Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Meeting of the Minds?

Silly me.

I actually thought going to law school meant the level of professionalism would be higher than in undergrad. What a naive assumption on my part. Won't happen again.


Perhaps this is such a shocking sentiment coming straight from the Baylor bubble, (and when I say straight I mean straight.from.graduation. I'm mourning the loss of one final "That Good 'Ole Baylor Line" like you wouldn't believe) but there is more to this theory than my sudden lack of proximity to live bears.

At face value, MSU and Baylor could be called similar: both have squirrels (Baylor's are fluffy and cute. MSU's are mangy, red, and psycho), both have brick buildings (Baylor's have the additional aesthetic of spires), both have rivers running through campus (The Brazos only wishes it were as legit as the one at MSU), and both are beautifully green (I know my tuition dollars were well spent on landscapers, and am enjoying the natural dense forest paths of the north).

Yet, the culture shock goes far beyond Floyd Casey's jealousy over a convenient stadium location in the heart of campus. This is not about factors that would be better served in the U.S. News guide to choosing a school. Instead, the matter is of professional behavior in general. I knew when I applied that law school (and lawyers) have a reputation for being ruthless. This meant leaving the comfort and easiness of the Baylor bubble behind for the world of Socratic belittling, oppressive amounts of reading, and passable legal writing. One of the reasons I'm currently sitting in a Barnes & Noble in the middle of Michigan is because, in light of these reasons, I wanted to test drive the law before making a down payment on the three hardest years of my life.

The program is half over and the funny thing is, I am fascinated by the subject matter. Legal writing requires a complete overhaul of everything you thought you knew about effective sentence structure and grammar. Essentially, legal writing eats undergraduate research papers for breakfast. Doctrinally, I'm learning that contracts are everywhere. What constitutes a meeting of the minds? Offer.Acceptance.Counter-offer.Consideration.Ambiguous terms.Parol Evidence. OR-you get a hankering for chocolate chip cookies, so you go to the store and buy cookie dough. Congratulations, you just effectively entered into and completed the terms of a contract.

Without saying too much about acquaintances on the open Internet, I have been severely disappointed in the way in which my program colleagues choose to interact. Older seasoned professionals from other careers and Master's Degree holders alike talking smack about virtual strangers, reverting to 7th grade locker room insults and humor, and ridiculous attempts at egotistic intimidation techniques are all part of my daily existence.

The essential issue in this case is not whether I will be able to hack this life, but whether I want to. The cutthroat culture of law reaches far and wide (and yes, even to the Baylor bubble. In fact, read any law school review guide and it'll tell you competition is practically born at Baylor Law).

While I may soon be declared certifiably insane for having the audacity to actually enjoy law school exams, as they say in baseball, "it's never over until it's over."

And to that I say thank you to for providing me with an interactive game tracker for streaming play-by-play coverage of the College World Series as I furiously scribble away the terms of real property, navigate the sea of jerk colleagues, and tackle law school one case at a time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Definition Updated.

They say BIC is worth the wait, and they are right. My favorite class in all undergrad is the BIC capstone, wherein we study coming of age novels from Harry Potter to Life of Pi. I've jokingly called this class group therapy, as we read novels and attempt to read between the lines. We write blog posts for every class period on a forum so that each student has access to each other's thoughts. Our very first blog post was to answer the question: Who Am I? Our final post was to answer that question again.

My first post:

"If inner thoughts could exhibit animal characteristics, mine would be that of a squirrel. I am addicted to diet coke and fear I may meet death by aspartame. I believe John Locke was correct in asserting that men are inherently good. I was choked on the playground in the fourth grade for being too bouncy. I am best friends with my parents. I like to leave encouraging notes around the house for them to find; a quick ‘good morning’ in the coffee beans is always a winner. I drive a car with a large hole in the top, and that is perfectly fine with me. I am most proud of my easy-going nature, though I am a true diplomat at heart. If I had to do it all over again, I would change my major, but not my minors. I am self-conscious at my lack of domesticity, think London is a beautiful yet lonely city, and want a freckle tattoo."

My final post:

"I am different than I expected to be.

Less naive, more confident, less judgmental, more cynical. The list goes on and I’m sure I could bore you with all my attributes and faults, but that is not the point. The point is that I am content. I do not believe it possible for people to truly see themselves clearly, as there are so many factors and layers that are not immediately evident on the surface level. I don’t profess to such things. However, I do think I have a decent grasp on my limitations, my interests, my emotions, my determination. I do not have a bad self image, nor do I think higher of myself than I should. I am happy with who I’ve become, and am ready to move forward. My experience at Baylor is ‘rearview,’ as my Dad likes to say. In fact, I must leave graduation early so that I can embark upon my newest life adventure. I am okay with this. Armed with textbook knowledge and valuable life lessons, I am glad to have experienced the Baylor culture. I am prepared to succeed and even better prepared to fail. I am guarded. I am a product of my upbringing and my education combined. I totter on the edge between extrovert and introvert. As with all of us, I am complicated, a conundrum, and cannot be summarized in mere words.

