was to be there. I thought our two hour class might scare him off. He dutifully took notes even though I’m sure half of it was over his head. (Or maybe it was just over mine.)

And then when class ended, he walked up to the professor and said, “Thanks for letting me steal your knowledge! It was so interesting!” 

The professor looked bemused and said casually, “Sure, come back next week.”

“CAN I?” asked the student. 

The professor laughed and said sure. 

I don’t think the law school has seen anyone that happy in a long time. 

It was one of those moments that makes you stop and think. His pure joy at listening to the professor lecture on the complications of the immigration system really contrasted with my own frustrations. 

Do I still really want a day off to catch up on life? Ahem, yes. But it is nice to be reminded that I have a great opportunity to “steal knowledge” every day. 

A Short Walk

It is about time for my annual jog. I can feel it in my bones, a restless need to move that is more psychological than physical. I respond to it by running really hard for a short time and then the feeling goes away. I am free to be my own lethargic self for another year. 

Except unfortunately I do not have time right now to go for a run. By the time my daily activities end, it is dark. And I do not run in the dark. So the feeling continues. 

Tonight, when I realized I missed my bus and the next one was still 25 minutes out, I turned to my law school friend who was also waiting for the bus and lives nearish me and asked if he wanted to walk to the next bus stop. I figured it was a win-win. I’d get my exercise and not freeze my butt off standing in one spot and since I was walking with someone, and a guy at that, I could worry less about getting mugged. 

Except, maybe you’ve noticed this, I can be kind of intense? So once we hit the next stop and the bus was still 20 minutes out, I suggested we kept walking…

Then the bus passed us before we made it to the next stop. 

Being the reasonable person I am, I suggested we walk the rest of the way back. What I did not realize? The walk back is over an hour. We’d have saved so much time if we just waited for the next bus. 

But I guess I got my exercise in. 

Cane Toss!

Per Wisconsin Law School Tradition, graduating 3Ls run out on the field before the homecoming game, chuck a cane through the goal post, and try and catch it on the other side. Rumor has it that if you catch your cane you will win your first case.

I caught my cane! But….I didn’t make it through the goal post. So who knows what that means. My friend thinks it means my first case will end in a successful settlement halfway through. I think it is more likely I’ll just win the first motion. 

Morning Coffee and Reminiscent Rambles

It is 10:16 am and I have yet to have my morning coffee. This strikes me as a very poor time to write a blog post. But it is also the only downtime I have today so if I’m going to post anything more substantial than, “Going AWOL till Monday. Will fill you in later”…this is it. 

(I just took a sip. Reason slowly breaks through the fog of my brain.)

I met with a 1L yesterday (for coffee! I love coffee.) As I reminisced about the horrors of my first year of law school, I remembered that I gave up coffee for those first 3 months or so. At the time everyone was like, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!”

And to be honest, even now I am like “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!”

(Another sip. Ahhh, warm and delicious.) 

But I was drowning and just trying to survive. My anxiety already spiked through the roof on a daily basis, I did not need a caffeine shot to help it. 

Today I met with a fellow 3L (it was supposed to be for coffee but I could not find parking so we literally drove around for 40 minutes and missed the coffee-getting window. Why do I live in a city?!)

We reminisced about how awful 1L year was. And then how terrible 2L year turned out to be. Then with a sigh, we shrugged and switched to which state bar to take. 

(Three sips in an I’m almost human.)

Lawyers often told me growing up not to go to law school. I was always deeply offended by it. ‘There is no other way to become a lawyer except by going to law school,’ I would think angrily. ‘What unreasonable advice you give!’

But now I understand it. I try not to give the same advice I heard because, honestly, it only made me more stubborn and determined to go. But I understand that the words did not come from a place of job security or mockery. They were genuinely trying to save me from some pretty miserable experiences. 

Yet we go through pain to grow. I don’t think I would repeat 1L and 2L year even if you paid me. (I mean, knowing what I know now it would probably be easier but I am presuming I would repeat without knowing what I know now.) But I don’t regret who I am for having gone through it. 

At least, not today. 

Check back in once I’m actually graduated. Or finished my cup of coffee. 

(Ahhhh, coffee.)