Tagged in: 3L

3L Dispatch: Law School Finals Survival Kit

Once again, I have entered Finals Season. Hypos, outlines, and practice exams will be constant companions for the next three weeks or so. I have four exams, one licensing project, and one seminar paper. One exam (Venture Capital) is multiple choice and disturbingly requires the use of a calculator. To help gird my soul against the unrelenting misery that lays before me, I have assembled this:

Properly, I suppose it isn’t really a law school finals survival kit. It won’t actually help me memorize statutes or SCOTUS tests and it won’t teach me how to make kick-ass outlines. Nothing in this box will increase my ability to spot issues or manage my time on a complex fact pattern. But, maybe by thinking about the contents of this survival kit I will be able to maintain the self-discipline to keep my nose buried in the outline. It’s an “eyes on the prize” kind of thing, the light at the end of the tunnel and a tangible collection of rewards to look forward to once I wade through this madness. There are certain items that represent an entire class of pleasures I am denying until this tumult has passed. These are the things will will sustain my flagging spirits.

It contains:

  1. One bottle of Aberlauer Scotch
  2. One copy of Bioshock 2 for the X-Box 360
  3. One Astonishing X-Men Omnibus
  4. One Kindle (with a butt-load of new books (none of which even mention the word “law” (an embarrassing number of these involve wizards of some type))
  5. Two Netflix movies (Blast of Silence and Network)
  6. One X-Box 360 Controller (which symbolizes Netflix streaming as well as Halo3)
  7. One plane ticket to Las Vegas (for post-finals debauchery in a city I am ambivalent about)
  8. One copy of The Economist

Strangely, I post more in this blog when I am in the midst of the hellish fray of outlining and reading that ties up the end of every semester.  Actually, I get many things done at this time of year. During this long, dark tea time of the soul I become more likely to seek release from the mounting pressure in small distractions. The dishes get done. The laundry gets folded. The closet gets reorganized. The blog gets updated.

And this is the final go-round. Today I had my last class of my law school career. Barring the Dean granting my request for permission to become an unprecedented 4L, my time as a student of The Law is drawing to a close. I’ll look back fondly on my time here at Hastings. All the gunners I sighed at. All the holdings I highlighted. All the cold calls I choked/gasped/stuttered in response to. The beers I drank and the friends I made are important, too but I’ll mostly overlook them in favor of memories of the classes themselves. Good professors and bad, I have learned SOMETHING from every thinker who stood in front of me. There’s nothing like the satisfaction I get from a truly engaging discussion, when I walk out of the classroom positively buzzing from my sips of the  sweet draught of Knowledge. I don’t know if I learned how to change the world, but I learned that it’s important to try.

I Am a Sinner…

Inasmuch as blogging about blogging is a sin, and I am about to do a little of that. Why the silence? It’s not because I’m too busy. Not really. Well okay I am, but that’s not why I haven’t been as active on the Semantic Drift writing front as I would like. It’s because my every waking moment consists of me freaking out over how I don’t have a job. I’ve half-started a movie review or charming little vignette about how I said something stupid on the way home from Target or any of the other well-written minutia my readers have come to expect but they always circle back to the fear and apprehension I feel when I think about any point in time beyond the next two months. And that might get old pretty damn quick. I know I get tired of it, and it’s happening inside my own skull.

As I prepare to visit Austin for spring break my preparations for the trip are tainted by the fact that this is likely to be the last Spring Break I ever have. Being a 3L in the spring carries a certain sadness; a wistful acknowledgment that my days as a student are nearly done. I’m sure many of my colleagues feel nothing but unalloyed joy at the thought of never registering for a class or tucking a syllabus into a folder. They revel in the surety that soon they will be actual lawyers, walking, talking productive members of society who have jobs and salaries and wake up before 10:00 a.m. on Fridays. No more textbooks and no more scrotum-tightening fear of getting cold-called when you haven’t done the reading.

And all that sounds good to me, too. Don’t get me wrong. Just because I’m almost thirty and have spent the vast majority of my adult life enrolled at some institution of higher learning doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to tearing it up in the real world. Granted, I would be a little more psyched if I had an actual job lined up or at least a coherent plan for life after law school beyond “Take the Bar Exam and Pray”but I’m still excited at the grand vista of possibility that lays before me. I’ve worked hard and earned myself an impressive suite of skills and I do itch to make my mark on the world.

And yet… I love the smell of libraries and the thrill of an engaging class discussion when everything clicks and it really feels like I’m in a room with some of the smartest people around and we’re trying to get to the bottom of a contentious, thorny problem. Not that that isn;t what happens in conference rooms in law firms all across the country every minute of every day, because I’m sure that’s what lies ahead. Right? The life of a lawyer is surely more than mind-numbing drudgery and poring through thousands upon thousands of pages of documents looking for a single email. It can’t be, can it?