Most importantly, I am the best version of myself."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Roses the Color of Sunset

There are those days where everything comes together, where one wakes up before the alarm and knows, just feels it in the tip of their toes, that it will be a good day.

today was one of those days.

I participated in Jewel Degree, or otherwise known as the final frontier of ADPi membership before becoming an alumna. It was my last chance to hear juicy secrets from generations past, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Immediately following, I went to Founder's Day, which is a celebration of the founding of Alpha Delta Pi. Founded on May 15, 1851 by sixteen year old Wesleyan Women's College student Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald, the Adelphean Society "had for its object the mental, moral, social, and domestic improvement of its members." Now, 159 years after the six founders united under an umbrella of sisterhood consisting of common goals, virtues, and desires, I stood proudly to receive my scholarship and senior recognition. Looking around at the spring dresses and sprightly shades of cardigans, I felt the bittersweet moment; ready to leave, not ready to go. I felt like an alumna.

Last night we had formal. It may have been raining, a small Waco Hurricane. It may have been at a venue that closely resembled a sheep farm. Laura and I may have got stuck in the mud, our heels sinking 3 inches deep the minute we stepped out of the car. We may have made the treacherous journey to the big white house and washed the cakes of mud off our formally-clad selves. We may have laughed. We may have had one of the best formals ever. And we may have had an adventure.

The night was not without casualties, however. Laura's usually pristine white car was transformed into a Dalmatian of mud. Following Founder's Day we went through the car wash. Settling in, I prepared to enjoy one of my favorite life pleasures. We put on Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing.' And there is where I felt it. There, in the car wash with one of my best friends, washing the mud off and listening to 80's power ballads, thinking about the symbolism of becoming an alumna and gracefully exiting something which has been such a monumental part of my past four years, I felt it. Like the car wash, the last events of senior are an opportunity to move forward. To realize that I am graduating in three weeks, and am off to start a brand new adventure. And that no matter what happens or where I go, no matter how much I screw up or not at all, there will always be a car wash to reset, refocus, and to realize that no matter what, the main lesson is to Don't Stop Believing.

My name was read, and I stood to receive my yellow-orange rose and senior gift. The presenter highlighted my college life in thirty seconds:I am an International Studies major, I excelled in these organizations, my future plan is to attend law school, my favorite sorority memory is all-nighters in the chapter room and cutting of the Creeds.

It wasn't until later, experiencing the car wash and Journey and everything in between, that I realized I was wrong. My favorite sorority memory changed to today. It will change again soon. It will constantly change, as will I.

Two days ago I bought cowboy boots.

Yet another defining factor of my identity. Add proud Texas [of four years] to the list. Add ADPi alumna to the list. Add college graduate to the list.

And let the list keep growing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Healing Power of Fountains & Friends

Three weeks into my final year as an undergrad. Overwhelmed is an understatement. Classes are small (less than 10 people in all of them), Demand for excellence is high, leadership positions are challenging to the point of no return. Yet, as intense and draining as the past few weeks have been, they have also been some of the most well-rounded weeks of my entire college career.

There is a large black cricket infestation in Waco. Its really, really bad. My courtyard is filled with frogs the size of my palm. The upside? frogs think crickets=yummy. The downer? I now must watch out for homeless creepers AND frogs-its a real battle zone between the car and the front door. Kittens come in trios. I did field research at a Czech folk festival. McDonalds happy meals with American Girl paper dolls do indeed make me quite happy. I now hold a most coveted spot in SING/Pigskin formations: the tip of the triangle. This year, I'll finally apply myself to Russian; if I don't, I will surely drown among the Pushkin poems.

This week was particularly intense. Come Friday night I was tired, hungry, wilted by the immense humidity, and ready to throw in the towel. Though I wanted no more than a quiet night at home, I mustered all my energy and pushed through an extreme sport social event at the student life center. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, how fun it was, and how good it felt to hurl dodgeballs across the court towards 20-30 strangers. It was pouring rain as we cleaned up and walked the supplies to a friend's car. Dryness was no longer an option and I noticed the BSB fountains were still running. It is a tradition to run through the science building fountains, and is one I had yet to experience. Tonight, surrounded by some of my closest friends, I experienced another college right of passage.

Run, group hug, laughter. Run, group hug, soaked, water, laughter. more laughter.

And as I stood soaked, laughing uncontrollably with the rain pouring down around us, I felt it. Renewal, refreshment. But most of all, I felt alive.

At that moment, under the cloud of stress and delirium, there was nothing to do but run. Run through the wall of water, and run fast and hard.

