Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Little Things

"It's the little things that kill,
tearing at my brains again."

-Little Things, Bush
lyrics by Gavin Rossdale

While in the shower this morning I realized how much of an emotional struggle my life has been. I remembered the time when I was in the 3rd grade and we were doing one of those timed multiplecation tests. On one side there was multiplcation and on the other side was division. I ended up doing the wrong side. By the way I was feeling, you would have thought the world was coming to an end. This burning sensation came up from inside of me and stopped in my throat. My face became red and hot. It took everything I had not to cry in front of the whole class. Instead of just settling for the F, which only my teacher and I would know about, I raised my hand and explained what I had done. Turns out I shouldn't have worried so much. I was fine. My teacher understood that I had made an honest mistake.

This feeling I had inside, caused by embarrassment, whether my peers ever knew what was going on or not, happens to me at what I believe to be frequent intervals. I always feel like I've done something incredibly bad, or irresponsible, and because of it, my life, or more realistically, my future career or semester grades are going to be done with. Most of the time it turns out like the above situation. No one really notices and everything turns out okay. After thinking about this, I realized that maybe I'm the one, not the world or the situations I've been in, who is causing all the stress in my life. I've never been one who feels compelled to commit a felony and I have, for the most part, stayed out of trouble. Maybe this is why I fear these small, and usually honest, mistakes. Essentially, I'm afraid of getting into trouble, and more so than anyone I know. Now, my first question is, how do I get over these things? How to I brush off these mistakes and relieve myself of a lot of unnecessary stress? I had not even reached a conclusion on these questions when I came to the second big question: Is sweating the small stuff what got me to where I am today? Think about it. We can all show up to class, but only those who study for the exam are going to get a good grade. And those who study really hard are going to get the best grade or the extra 5 bonus points from correctly answering the bonus question.

This takes me back to my sophomore year in high school. I was in the honors classes. The year before I had been at a prestigious all-girls school in the city where my 9th grade English teacher had a Ph.D. After my parents moved me to the rural town where they grew up because they wanted to raise their family in accordance with small town values (or some bull crap like that), I was one of the most advanced students in the sophomore class, if not the whole school. Well, that year, at my new country high school, my sophomore English teacher tested us on Julius Ceasar. On the test, one of the questions was "How many times was Ceasar stabbed?" Well, I didn't know. I didn't think that was relevant or important information. Therefore, I overlooked that tiny detail while studying. So, during the test I took my best educated guess. I figured he was stabbed once by every person who was present at his death. Therefore, he was stabbed as many times as there were people in the room (I had an exact number, but I can't remember it now... this was like 8 years ago). Nope. Wrong. The answer was like 21, which was more than the number of characters in the scene. Where did this number come from? Why is this important to the study of Shakespear? I didn't know the answer to that, but what I did know, is that if I would have made the effort to research the small stuff, I would have recieved a better grade on the test, and possibly a better grade in the class, which would have increase my overall GPA. Do you see how the small stuff matters?

I don't know what the exact point of this entry is. What I can tell you is that I've beeen having these stressful feelings of public embarassment more often since I've been in law school, and this is only my fifth week! Maybe it is good that I'm sweating the small stuff and not overlooking anything that seems simple and non-important, but really is the important detail. However, maybe it means that I'm making more mistakes than I'm suppose to and the aggregate effects will cost me gravely in the end. I don't know. Right now, the only thing I can do is to take preventative action. It may seem like a lot of work or take a lot of time just to understand or learn an obscure detail or lesson, but it is worth it if in the end if I never have that awful feeling again.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Something's Missing

"When autumn comes, it doesn't ask
It just walks in, where it left you last
You never know, where it starts
Until there's fog inside the glass around your summer heart."
-Something's Missing
John Mayer

These are some of my favorite song lyrics ever. I've always tried to apply them to my life, especially during the autumn months. Usually I probably end up construing them in such a way that they don't make sense or don't have they same meaning as John Mayer intended. However, this weekend, they really were fitting with the state of my life.

