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In addition to the California Barzam in July, one of the things facing us 3Ls after graduation is that small slip of paper that stuck us with a ginormous amount of debt that we will probably be paying off for the next, oh, bajillion years or so.

True, we have more options now with income-based repayment, and loan forgiveness for those of us entering public service jobs, but that doesn’t make the debt monster any less scary, especially when the countdown clock to when the debt monster needs to feed starts the minute we flip our tassels.

Right now, I’m watching the Boyfriend – who took the July 2011 California Barzam – watch the calendar as he scours job postings for any available district attorney job in California. With each day that passes, that date when loan payments must start comes closer and closer, even though an actual, paying job is literally and figuratively miles and miles away.

Scary.

There is some comfort, however, knowing that law students are not alone in their struggle with student debt. Apparently, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Miami International University of Art and Design is almost as costly as a law school edumucation. Grad Franchesca Leigh Ramsey owed more than $100,000 in student loan debt by the time she finished her studies there.

But rather than blog about her fears and frustrations, she channeled Beyonce.

I would generally agree that dancing and singing to Ms. B does have cathartic value.

But where girls may run the world in The Fierce Ms. B’s version of it, debt will probably run mine and many other graduates’ post-grad world for the foreseeable future.

Yup. That means bills, bills, bills.

Video via Good, based on “Countdown” by Beyonce

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At the risk of a poo-storm from readers (all two of you) for allowing such a thing to take place in my own home, I’ve decided to share with you all a rather interesting diagram that the Boyfriend – drawing on closing argument skills learned during trial advocacy classes – doodled on the dry-erase board on my fridge while I was making dinner the other night.

He didn’t draw cutesie hearts. He didn’t draw flowers. He didn’t even draw a happy face. No, no, no. For some reason, he felt the need to illustrate his idea of what happens to women (not me, dear readers, I assure you) during that time of the month complete with running commentary using the LOLcat fridge magnets he got me as a gift.

With the zest of a football coach drawing out plays, he drew a little stick figure wearing a dress with arrows flowing out of it and into its little head. Apparently, while stuff flows out during that special time, the same stuff also flows into women’s heads, triggering a sea of irrational and unpredictable behavior.

According to the Boyfriend’s diagram, this leads to a panicked boyfriend who stays in a panicked state for seven days, when, finally, the crazy settles down, and all is right with the world. It’s all very scientific, at least according to him.

I would like to say for the sake of women everywhere – and in solidarity with my exsanguinating sistahz – that I didn’t feed him dinner that night.

But I did.

Girl power fail.

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cartwheel by werriston on lomography.com

Note from the Blawgirl: I was originally going to title this post “Summer blows away” as an homage to the lyrics from The Decemberists song posted above. However, I got to thinking about just how magical the Interwebz is and how popular the name “Summer” is among certain professions, and realized that some folks might find this post looking for something completely different, if you catch my drift. Anywho, read on!

It’s Monday morning here in the O.C. (as those who are not originally from Orange County and who get made fun of by the O.C. kids call it), and the day seems to know that the weekend is over.

It also seems to know that the summer has snuck away – and won’t come out to play again until I head over to Buenos Aires with the Boyfriend in December – as the local flock of wild parrots screech against a backdrop of gray, gloomy clouds.

Totally loving the cloudy weather. Totally not loving the fact that it’s Monday.

Goodbye, weekend. Goodbye, summer. I’ll miss you.

Photo by werriston at lomography.com

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438037919_36785da891In The Shark Attack, the Blawgirl brings you a list of links to blog posts published at The Shark, a blawg written by and for law students.

A grout way to cheat. Bathroom breaks aren’t just for gathering pithy bits of wisdom anymore. Some law students see it as an opportunity to get ahead in their law school exams.

Anti-John Yoo protests at Berkeley’s commencement ceremonies: round two! Surprise! Students and alumni were expected to protest Capt. Waterboard John Yoo during U.C. Berkeley’s commencement ceremonies.

Shame on you, law school cheaters. Shame on you. Everyone has an opinion on cheaters. The Blawgirl is no exception. They are idiots.

