Sunday, November 30, 2014

1L Exams

Somehow our section ended up with the most abnormal law school professors ever. We have no traditional issue spotting essay exams! All the other sections do but we happened to get the three unconventional professors. The class that came the closest by having essay questions is the most abnormal of them all by allowing us to have three exams throughout the semester. And for the final, he tries to make it easier on us by switching to only multiple choice. Wow!

My first exam is Criminal Law on Tuesday and it will consist of 90 multiple choice questions and 13 short answer. 

My second exam is Civil Procedure on Thursday and unlike the first two exams in this class, it will consist of 16 multiple choice questions with an area to write in why we chose that answer. 

My contracts exam is next week and we don't know the number of questions but it's all multiple choice. 

I've always done well on multiple choice questions (hence why I took the LSAT) but law school multiple choice questions are a different beast. Some of the questions are over a page long for just that one question. The answers are usually all true (or false) and we have to pick the one that is the most true or the most false. Tricky little things. 

Well, this was a lovely break but I should get back to studying. 

Wish me luck and I'll see you on the other side. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

What does a law student do on Thanksgiving? Well this one studies Criminal Law! In part because finals start in just a few days. The other part is that my family is 3,500 miles away and although a few friends invited me to their families dinner, it just didn't seem worth the loss of studying hours.

I'm not alone though, quite a few of my classmates decided not to go home for Thanksgiving, even if they are by comparison, close by. Sadly, their families don't understand and are irked. Leaving the student even more stressed. Come on guys, finals start four days after Thanksgiving. No, I do not think it is fair either but it is just the way it is.

I made the best of it though. I wasn't about to cook a turkey just for me so I grabbed my books and I went to Denny's. I ate my turkey and pie while making Crim Law flashcards! Win/Win in my book.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Time for Finals

So I just finished my last class of my first semester of law school! Man, time flew. In exactly two weeks from today, I will be done with finals and I will finally get a break. Sort of. Apparently during Christmas break, I am expected to apply to the bar, apply for summer internships, and join bar memberships. Not to mention, go to the eye doctor, get my drivers license changed over, clean my house (Oh does my house need it) and do all the other little things I haven't had time for. But hey, this is law school. I don't really get Thanksgiving off so why would Christmas be any different?

But that's all stuff I can worry about later. As of right now, I'm in FINALS MODE. All finals all the time. I'm about to head to Denny's to catch up on my civ pro reading and hopefully go through my Crim Law supplement and chart the differences between the MPC and Common Law. If a potential law student ever reads this, Pay attention to the difference in class! Make flashcards throughout the semester at the end of every chapter so you're not at the end going, hmmm, I kinda remember this but I don't remember which is which.

As a side note, my professors were nice enough to give us all an outline today. Of course they did, I finished my outlines last night! No, but it's actually really helpful because I can compare mine against theirs and find out what I missed. I'm sure I missed something! Or lots of somethings. So Whooo Hoo for nice professors. Apparently, this is a rare thing. My civ pro professor told me that when he first started giving handouts/notes he got a lot of crap for it and other professors accused him of spoon feeding the students. I'm all for spoon feeding! My goodness professor, you look so nice and pretty today. And you're obviously the smartest person in the world. Now about the final . . . 

I feel that writing my own outline helped me understand the material in my head and getting theirs helps me find what I missed. Plus, I have a feeling that at least some of the students won't bother making their own even though our professor's version is incredibly short and brief. Mine are not the monster outlines that people warn you against but it's not five pages either. So we'll see.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Back Up Your Back Up!

Way back when, before I was a law student, my best friend was a 1L at the law school closest to us. And one day someone stole all of her notes. Just bam. Everything gone. And I remember her sobbing on my couch at three o'clock in the morning telling me she was going to drop out of law school to become a hobo.

So when it came time for me to start, I bought a ton of thumb drives and I backed up everything. Every day of class notes, every bit of research, everything. However, somewhere after the first month of school, my thumb drive became corrupted/damaged and it screwed up the files on my computer. I freaked. Straight up FREAKED. All those hours of notes just poofed. Now it eventually turned out okay and I managed to only lose a few days of notes and everything was fine. But it has made me paranoid. I have my computer pass coded and I back up my back ups. Oh, and I send myself an email with all of my class notes at the end of each week. Is it overkill? Absolutely. Does it help keep my stress level down? Oh yes. 

Today I was proofreading my memo and my computer crashed. I couldn't remember the last time I had saved the current draft but I knew that I had sent myself an email with it only a few hours before. So while my computer was rebooting, I went outside and played with my dog instead of having a nervous breakdown and forgetting how to breathe. 

