I started this blog and totally forgot about it. Now thats what law school does. You suddenly is living in the eye of a storm and forgets about a lot of things which you ought to remember.
To be fair and square, I need to admit I am not even being a great student. I just get by- And yet, I am hard pressed for time. I seriously cant imagine what the best students are doing. (Which I am guessing the rest of the class is- because all of them looks so intelligent and brainy than me)
I have finally conceded to the fact that somebody is pulling strings from above and making me pay for the sins of my previous births. I have no other sane explanation for why I am doing law school while I could easily stick to my field of expertise and even probably get a Phd. Even after 3 months, I need to admit I seriously have no clue. But well the good thing is, I kind of enjoy it- in a sadistic way I guess.
I intend to update this blog a little more frequently because I am guessing it would be a good vent out.(Goodbye to any other noble intention of roadmapping it for any other unsuspecting International law students- because I think that species is either extinct or near endangered)
– Prof.Crump threw a party at his place, which was cool and was my first chance to interact with some of my classmates and know a little more than their last names. You also get to drag your spouse into the dreaded web.
– Reading assignments progressively get overwhelming and sometimes you even miss them (which is actually very counter productive since you have to spend double the time understanding them).
-Prof.Crump’s mid term was quite an experience. I did manage to get a S+, but I am sure that doesnt mean anything and the material was not even one fourth. I have no clue how Im going to memorize everything and what strategy to take for exams.
-Prof.Mixons classes get arbit and arbit to the point you are making up your own explanations. And beware, he also can make dangerous observations which almost got a couple of very ‘smart’ (or the cool) group in some trouble.
– I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be an outcast. But dont have anyone to blame for that. You just dont get acclimatized easily when you dont understand half the things the other person is talking.talk about cultural alienation. Atleast i can self analyse the situation. I knew I didnt win that gold medal for sociology in undergrad for nothing. See, its all part of the divine plan.
-But I also need to say, in general my classmates are much better than some of my old colleagues who were total snobs. And also much better than what they show in those American movies where almost everyone is a bitch or a freak or a hater except a few heroes and heroines.
– My sleep patterns were already messed up.And now, its all the more messed up with no signs of revival.
Basically thats all my sleep deprived mind could think of.Soon later!!
I did manage to survive the first week of law school.
Well, for an outsider, it might not seem a big deal.You might have been in the best of schools and have had the trickiest of professors and the toughest of education so far. All that is good. But none of that matters. Here you are caught up in a whirlwind, which seems to absorb you and shred you into pieces every growing second-That is law school.
Here is my 2 cents from 1st week
1. Everyone is equally scared as you are
Some people are good at hiding it and some are not.But if you feel, you are the only person who is feeling like a total klutz in class, just be consoled you are not alone.
2. Talk to people sitting next to you
My degree of point number one kind of hindered me from taking that first step which otherwise Im adept at social situations-asking names;). Remember you are going to sit with this person for the next 3 months of your valuable 1 L life.
3.There is no point being conscious of anything
I was damn conscious of my oh-so-obvious skin colour and quickly determinable accent. You cant help it-you will be the odd one in the group always (if you are an International student) and if you were so conscious about it, you should have chosen Harvard where you will get more of your kind.
4.Thinking of quitting is normal
You are not a loser to think that. I thought that a hundred times in my mind and even had a classmate who quit after 2 days.but that doesnt mean, you have to quit. This too shall pass!
5.Take some speed reading class
I have no clue how I claimed to be a bibiliophile before this. i could read 500 page books in a day, but I seem to be bowled out on 20 pages of civil procedure case book.
No explanation needed.
7.Check out online opinions on 1L
There are any number of stuff about 1L online. I especially like ‘blawgs'(apparently blog on law is called ‘blawg’s).Gonna link a couple in this blog too which would make it easier for me and as well as well, if anyone else accidentally bumps in here.
Today was the first full fledged evening school class.(Everyone calls it night skool here,maybe because it ends at night and fulltime working people have to study through night).We had two classes and till 8.50 p.m. Bless the soul of my husband who was kind enough to come with me today also.Im sure I would have got lost without him.