Supreme Court nominee round-up. Before Sonia Sotomayor was announced as President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee earlier this week, the blawgs, blogs and pundits were doing what they do best: speculating! At The Shark, we scoured the Interwebz to find some little-known factoids about the possible nominees. Check them out: Possible SCOTUS nominees way back when: Kagan and Sotomayor in law school, SCOTUS shortlist: one scholar and two politicians, SCOTUS shortlist: The man, man

0L dates 1: Turns out law school puts some pressure on romance. As you know the Blawgirl is dating the Boyfriend, who just finished up his first year in law school. At The Shark, the Blawgirl reflects on the Boyfriend’s past 1L year.

241211512_7a4140cf0aIf you read this blog last Saturday, you know that the Blawgirl and the Boyfriend were going to head to Las Vegas to take a little post- and pre- 1L trip: He’s just finished his first year, and I’m getting ready to start in August.

As current and future students who will have tons of debt to pay off at the end of our three-year stints, we don’t have a lot of money to play with. As they say, “If you live like a lawyer while you’re a student, you’re going to live like a student when you’re a lawyer”, which is why we decided to take the frugal finds approach in planning our Vegas trip.

Last week, I found some great deals on the hotel stay (a four-star within a five minute drive of the strip) and two Las Vegas shows, which broke down to about $95 a person. But what about food, gas and gambling? The Boyfriend decided not to gamble this time around, and I just dropped $5 at a slot machine for the heck of it. For the rest of our expenses, here’s a rough estimate of the four-day stay:

Day 1

  • Gas: $20
  • Pita sandwiches made at home: $3
  • McDonald’s for lunch: $6; two sandwiches, two fries and a large sweet tea
  • Dinner at Baja Miguel’s restaurant at South Point: $12; split entree with free nachos, guacamole, salsa and refried beans; used a coupon from the hotel for a free margarita.

Day 1 total: $41

Day 2

  • Breakfast at Coronado Cafe at hotel: $12; split ginormous plate of corned beef hash, scrambled eggs and hash browns; four pieces of toast; and a carafe of coffee.
  • Games at South Point arcade: $5
  • Movie at Century Theater at South Point: $14
  • Dinner after The Mentalist show at Planet Hollywood: $12; split a basket of hot wings and french fries
  • Stroll from Planet Hollywood to Excalibur: free
  • Drinks at hotel bar: $10

Day 2 total: $53

Day 3

  • Breakfast at the Garden Buffet at South Point: $9; used a two-for-one breakfast/lunch buffet coupon from the hotel
  • Swimming at the South Point pool: free
  • Bowling at South Point bowling center: $15; shoe rentals, two games
  • Stroll around the Wynn, Encore and Palazzo hotels: free
  • Drinks and karaoke at Hawaiian Marketplace: $10 drinks, free karaoke
  • Dinner from In ‘n’ Out after Sin City Comedy show at Planet Hollywood: $6

Day 3 total: $40

Day 4

  • Swimming at the South Point pool: free
  • Lunch at a creperie at the Paris hotel: $25
  • Feed the slot machine: $5
  • Gas: $20

Day 4 total: $50

Expenses added to the hotel and show costs total $279, which brings the cost to about $140 per person. Let’s say that I might have forgotten about $50 worth of alcoholic beverages or little snacks that were purchased, and that still keeps us at about $165 per person for a four-day trip! That’s about the price you would pay for one night at a the same kind of hotel on the strip! Yey, for frugal finds!

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People going into their first year of law school know that law school is going to be difficult. It may even be the toughest thing that they have ever had to face. Like ever. They prepare mentally. They read books, blogs and blawgs on the topic. They speak to people who have had experience in the area. They drop enjoyable but unproductive hobbies in favor of said research on law school. By the time first-year orientation rolls around, they are fired up and ready to go.

But in all their preparations for their big first day, they may have forgotten to consider that they are not the only ones going to law school, that they are only half of the equation. Because when they go, they take all the relationships they have –  and all the obligations they have to the people they are in those relationships with – with them. Romantic relationships included.

Being someone who is going into law school, but who has been on the other side as well, I would like to share some insight into what your significant other(s) (hereafter referred to as “SO”) might be feeling and might share with you, and what YOU can do to support them. Because, let’s face it, going to law school is a selfish thing, and being a grad student forces you to be selfish with your time. But when you’re through being scary-evil-time-hoarding hermit, you’re going to want the person you care about to still be around three years later.

