Tag Archives: semester

Discussion Groups, Take 2

Me: “So we just established Machiavelli is about looking good while doing evil. But what about this passage I just read? How does picking allies and enemies and publicly sticking to them fit in with his philosophy?” 

* crickets *

Me: “…do any of you know what I’m talking about?”

* crickets *

Me: “Did any of you get this far in the readings?”

* all 15 students shake their heads no *

Day 1 of discussion group, y’all. This is going to be a very, very long semester. 

Semester Reads

Christmas came early (or perhaps late? I did accept this job last year) for me. I got finally got the syllabus for the class I am TAing for this semester and it includes the books we will be reading. The authors are:

  • Machiavelli 
  • Luther
  • Swift
  • Hobbes
  • Locke
  • Kant
  • Smith
  • Rousseau 
  • Marx
  • Nietzsche 

Going to be good!! I do hope my students are prepared for how much of a Locke fangirl I am.

Two Finals Down

I just finished my second final: an 8-hour Immigration Law take home.

Am currently surviving on law school memes and V8 Energy Drinks. 

Only one final left: a 24 hour Evidence exam. That is all that stands between me and Christmas break.

Well, that and class tomorrow, reading the book for class tomorrow, four discussion groups, proctoring an exam, grading said exam, and cleaning this apartment. 

A Long Semester

I did the math and if you count my June deadlines as the end of the semester (since apparently the actual end is not the end here in Thailand), I’m wrapping up a six months semester.

I started school way before all my classmates in Wisconsin and am finishing months after they finished. 

I am feeling really, really done with school right now.

But I am not done. I found out on Monday we have a group paper still due for Environmental Law (did I mention how much I hate group papers?) and a “self-assessment” for said paper (I am unclear what that means) and the two take home finals (I finally received a way to turn in the one yesterday but the other remains MIA.) 

My motivation deserted me weeks ago. I know it would be better to finish these things up now (and in the case of the group paper, it is due Friday so I better finish it up now!) but I still feel beyond frustrated and beyond done with the whole business. 

People kept asking me what I planned to do with this final week in Thailand. My friends in the other departments planned fun trips to neighboring countries. I wish I could join them or at least experience more of Thailand. But the uncertainty of my semester and the lack of communication from the main office meant I could not confidently say I would be free even after finals ostensibly ended. And sure enough…here I am!

(Hopefully this will be one of the last posts about me complaining about my semester! At this point, I mostly write them as reminders to myself for when I talk with my professor about how the year went. The people-pleaser in me will want to smooth over all the difficulties but I must stand firm for all future students who want to do this program!)

Thailand Update

The good news – my visa arrived! I’m one step closer to Thailand! 

The bad? news – In all my visa research, nothing told me that a student visa allows for a single entry into the country. And since I am the first student going with my program, no one at the school knew either. So…not only am I going to Thailand for five months, I’m not leaving Thailand for five months.

I am sure this will be an incredible experience and probably more restful/less stressful this way. But I am still a little in shock. I planned on visiting friends in Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. Quick visits, maybe, but visits none the less. 

It isn’t the end of the world by any means, but I need to accustom myself to this new plan. Instead of Thailand as a base of operations, it is Thailand alone I will see. Suddenly an entire year’s worth of schemes and plans are set firmly aside for a new reality.

I know my friend Rachel is reading this and laughing at me right now. I probably do sound super melodramatic! Give me a day or two. I shall accustom myself!


Why I Make Time For An Internship

“Nerd,” chortles my boss, as I gush about my classes this coming semester. “Who is excited about administrative law?”

He is, for one. His words hold no sting. Administrative law is his passion. Any enthusiasm I show pales in comparison to the years he has poured into crafting laws and writing briefs.

Unlike last January, when I started working for him enthusiastically but wholly ignorant, I now know our cases and the arguments used to support them. Or at least, I think I do. My boss loads me down with easily a thousand pages of new cases and law review articles to read to catch me up to speed. Even with my speed-reading ability, this is going to take a while. But I don’t mind.

I love it. I love the mountain of paperwork and the uncharted arguments. I love overcoming my ignorance. I love the dense sentences that take three or four reads to understand. I love it because when I do understand, a whole new world opens before me. I learn why this topic matters. I learn to care.

I love it because I truly learn, a feeling I do not get from my classes at law school. Perhaps it is the institutional nature of school. Perhaps it is the textbooks with their carefully edited cases. Perhaps it is simply the difference between studying a topic in breadth versus in depth. I do not know.

What I do know is that if a professor tried to give me this much reading, I would howl in despair. My boss does it, and I’m delighted.

That’s why I find the time for an internship, for a chance to get out of the law school. If my world only revolved around school and extra-curricular activities, I think I would go insane. Law school may educate me, but it does not get my blood boiling. Working in the real world does. Knowing what I am doing matters does. Working with people who love their work does. It is a reminder of why I am in law school; a shove to get through the next day, the next week, the next year.

It is a reminder that this is what I get to do when I graduate. This is what makes it all worth it.


One Year Later

Roughly a year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. 

*pinches self*

Yup, it is still true. 

It has been a full year…full of travel, friends, and an awesome job. I certainly have been blessed. 

It has been challenging…though in a different way than I expected when I graduated. When I first returned to school  for my final semester in January 2015 after working a “big kid job” for 6 months, I was prepared to struggle with being “just” a student again. I prepped myself for chapel/church requirements, curfew, dress code, cafeteria food, everything. Thankfully, I got a place off campus and the transition was easier than I expected. (That said, going from a salaried position to work study at $7.25/hr was…different.) My final semester was many things, and it wasn’t easy to “transition” back. However, I braced myself pretty well for it. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was the jump back to “adulthood.”  It was a pretty chill semester; I only had to worry about myself. Money wasn’t a big issue. I focused on enjoying my senior year and little else. It was so easy to hand over responsibility and forget everything I learned the hard way. I had a very fun final semester. I don’t regret it.

But then I was back, same job as before, yet somehow different. I was different. It was hard to get back into the old swing of things. I felt like I was constantly tripping over my own feet. I didn’t feel like an adult, I felt like an over-glorified college intern. 

Sometimes, I still feel that way. It took a long time to get out of that mindset. I’m glad I went back and finished my degree. I am glad I had that semester, that final “goodbye.”And yet…sometimes I find myself wondering what I did “wrong.” I wonder how life would have been different if I had just kept working. Or maybe if I had understood at the time how complacent I was getting. Or if I had understood my shifting life stages better during that semester or immediately after.

Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe your first long-term, grown up job is a mental hurdle no matter what your background. Maybe it is a growing up thing; maybe it is a Millennial thing. I don’t know. 

Or maybe I do know, at least in part. I understood when I first moved to Tennessee as a freshman that it would be different. I didn’t know anyone; this was an entirely new environment. I knew when I studied abroad in England that it would be different, again I was venturing to a totally new place. When I returned to school, I understood it as a new “stage.” That didn’t make any of these three stages any less difficult, but I at least had a “box” to put the experience in and sort it out.

However, I didn’t think about coming home after I graduated as a “new” stage. This was a familiar environment and I knew the job I was taking on. I thought of this as a “coming back” instead of a “starting over.” I guess it makes sense that I tripped over my own feet. This wasn’t an extended summer break; this was a new stage entirely. I’ve made new friends, found a new church, readjusted to a new life. I’ve grown roots again. I made it a lot harder for myself, though, because I was busy trying to figure out why all the new didn’t fit into the old context.

Roughly one year ago, I graduated from Bryan College. One year…painful, messy, funny, inspiring, exciting…meaningful. This is my new context as a young adult. Hard but worth it. (So far! 😉 )