Thats the feeling that propells us on. Like white water rapids.

(and among the chaos of the here, the now, the future, the suggestive song of a ceiling fan plays on.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Waxing (& Washing) Philosophical

The next 45 minutes are extremely precious. That is the amount of time I have left before I am kicked off the at&t Starbucks internet connection.

I've been neglecting my blog lately.

My mind has been everywhere- the good, the bad, the freaking out, the empowered, that I'm not sure I could even begin to capture my thoughts. So I won't. Instead, I'll wax philosophical for a moment on carwashes and why they are so perfect.

Carwashes. 8 minutes of renewal. the smell of soap. the cleansing of dirt away. the ability to use them wherever, whenever. The feeling of driving in, knowing you have nothing to do for the next few minutes except for watching the patterns on the windshield and anticipate the powerful blast of air when the time comes.

A carwash is a tabula rasa.

Simply put, a carwash has the ability to refresh you. to make you feel as if, when you drive out the other end, the world is a better place. brighter. cleaner. full of greater possibilities. regardless of where your head and heart were when pulling in, its as if the soapy suds wash away all the apprehension.

if you're not buying it, we can agree to disagree.

but gahh, you haven't lived until you've experienced a carwash at its finest. and at its finest, it not only cleans the outside of the car, but the precious cargo inside as well.

lets just say, I've been going through a lot of carwashes lately.

law school. grad school. director of a cruise ship. can I really do it all?


My summer has shifted focus. This has become the most interesting, unexpected, introspective, rewarding summers I have ever experienced. Its frightening. and boring. and at the same time, exhilerating to have so much time to simply listen to myself, my thoughts, to take the time to assess and analyze the outcomes of my future decisions. God really knows what he's doing. He knew exactly what I needed out of this summer long before I did. but thats usually how it goes.

I've been working for about a month doing camp photos. I've also started my own collection of what I like to call "creepy kids of summer." bahaha. my roommates have no idea what's hitting them come fall. creepy kids of summer collage? I think yes. (sorry Jessie....some of the pictures are really abstract and cool, and some are downright weird and creepy :) ohh the faces kids make in photos. you can see an entire world of emotion in these photos.

I've also begun a poptab collecting campaign. Its going well, seeing as how my workplace is the poptab meca.

ok, 30 minutes of precious wifi. Thats all you get, blogworld.

until the next wifi session-

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Trees Are All A'Twitter

I live in a perpetual campground. This is what I've coined our Flagstaff residence. The windows are big, bright, and open. The living room has a fireplace, four outrageously comfy leather chairs, two large open windows, and comes to a point at the ceiling, like a mini A-frame within the house. We lovingly refer to it as the tent. Here we sit, night after night, listening to the sounds of the forest-birds, dogs, buzzing of bugs-and experience a perpetual campground moment. The cool night air coupled with the fireplace and comfy chairs is enough to quickly draw you in and cause immediate relaxation.

When you're camping in the Arizona forests, there is another noise that is distinctly recognizable. This is the sound of the trees. Now, you may wonder, what? Trees don't make sounds. Cats, they meow. Horses, they neigh. People, they talk. Trees, they stand there and look pretty (except for those all brown suffering from bark beetles...a metaphor for another day). While trees may not have mouths and voices, their tale is ever clear. Trees are catalysts, used by the wind to spin a story. Today, the story is loud and full of mischief. Whoosh! goes the wind, taking no prisoners as it flies through the needles of the pines. Throughout the house a story is being constructed. No, more than a story. The way the wind is blowing, a full on opera is being composed outside these walls.

I wonder what they're saying? The operatic movement has been consistent since sunrise. Sometimes it sounds angry, violent. Others, like right now, it merely strings sentences together, content to sway the day away. You know there are birds out there holding on for dear life. Their songs sound a bit more stressed than usual, concentrating on their nests within the trees, not wanting to start over due to the wind's potential destruction. Its ok, little birds. You are supposed to be high flying, blown from here to there. You like the wind. It does the work for you. You open your wings and soar with the current.

Wouldn't it be great if we all trusted the wind like the birds? Some do, letting it take them to new heights. Others don't, preferring to make their nests on the ground, rather than run the risk of re-building after a blustery day.

Ok, the wind has suddenly dramatically died down and took the conclusion to my metaphor with it. I don't know what I was trying to conclude, so I won't even try.

This is the first blog post I've written in the daylight, I think. My night owl ways are rapidly falling by the wayside this summer. I shouldn't be writing. I should be LSATing. 3 days left. I'm just so tired of thinking about it and stressing over it. I experienced a mini panic attack this week while studying at Barnes and Noble. And to make it worse, a lady came up, sat down next to me, and said rude things just out of the blue. Really? If you don't have anything nice to say, maybe you shouldn't bring your dog in a public business and be rude to those around you. I've stopped studying there, for the most part. I'm to the point where I'm doing full practice tests everyday and I have those here at home. I don't need the strategies as much, and frankly, I'm tired of watching camo gaming guy and jerk reading guy and listening to their gossip about Orthodox Priest man's loud cell-phone voice or NAU girl's use of 2 tables. Deconstructive talk just for the sake of talking is just lame.