Anyways, we finally started Prof.Crump’s Civil procedure. And well, he is not as bad as they say.And thanks to the tip from my book seller who dropped in a cute note. He makes you sit in alphabetical order and since I arrived at the nick of time, I had to search around for it. And I barely sits down and he starts his impressive name recall from me.Wow.Im sure he had the seating list with him though.:)
3 unsuspecting poor souls were made to stand up and answer questions.It might have been intimidating at first.(Im sure for them-Like he aptly quipped, it would be grandchildren story material).I was frankly quite confused on the vast and breadth of material which I read before class and was relieved that the whole discussion was based on a case.That make sit much more simple and easy to comprehend. I made the huge huge mistake of not getting the copy center material and Im just praying hard I would get it when I go tomorrow.(I have to go early too.Damn)
Prof.Mixon with his Property class has totally fascinated me. I cant emphasize on his coolness quotient enough.I mean who comes to class wearing a suit with a snoopie dog tie and draw cartoons?And I did make the big mistake of not checking the reading list and just assumed he would resume from where he stopped yesterday.Though my assumption proved to be right, I had double reading load because of that.So never never skip on the reading list.
“When I was facebooking about how I survived first day of law school, Nivi posted this reply- after TISS and our wonderful batch…one would think you’re prepared for space school…law should be a breeze..!!”
I miss those classes with just 23 of us living,eating and sleeping out of classrooms.Law school miss that informality I guess, or maybe its because its evening class. And to be quite quite honest, I do think about Harvard and UT and the global policy studies.Im yet to figure out where this all fits in the grand scheme of things.But then, who said everything has to be so clear and candid in here?
There is nothing much to survive.It was a pretty straight forward class and nothing to be scared of. But still, the whole prospect of going to the first class- an evening class-for law school-in a different country known for its academic prowess-It was slightly intimidating. But I think I managed to pull it through.
The one thing Im seriously scared is of not making friends. My classmates are either fulltime workers or have their own cliques already. Now I know what exactly, that girl from South Africa felt when she came to join us in our 8 th grade. It must have been oddly discomforting. I ought to make friends..!!!
The first thing which struck me about Prof.Mixon is-He is so cute. When he sits up in his revolving chair with his feet dangled, it brings a smile,in a good way.And I totally love his cartoons and the philosophical undertones or should I say overtones in his lectures. Brush up on your Hobbes,Bentham et al if you want to have a better perspective of his class. And most most importantly, choose your seating.I just went in and plopped myself in the first available seat I found-Its not bad, but I could have found better.Turns out thats going to be the seating arrangement for the next whole semester.
And if you are a minority International student like me, brush up on American politics and legal system. Atleast understand the ideologies of Republicans and Democrats-It is going to help you a long way.The disadvantage is, I felt lost out on a lot of anecdotes which involved specific names of Judges other than the one in the case.I was clueless and felt like a moron.And it gives me motivation to study the legal system in my home country as well.
I am thankful that there is no computers in class.I had written my tip notes and it kind of helped me well.And it also helps that its voluntary answering in class.I have to be yet more focussed and grounded to do that.
So thats that.
Now, I have been thinking why am I doing this blog?I already have 2 blogs in 2 different languages.Why this too?ell, I would have written these down even in my diary for catharsis-So in helping me, if I can help some poor lost soul out there who is contemplating a legal education in US (if in Houston law, all the more better) and doesnt have a clue about it like me three months back, I think its worth it.
Today there was free breakfast,but we didnt quite make it in time. And as I expected I got lost in the maze of UH law building. Finally I had to wait outside to spot a parttime student to tag along to find the right room.And guess who i found-Another India?Guess that kind of defeats the name of the blog. Well, anyways we did talk a little bit and again I am amused by the kind of talent which seems to be going to be around me for the coming few years. K is a practising CPA and that in itself is quite an achievement.
Apart the from the writing assessment, there was nothing much to talk about in the second day of orientation. The writing prompt was mostly about how essential are practice skills training to develop a competent lawyer. We were given reading material before hand to go through, but was not given the topic till the D day.So that was pretty much about it.
And ofcourse O came and talked to me. O is someone whom I met in TLS forum and I liked him from our conversations then and there.For someone who is very apprehensive about the first days, I suggest making friends from forums.But also remember that there is a possibility of it backfiring too. I also ‘chatted’ with a couple of other guys. But Im seriously hurt and sad that no girls took the initiative to talk to me.Well, I didnt either.So I guess its after all my fault.
So now, am looking forward to the first day of class.And I hope it goes well.There is already tons of reading material which is given and I havent started yet.The pile of books reminds me how my coming weeks is going to be.