Being paranoid isn't always a bad thing. 

Classroom Shenanigans

So yes, we use the socratic method. Yes, we go through eight times as much material as we would in undergrad. But if someone tells you class in law school is never fun, they lie.

The other day in Contracts, I walk in and see that Chapter 17 is pulled up on the powerpoint. Wait? What? We weren't assigned Chapter 17. I look over at the guy next to me and he's frantically flipping through the book apparently hoping he can read it in the 3 minutes before class starts. Whispers are flying around the room. What is going on here?

Eventually, a guy walks in with a guitar and my professor pulls out a ukulele.

"I can teach you everything you need to know about Chapter 17 in under five minutes."

And then they sang a song about men in prison, frigid women and who know's what else. And they made us sing along with the chorus. Guys, we had a sing-a-long in contracts.

It was genius. And I truly understood mistake, impracticability, and impossibility in under five minutes.

I think law school should be a musical.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ode to Law School Exams


We finally got our grades for the second civ pro exam. Mine wasn't terrible but my grade from the last test went down 9 points while the class average went up 20 points. That is unfortunate. Plus, I feel the reason I did less well was very arbitrary. The exam was a mix of essay questions, short answers and three multiple choice questions. I did great on the essay and short answer portion but out of the three multiple choice questions, one was worth 10 points out of a hundred while the other two were only worth 3 points each. Which one did I miss? Of course it was the 10 point one.

On the other hand, it has definitely given me a kick in the butt to start getting serious about finals. Only one more week before they start and I will take any form of motivation I can get!

The last couple weeks I have been focused on my memo. I have more or less finished the writing of it and now I am adding citations and polishing it a bit. Oh, and I have to cut around 400 words. But I have all weekend before it is due and as soon as I'm done with that, I am going to finish my outlines and buckle down.

Fun Times Ahead!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Observations on Florida

Okay, this post took about four months to write. I started it when I first got here and any time I noticed something about Florida I just wrote it down and saved it. Each paragraph was written at a different time. So it's random. And weird. And makes me look like an idiot at times.

The drivers truly are awful. People keep telling me it is because of all the old people here but they are fooling themselves. Everyone speeds about 20 over which on its own doesn't bother me. However, they also follow about two and a half feet from the car in front of them. Added to the fact that no one uses turn signals or stops for stop signs and it all equals to a lot of totaled cars here. Not going to lie, the freeways scare me.

I've been told that it is not illegal to talk on the phone while driving which shocks me to my very core but even if that is not true, no one bothers to put down their phone when they drive by a cop. So at the very least, it is not enforced.

Also, there seems to be a very lazy attitude about DUI's. All my neighbors seem to have no problem driving to the store half toasted and at least a few of my classmates have driven completely drunk without feeling like they were lucky not to get arrested. Coming from a state where you can get a reckless driving ticket for driving after drinking EVEN if you are way below the legal limit for a DUI, well it freaks me out.

On second thought, I definitely don't believe it's the old people that cause all the accidents here. It's the young and stupid, talking on their cell phones while being half drunk. Good Grief.

On a different track:
The laundry rooms in a lot of houses are outside! It makes sense when you realize that you don't want it heating up your house but doesn't make sense when you hop out of the shower and realize you need that shirt you left in the dryer.

Coming from a city where most of the year you had to turn on the heat, the fact that all the vents are near the ceiling is a weird change. I understand that it's because most of the year we have the central AC on but it was strange not having to arrange my furniture around the floor vents.

Also, I turned on my furnace for the first time the other day and it set off my fire alarm. Why did it set off my fire alarm? Because my landlord installed it four inches from a vent. Not a problem when the AC is on, very big problem when the heat is on.

It is five degrees in my hometown right now and 70 here in Florida. That 70 degrees, which only a few short months ago would have been beautiful weather has left me freezing and wearing sweaters and wool socks. I'm pretty sure I am broken for life.

There is something that looks like a shower rod in every shower. At first I was like, why would someone put the towel in the shower, it'd get all wet. Floridians are stupid. And then someone told me it's for the bath mat. Okay, I am the stupid one. Sorry Floridians. And also, the humidity here makes everything moldy ridiculously quick. I opened up a bag of beef jerky, zipplocked what I didn't eat and three days later I had a fuzzy green science experiment. So if you are in Florida in the summer, eat ALL the beef jerky in one sitting. And don't leave the k-cup in the keurig until your next cup of coffee. Bleck! And hang up your bathmat after your shower.

If you live in Florida and it gets down to 50 degrees, your professor will joke that his hands are frostbitten and all your classmates will be like "OMG really? Are you okay?" And you'll be sitting there going "It's 50 degrees! There is no frost!" Don't get me wrong, I'm freezing at 50 degrees but it's not going to kill me or give me frostbite!