I hope the trees are being constructive. Thats what I chose to believe.

Although I was mad and frustrated at LSAT and mean lame men the other day, as I got up to stretch, the guy who's always behind the counter in the cafe asked me how the studying was going. I replied not well, to which he looked genuinely concerned and sympathetic. He then asked me how may days until I took the LSAT (which means he's been watching my studying habits and isn't as weirded out by my daily diet pepsis as I thought he was) and when I replied 5, he gave me a nice smile and said, "when the test day comes, it will all be there. And it'll be worth it." then he handed me my diet pepsi as well as a glimmer of hope for the Barnes and Noble crowd, after all.

Often, you're not aware of what those around you notice. Ever more often, one word or phrase has enough potential to give you renewed life and vigor. Like the wind, which is in full force yet again, you just have to allow yourself to be blown along, and let the whirl create a force around you.

In other news, I now kill spiders and wasps, too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Art of Murdering Moths

The thing is, I don't want to murder the moths. I know they aren't harmful. I know they're caterpillars who turn into moths. I know they have a tendency to love the light while simultaneously loving the dark. The also seem to love watching me sleep. This is the reason they have to go. Regardless of how careful I am with keeping the door closed and trying to ensure they won't enter the room, like many things in life, this luxury is nowhere near guaranteed. Moths represent summer. The cool air, the crickets chirping, the breeze through the open windows and the pine trees outside. They appear and disappear just as quickly. Stealthy and discreet, I'm rapidly learning that trusting a moth's position is a fatal move.

i awake bright and early every morning to the sound of construction out my open window and to the bright morning light. bang bang bang goes the hammer, its time to awaken and greet the summer light! I drive out of my neighborhood and into town, marveling at the majestic peak straight ahead. With all the rain and weather, it looks different in different forms of light. My shower has some of the best water pressure I've ever experienced. Flagstaff Barnes and Noble is my daily destination. I order a venti diet pepsi every day around 3:00 in the afternoon. The locals and I are becoming quite acquaintances.

Here's the thing with them: I spent a good few days while pouring over my LSAT books and learning strategy, discovering that the trout comes before the bass in the supermarket fish sale, while also keeping an open ear towards the conversations around two local men that sit in the same spots, reading and playing on their computers day after day. I'm convinced one hasn't worn anything but the same outfit I saw first saw him in. He's middle aged, black shirt on black jeans, and often a camo jacket if the rain decides to hang out with us. The first day I saw him he was engrossed, and I mean totally engrossed, in his computer, typing furiously. Since I've seen writers at the Flagstaff bookstore before, I immediately thought he was in the creative process and I was inspired, felt a pang to begin writing for fun like I used to love. I even started a story and pledged to myself that I'd write short stories this summer, just because I want to.

After listening to conversations and context clues and employing my ability to eavesdrop on public conversations, I discovered black shirt camo man was in fact not writing a novel. He was instead playing games. Computerized chess, To take the matter further, when I told my parents this, my Dad informed me he knows exactly who I'm talking about and has seen him at B&N doing the same thing for the past.8.years. throughout his travels through Flag and in his stops and needs for coffee before heading down the mountain.

gaming? all day everyday? I was so disappointed. still am, actually. I wasted valuable time and energy and listening resources, so curious about these characters who come and do the same routine, day after day. While I've become a part of the crowd, with my LSAT books and diet pepsi, I know its temporary. Come June 8 I'll be done. I'll be working, I'll be in summer phase 2. Looks are deceiving. Apparently you can't judge a book, or a camo jacket, but its cover. And if you do, you better beware. You may just end up rather not knowing.

We ate Sunday lunch in Winslow Arizona last week. It was delightful. Standin on a corner in Winslow Arizona. such a fine sight to see.

Fun fact: the original song was set in Flagstaff. Standin on a corner in Flagstaff Arizona. such a fine sight to see. Its a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me.

There is a plaque. and a flatbed ford on the street of ol' sleepy Winslow AZ. this makes me immensely happy.

what I've learned from LSATing:
-arguments can always be weakened, regardless of how strong you may think it is
-bubble sheets are evil
-in logic games, G H F R Y T U I S all have a place, just not necessarily where you might think they'd go
-writing sample, schmiting sample.

and so it continues. less than 2 weeks. bring it. bring it.

the computer battery is about to die.

summer indulgence: venti diet pepsis and watching the Bachelorette on with Mom.

fall asleep to the crickets. wake up with the sun. make friends with the moths.