Today was the first day of orientation or rather ‘disorientation’ for incoming first year law students in Houston law Center.
I guess the rigmarole is kinda same, whether you are in US or in any other part of the world, provided you were lucky enough to go to the top universities in your home country. Well, atleast I was.And my first impression was, TISS campus and buildings were so much better than the Houston law Center buildings.No wonder they use the allegory of concentration camps often when alluding to the not so artful buildings of the law center.
I am so glad Sibz could drop me all the way there.Because Im sure I would have lost my way otherwise even with a GPS.Well, on the other hand he got a lucky break from office and could get all nostalgic about his own alma mater.(U of H).
So coming back to orientation,it was pretty much standard procedure-Welcome speeches,general orientation and morale boosters. I particularly liked the one where Dean emphasized on how ‘we’ are part of a select few from thousands who applied. Makes you feel good.But then, once you have had the high of been accepted to an Ivy league regardless of the course I guess these dont really come near that exhilaration.Umm, that was another thing which was bugging my mind.Somehow I get this feeling International students have a better chance of getting into an Ivy league compared to their US counterparts.I wonder why though.Is it because of the exorbitant fees the Universities can extort from poor unsuspecting International students or they truly want to be inclusive and diverse in their student body?Guess, I would never figure out.
Anyways, I was not the only brown student or International student amongst the bunch.But then I never expected to be alone. I spotted a couple of Indians or Indian looking people in the auditorium. And where i sat, everyone was keeping atleast two seats vacant in between themselves.Guess, Im not the just the only one who is nervous. And the first thing I noticed was how everyone or atleast most of everyone looked quite casual (Thanx to the dress code) and how that was contrasted with the speakers. I wish somebody gave them also a casual dress code. In a way, it was kind of symbolic.That your life is going to be transformed from a casual,carefree,happy way to uptight,formal and detached way of life. maybe Im prejudicating too much.But thats what I honestly felt.
So there was a bunch of speeches in which I liked Meredith Duncans the best.Though most of what she said is already there in the bunch of law school forums like TLS, Vault et al and a couple of blogs, I liked the fact that it was more relaxed and informal. Anyone out there, who is contemplating law school who is not from US, I strongly encourage you to read discussion forums and bug people asking questions about their experiences. It helped me prepare my mind on what to expect.And it was not much different from what I expected-Cant decide whether it was worse or better.
Then there were the study groups.Ours appeared to be strongly malnourished.Other groups seemed to have 6 to 7 people and we just had 4 of us.(1 in 5 didnt show up only).And I was the only outcast. And its kind of uncomfortable for all.They dont know what exactly to speak to me.And I dont know what to speak to them.But they were nice enough not to show and atleast attempted at small talk.And there was this student mentor who kind of was a little lost, but was very helpful in answering questions. He kind of softened up to me when I shamelessly proclaimed that I was terrified then and before. I guess, being ‘poor’ Indians do bring some kind of sympathy wave. He was genuinely nice and even came looking for me when I was lost. So mentor, David..God bless your soul.From the little interaction with my small group, I am assuming thw part time class is going to be an extremely diverse group.Amongst the three of us, we had a chemist, an engineer, sports manager and me myself development worker or whatever my title is.
I kind of tried going around and seeing what all associations were around. I made pitstops at Asian Law student association and International Law society since those were two I am genuinely interested in.By that time, I had a bad case of shoe bite and had to find my way out quickly. And man, that building is damn confusing.If somebody would release a GPS for Law center I would be the first one to grab it.
The afternoon session was quite scary. I was bored to death in the Honor code lecture section till suddenly they started putting up real student letters on how they got caught in making silly mistakes (like not quoting proper sources, plagiarising et al) and how that have totally destroyed or atleast regressed their law school careers. They even made a guy read out an apology letter for apparently lack of attendance and marking roll call for times when he was not around. Im no saint, we have done it so many times in my undergrad and postgrad. And I seriously thought that guy was going to cry or something. And to top that, they have given a 1 kg honor code document to read so that we can follow it.Apparently, ignorance is also a crime.
And there is ofcourse this huge fuss about top 10%,law review and journals.Its too early for me to say anything.But like the last speaker said, 90% of people in that room wouldnt be in top 10%.But I bet 100% is thinking that they will be in that top 10%.Like I hope too.
And I seriously hope some doors of financial aid open up for me. God, atleast give me a green card holding cosigner for a loan if not anything else.