The lizards here are suicidal. They will be perfectly calm, just chilling on the sidewalk. Until you walk by and then they dart right under your shoe. Those suckers can move fast! I've become the designated lizard watcher for a friend because she has a really bad habit of squishing them underfoot.

I miss basements. Basements are perfect for storing random crap that you don't want to see but can't bear to throw away. It wouldn't be so bad if there were garages but at least in the area I live in, they are rare. So I have boxes of stuff in the corner of my living room and a bike blocking my way to the spare room closet.

Most of these things are not complaints. I love it here! The drivers are crazy but I live five minutes from the beach. This is something I can live with. <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Cold Bothers Me Elsa

One of the big draws of going to law school in Florida is that I HATE the cold. I am always freezing and back home, I would often wear my winter coat long after my friends moved on to shorts and flip flops. However, winter back home would drop down to zero and if it was warmer than that, we got snow. I assumed that when Florida had a cold snap I would be in a better place than the people born and raised here. Nope. Nope. Nope. It's been in the fifties all week and I've pulled out all my winter gear. Fluffy coats, hats, gloves and scarves. We are all complaining about how cold it is and how annoying it is to have to turn on the heat. My professor even complained about frostbitten fingers. Which is not possible when we are still twenty degrees above even getting frost but okay professor. I'm still more cold than everyone else, I even turned my heat up to 85 just to fall asleep last night. I am broken and I should just buy a battery operated electric blanket to carry with me at all time.

The only person worse off is my dog. Every time I shoo her out the door to go to the bathroom she looks at me reproachfully. As if she's saying Mom, you promised me that if I survived that awful eight day car ride, I would never be cold again. You lied Mom. You lied. 

I shouldn't complain because if I hadn't have moved here, I would be in Washington where it got down to five degrees last week but I can't help it. I need to move to a place where it never drops below 70 degrees. Good grief.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Too Many Words

I have always been that person. You know the one. The kind of person who has to change the font of the punctuation in order to meet the page requirement. The one who finishes a paper just to realize that they are three pages short of the requirement. Yes. That person.  I always seem to be short on words with nothing left to say. Until I came to law school. Here, they do not have page requirements, they have word limits. Strict word limits. Every professor I have talked to says that they purposely give you fewer words than you really need in order to break people of the habit of adding fluff to their work. Well how nice. However, since I never got the hang of adding fluff to my papers, this word limit is killing me.

I don't think I would be this surprised if I hadn't finished the first memo at only half of the limit. The second one took me by surprise when I had to go through and cut stuff but it wasn't horrible. This memo though? I think my professor greatly underestimated how many words we would need. I still have two sections to write and I already have too many words. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGG

And of course, since this is law school, this is the ONLY memo that actually counts towards our final grade in research and writing. So the fifty plus hours I put into the other memos mean absolutely nothing. Eeep.

Plus, I am so ready for Christmas break to get here. Which means I spend more time thinking about writing this memo than actually writing it. That's not a recipe for disaster or anything. Right?

So that's what I have been up to. Fascinating right? I did get one heck of a highlight to my day when the Denny's waitress brought me a slice of pumpkin pie with a smiley face made of whipped cream. And then she dampened it by telling me that I really looked like I needed a smile. Wait, you mean not everyone comes to Denny's with a backpack and stays for six hours while they occasionally cry? Why on earth not? Try it and you might enjoy it. Especially when it comes with pie!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Time Flies Even When You Are Not Having Fun

You know, everyone told me that law school flies past and every time I would just laugh. But it's TRUE. I have never had three months pass so fast in my entire life. Time has been moving faster than my time studying abroad, faster than the last five minutes with my love before I get on an airplane, faster than my day at disneyland when I was five. Okay, I never went to disneyland when I was five but you get me. Time is going SOOOO fast. So if someone ever tells you that law school flies by, believe them because somehow, time gets hinky here.

On the same theme, I used to laugh at the memes that would say something along the lines of "you know it's finals time because you just cleaned your house top to bottom." And I always snorted and said too bad that's not my procrastination tool because my house is a pigsty around finals time. Seriously, I might spend 16 hours straight watching Netflix but I'd never get so desperate to procrastinate that I'd actually clean. Until today. I woke up and whined 'I'm tired of working on my memo.' Two hours later I still hadn't made it out of bed and I felt pathetic. I dragged myself away from pinterest, opened my computer and then somehow ended up sweeping and mopping and all sorts of stuff. My house looks fantastic but I still don't have a rough draft of my memo. How did this happen?