I was driving back home for my grandma's birthday when all of a sudden I realized the leaves on the trees were changing to beautiful oranges and reds. It scared me a little because I realized that I almost missed fall, which happens to be my favorite season. At first I was glad I didn't miss my favorite change of season. Yet, a few seconds later, I realized I would be missing the rest of October. There's no time to play in the leaves when you're trying to pull above a 3.0 your first semester of law school. My temporary joy was turned into disappointment. I wonder when I'll get to do nothing but sit in the park and enjoy a fall day. "It's only three years," is what everyone keeps telling me. Yeah, only three years until I'm working 70 hours a week as an associate.

To make my things even worse, tonight as I walked out of the law school for my dinner break between my hardcore study sessions, I noticed how it was one of the most gorgeous evenings I've experienced in quite a long time. Unfortunately, I was only able to experience it for the five minute walk to my car. Apparently, today it was about 80 degrees outside. I, however, was indoors most of the day. The only time I was outside was when I had to walk to and from my car to get to school. I tried to take advantage of the weather the best I could by rolling down the car windows instead of turning on the air conditioner like I usually do. But tonight was one of those nights where all you want to do is go on a walk with one of your closest friends and talk about anything and everything (except law school, of course).

I'm thinking about investing in one of those wireless internet cards the mobile phone companies have been advertising. Even if I'm doing my homework (isn't the word "homework" a little juvenile for law school?) it wouldn't be so bad if I could sit under a shady tree or on a park bench. The only thing is that by the time I ever get around to doing that, there will be snow on the ground which would make enjoying the foliage a little difficult. Maybe this spring.

However, I've been trying to concentrate on my reading a lot more. I used to just read to get the main idea, assuming the professor would just go over the details and what I didn't understand during class the next day. Turns out, that is no where near what I should be doing in terms of preparing for class. One day I had completely read through the assignment THREE times, briefed the corresponding case, looked up every term I did not know or even questioned the context in which it was used, and made a vocabulary sheet. Apparently, the professor thought that was still not enough preparation. At first glance, the law looks pretty cut and dry and that the most law school is, is three years of memorization. Turns out, it's not. Expect anything. There are things my professors can pull out of a case that I never thought was possible. Then I feel dumb for not seeing it myself. So, that leads me to locking myself in the library until I finish and understand every assignment. The only problem is, sometimes I still can't get it all done before class. So, I've been working on my property assignment since 4:30 and at 8:30 I still was not done. Additionally, I still have my Civil Procedure assignment to read... and understand. With that being said, I would like to get six hours of sleep tonight. I don't know if it will happen, but I better get to work.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Here I Go Again

"No I don't know where I'm going,
But I sure know where I've been...
And here I go again on my own,
Going down the only road I've ever known."
-Here I Go Again

I said that I would never do this again. It's immature. It was fun in undergrad, but it's different now. I'm different now. I'm a law student.

I had a blog once. Similar to this. Strictly social. I jumped on the bandwagon during my freshman year at college. It was winter, 2003. I had just joined my sorority and all the cool upperclass sisters had blogs. I don't even think I called it a blog back then. I think I called it an online journal. It was the new social trend du jour and I'm always one for attempting the social trends, albeit, most of the times failing in my attempt to achieve that super cool persona that I always wished I had.

I ended up becoming addicted to "posting." I tried to post once a day, or every couple of days so people could see what was taking place in my life. In reality, it was just me creating a new way to validate my self worth by checking up on myself and trying to convince myself that I was a well adjusted, popular, busy person who had meaning in her life. With the passing of a week or so, I ended up experiencing the desire to post multiple thoughts or updates within the same day. However, if you failed in walking that fine line of what was considered a reasonable maximum number of posts per week, you were considered a social cripple who could not find any other way to communicate unless it was through an electronic medium of some sort and were no longer a VIP, but one of those depressing people who sits in front of their computer screen waiting for life to happen. This is now how I feel about Facebook. It is one of those social requirements that can quickly get out of hand causing a person to be condemned from overuse. In short, it was a social addiction.