  • “I won’t be able to see you in, like, forever.” If you plan on being a good student, and definitely if you want to make law review, you’re probably definitely going to spend a lot of time hitting the books and preparing for class.

What you can do: Help your SO understand why you’re going to law school and why your law school grades are important. Then, take out a calendar, write out your law school schedule, and make sure you schedule a day when the both of you can just hang out and do whatever it is you do as a couple. Make sure that day is a priority, and that SO knows it’s a priority.

Also, it’s healthy to make friends in law school, but it might not be a good idea to frequently substitute “going out” with SO and law buddies as that one day a week you spend together. He/she still needs to feel like they are an important part of your life, even though law school clearly is your No. 1 priority.

  • “You won’t have time for our relationship.” Yeah, this kinda relates to you hitting the books again.

What you can do: Don’t forget that there are other ways to connect with SO during the week. If you can’t see them, maybe schedule a certain time in the evening, every other day, whatever works for you, when you can give them a call and maybe catch up and share things about your day. If calling is too much (Really? If it is then I wouldn’t want you to be my boyfriend), then you can send an email, or get a Twitter account and touch base that way.

  • “We won’t be able to go out like we normally do.” You’re taking out huge student loans and have little or no income. You probably won’t be able to go to a fancy frou frou French restaurant, or even the not-so-fancy Red Lobster, like you did in your pre-law school days.

What you can do: Instead of going to the movies, rent a movie. Instead of going out to eat, maybe cook a meal at home. Maybe take a walk at the park, or go for a run by the beach or on some trails. The point is, when you’re out with SO, you have so little time that the venue or the activity sometimes isn’t very important. The reconnecting with each other and the enjoyment of each other’s company is.

  • “All you talk about is law school.” Stop it. No, really. Get a hobby or something.

What you can do: Yes, law school is tough and all-consuming. But you don’t have to talk about it to SO every single time, and at the expense of talking about more important things. Like feelings. Seriously though, the reason why it’s good to have someone you can speak with intimately is because they can help you get away from the stress that is law school sometimes. Why bring that burden onto an already time-burdened relationship.

  • “You’re really annoying to argue with.” Yes, you are.

What you can do: Don’t be an ass. Remember that some arguments are not meant to be won and that you have to LISTEN to what SO is saying. Sometimes they bring up a point not to convince or persuade you, but to share a point of interest. Don’t use lawyer speak. Communicate with SO, don’t preach or talk at them.

This list can go on forever, believe me. But as someone who has lived on the other half, there’s just one thing I hope all future 1Ls, 2Ls and 3Ls understand. Those of us on the other half just want to know that we still matter, that you respect our relationship and the sacrifices we have to make as well. If you do, we are more likely to take our half and meet your half somewhere in the middle. (Not meant to sound dirty, but if that’s how you take it I can do nothing to sanitize your dirty, dirty mind. Well, maybe, except this)

Photo: Ayumina / Flickr

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Image from http://www.ladyofthecake.com

Image from http://www.ladyofthecake.com

If you’ve already read the “About” section of this blawg, then you already know my significant other is also pursuing a law degree. Scary. I know. So imagine the fear I had when I first learned he would be going to law school.

From what I had heard on blawgs and from people who had a niece whose friend’s boyfriend’s best friend was in law school (or something of that sort, too lazy to diagram), law school would KILL the relationship. Or would turn my significant other into an unattractive, smelly, unshorn, libido-crushing monk two weeks into his first 1L semester. And that’s where author Scott Turow’s “1L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School” came in.

Turow’s account at the Ivy may be somewhat dated (he attended in the ’70s), and his mere admission into the hallowed halls of Harvard Law were something me and my LSAT score could only dream about, but the book gave me a realistic idea of what my boyfriend and our relationship would be facing. School work would be hard, but it could be managed. The relationship would need to be adjusted, but it could be maintained. Factor into that the fact that me and the boyfriend had been dating for an long, long, long time (almost five years when he started in fall 2008), and we had a pretty good shot at survival.

And for those of you who plan on strapping on a pair of steel undies and throwing away the key for three years, the book can also help you filter through the mixed messages of gunners, whose goal is to make you soil yourself with stories of the first year, and well-meaning-but-misled advice givers, and develop a healthy perspective on what to expect.

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