I wanted the world, or at least my college campus, which in the end turned out to be only five of my sorority sisters, to hear what this knowledgeable little (seeing that I lost 30 lbs. from starvation 1st semester to fit in) 19 year old college co-ed from small town America had to say. What I wrote pertained mostly to the extreme emotions I was feeling that year. Living without family, spreading my wings, being challenged academically, being severely challenged socially and falling in love with that upperclassman who would never notice me (but, by the grace of God I'm still hoping he will!) created some extreme emotions for me which were hard to deal with when I was in a place I had never been before and not knowing a single soul out of the 20,000 students on campus. I always felt out of the loop, like an outcast, never fitting in. To disguise my awkward qualities which I felt seemed to mimic those of the Hunchback or a carnival freak show, I tried the best I could to appear to be an average college freshman. So, when I wasn't erratically posting what I was feeling, instead I posted about my extracurricular activities. These mostly included drunken nights of bonding with my new sorority sisters, or the list of weekly sightings of the object of my desire, which unfortunately made my little sister (my only internet fan), label me as a stalker.

As time went on and I became accustomed to my environment, and learning how to act more mature and composed, I ended up changing my writing style. I became more thoughtful and introspective, yet at times humorous in wanting to describe funny or interesting events which happened to me. I became more involved with my sorority and the Model UN team which caused me to not depend so much on my online journal, or by my sophomore year what I was calling my "blog." I don't really know if it was that I had no need to depend on a blog anymore to sort out and validate my life, or if it was just that I was too busy to notice that I was still struggling with some crazy internal emotions, which looking back on the circumstances at the time, really should have been there, but seemed as if they weren't.

By my junior and senior year, as I became more knowledgeable about the world and more aware of how the media (which is perpetually changing at the speed of light) worked, I felt that my blog was frivolous compared to everything else out in cyberspace. I was embarrassed of knowing that at one time I felt my occasional rants on mandatory but unannouced 1am residence hall fire drills in January were important. Some of my peers were writing blogs that were so influential that cable news channels were referring to them for information. There is also the Huffington Post which is an outlet for qualified political bloggers. I found Donald Trump's blogpage, in which he has probably hired his bloggers to teach the masses how to be a successful business person (and for free!). One day, I randomly came across the blog of a female author of a book I once read (and really enjoyed)! I thought it an exciting treat that I came across her blog full of personal musings on a free blogsite open to the public. From what I can see, the author, nor her agent or publishers, had advertised this blog. Honestly, I felt a bit starstruck. It was almost as if I was standing in her living room thinking, "Geez, so even celebrities live just like us."

The posts became fewer and more far between. By my last semester, I had only made five entries, and only that many because I felt the occasional duty to let the world know where I may be if for some reason it lost track of me. Two days after graduation I officially brought my 3 1/2 year blog to a close.

As I said, I swore to myself that I would never do this again. I mean, what if a future employer found my blog and was so appalled by learning the details of my personal life that he fired me and everyone else refused to hire me?! However, after completing my first law school exam, I felt I needed someone to talk to. Yet, I couldn't bare the embarrassment of explaining my challenges and plethora of first year mistakes to a human being who would know my identity. I was going crazy! I was frantic trying to figure out how I would get the events of the past four weeks out of my head without risking my reputation with the people I trusted the most. Finally it came to me. I needed to blog. I was back in the same place I was when I was that college freshman. Awkward, painfully shy, slow to make friends, scared, alone, overworked and underslept. Just when you think you've overcome all those hurdles that the coming of age era has put in front of you, you feel like a ninth grader again; speed walking through the halls only trying to survive with the goal of making it to your next class on time. The law school even gave me my own locker! And it was right next to one of the 2Ls (2nd year law student in legal speak) who is on the law review! I'm cool now!

Now that I've mentally sorted out my life, I have to think of that clever conclusion. Hold on a second! I'm only 22! There can't be a conclusion! I think a summation of facts and lessons learned up until this point will suffice. So here it is: No matter what our experiences are, or how we percieve them, or even how old we are, we'll always end up again at that familiar starting point we've experienced before, yet is just different enough to scare the bejesus out of us. Some people don't cope well. Some people cope very well. And then there are people like me, who need to find a way to cope but because of the ambitious and competitve life route I chose to take, I have to make it look like I don't need to find a way to cope and that I'm perfectly well adjusted and capable of become an excellent young lawyer ready to take on the world.

So here's to finding ways to cope with what life brings you! Or maybe what we bring upon ourselves!